Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t Dr. Willie Soon; According to Foreign Policy, moving “beyond Democracy” towards an authoritarian Chinese system would allow governments to override the climate obstructionism of older voters, but they have concerns about the societal disruption the transition to authoritarianism would cause.
DEMOCRACY IS THE PLANET’S BIGGEST ENEMY
Young people care a lot about climate change—but most of them can’t vote. Here’s how governments can adapt to accommodate them.
BY DAVID RUNCIMAN
JULY 20, 2019
In today’s Britain, a rare public figure can bring together Brexiteers and Remainers, Conservatives and Labour. Yet the teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg did just that on a visit to London in April, when she was feted by British politicians from across the political spectrum.
It would have taken a very brave politician to downplay the stark moral power of this message. None of her British interlocutors—from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to would-be Tory leader Michael Gove to the speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow—dared. Instead, they all accepted the charges laid against them and promised to do better.
If democratic politicians are to make good on their promises to Thunberg and her peers, one of the largest barriers in their way are their own electorates. And citizens may become more antagonistic as governments push forward on new policies. Tackling climate change is going to require significant behavioral change: in what we eat, where we live, and how we travel. Current patterns of food and energy consumption are unsustainable. If we and the planet are to survive, that will mean less meat, smaller homes, and fewer cars.
If electoral democracy is inadequate to the task of addressing climate change, and the task is the most urgent one humanity faces, then other kinds of politics are urgently needed. The most radical alternative of all would be to consider moving beyond democracy altogether. The authoritarian Chinese system has some advantages when it comes to addressing climate change: One-party rule means freedom from electoral cycles and less need for public consultation. Technocratic solutions that put power in the hands of unelected experts could take key decisions out of the hands of voters.
But there are two reasons to doubt that this is what the climate emergency needs. First, any transition from a democratic to a post-democratic system would be massively disruptive. The barriers in the way of action on climate are also barriers to other forms of radical political change. There would be resistance, including from older generations. Second, it would not satisfy Thunberg’s generation either. She was not asking for less democracy. She was asking for a democracy in which she could be heard.
Channeling more energy into these other forms of democracy—into citizens’ assemblies and civil disobedience, rather than elections and party-building—will change our politics drastically. But it may be the only way to ensure our planet does not change beyond recognition.
…Read more: https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/07/20/democracy-is-the-planets-biggest-enemy-climate-change/
Entertaining as it is to watch a supporter place Antifa and Extinction Rebellion style protests on the spectrum of political activity which leads to Chinese style authoritarianism, I think we need to challenge these ugly climate activist attacks on representative democracy.
Organisations ranging from the Australian Government Broadcaster to former NASA GISS Director James Hansen, to Bill Gates to high profile university academics have praised totalitarianism as the solution to getting their own way on climate policy. Climate activists might be slowly losing the battle for hearts and minds, but they don’t plan to go down quietly.
I remember when one of my teachers taught us about the convenient crisis, the excuse which is used by power crazed murderers to sweep freedom aside, and install themselves as tyrants. But this was only one day of one class, and the teacher who provided that lesson left the school soon afterwards.
Nobody knows what happened to the brave man who stood up to the tank in Tiananmen Square. The story is two men ran out of the crowd and dragged him away from the tank, and bustled him off somewhere, though witnesses disagree whether the two men were worried bystanders or Chinese police.