The writer, like many others, concludes that "as the alarmists fed the hysteria, the hysteria fed the alarmists." It's a religious movement for the Godless: Apolyptic end times are nigh unless we repent and change our wicked ways. Who is attracted to these beliefs, and why?
Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2015 By Bret Stephens
The Tyranny of a Big Idea
Modern liberals are best understood as would-be believers in search of true faith.
But the real question isn’t what drives people to be leaders of a new movement. That’s easy enough to understand. It’s why so many people—usually well-educated, urbane liberals—would wish to be followers.
It isn’t the strength of the evidence. The idea of a population bomb was always preposterous: The world’s 7.3 billion people could fit into an area the size of Texas, with each person getting 1,000 square feet of personal space. Food has never been more abundant. As for resource scarcity, the fracking revolution reminds us that scarcity is not so much a threat to mankind as it is an opportunity for innovation.
What matters, rather, is the strength of the longing. Modern liberalism is best understood as a movement of would-be believers in search of true faith. For much of the 20th century it was faith in History, especially in its Marxist interpretation. Now it’s faith in the environment. Each is a comprehensive belief system, an instruction sheet on how to live, eat and reproduce, a story of how man fell and how he might be redeemed, a tale of impending crisis that’s also a moral crucible.
In short, a religion without God. I sometimes wonder whether the journalists now writing about the failure of the one-child policy ever note the similarities with today’s climate “crisis.” That the fears are largely the same. And the political prescriptions are almost identical. And the leaders of the movement are cut from the same cloth. And the confidence with which the alarmists prescribe radical cures, their intolerance for dissenting views, their insistence on “global solutions,” their disdain for democratic input or technological adaptations—that everything is just as it was when bell-bottoms were in vogue.