Category Archives: climate theology

One law for the bien pensant, another for the rest of us

Shire Hall, Cambridge

Dalrymple writes:

One of the perpetual criticisms of Western legal systems is that they apply one law to the rich and another to the poor. Magistrates in Cambridgeshire recently did their best to substantiate this criticism.

A parliamentary candidate for the Green Party

was arrested for having defaced the offices of the county council by spraypainting them with Extinction Rebellion symbols. She was charged with criminal damage. Her defence was that she had been defending her property from imminent damage caused by climate change. The magistrates accepted this and acquitted her because of her ‘very strong and honestly held belief that we are facing a climate emergency‘.

Angela Ditchfield

Such a socially destructive judgment, says Dalrymple,

made honestly held belief, however absurd, a defence against what would otherwise be a criminal act. It made everyone a law unto himself. The magistrates, as weak of mind as of character, were acting in a politically biased manner. If a person with a ‘very strong and honestly held belief’ that Britain was being Islamised had daubed the council offices with a slogan to that effect, he would (quite rightly) not have been acquitted. If the accused had been an unemployed young male lout dressed in international slum-ghetto costume, he would not have been acquitted, either.

Dalrymple points out that the police in London have spent more than twice as much on trying to contain the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations as they have on a special force to deal with the increasing number of violent crimes, but then,

violent crime affects mostly the poor and ethnic minorities, so it is not very important by comparison with, say, the distant and purely hypothetical damage caused by global warming to the property of parliamentary candidates for the Green Party.

Western moral and intellectual imperialism

Dalrymple draws attention to a cartoon (pictured below) by Bill Leak in the Australian newspaper, a satirical comment on the deliberations of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. Leak rightly implies, says Dalrymple, that

climate change is principally the concern of the spoiled political class of rich nations, and efforts to reduce worldwide carbon emissions from energy consumption will not benefit the desperately poor. Quite the reverse: they will inhibit the breakneck industrial growth that has lifted, and is lifting, so many millions out of abject poverty in countries that not long ago were deeply impoverished.

There is even the suspicion

that rich nations want to inhibit the breakneck industrial growth not so much to save the planet as to preserve their position relative to poor nations.

The cartoon is

a variation on the old English proverb that fine words butter no parsnips; but it could also plausibly be interpreted as a protest against dishonest Western moral and intellectual imperialism.

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Goddess of climatic destruction

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The climatic Kali, bringer-about of global catastrophe: do not seek to deny her, for all our sages say that prayer rituals and sacrifice are the only means by which she may be appeased

How the climate theology has taken hold of people’s minds

Dalrymple comes across this paragraph in an article in the British Journal of Psychiatry:

Climate change is the largest global health threat of the 21st century, and despite limited empirical evidence, it is expected directly and indirectly to harm communities’ psychosocial wellbeing.

Dalrymple comments:

This is not so much science as religion, in which the destructive bringer-about of catastrophe, a kind of Kali, must be appeased by word, puja and sacrifice.