The True Enemy Of Progress Isn't The GOP, It's The Democratic Establishment
If progressives can take control of the party, they'll easily beat back the GOP and bring sanity to the world.
There’s a professor emeritus of the University of Arizona who says we’ll all be dead in a couple of decades no matter what we do about the environment. Dr. Guy McPherson has compiled a soul-wilting amount of evidence for his position comprised of research done by other scientists, including a list of dozens of self-reinforcing feedback loops already observed in nature which exacerbate themselves by warming the earth. His criticism of modern climate science is that it’s so compartmentalized and specialized that hardly anyone ever looks at the big picture, connecting all these various warming effects scientists are discovering around the world and talking about the implications of the fact that they’re all happening together simultaneously.
A commonly-known example of a self-reinforcing feedback loop is the albedo effect, which describes how the less ice there is in the arctic, the more heat is absorbed into the dark waters of the earth during the summers of the northern hemisphere without the white surface area reflecting the sun’s radiation, making the earth hotter and increasing the loss of ice. McPherson lists dozens of such self-reinforcing warming effects, says there’s no way to stop them, and we’ll soon be experiencing climate chaos which will decimate crops, collapsing industrial agriculture and therefore civilization on the path to the disappearance of the ecosystemic context in which our species evolved, likely causing more than a few of our planet’s nuclear power plants to go into uncontrolled meltdown in the process without anyone around to keep the rods cool.
McPherson’s views are hardly mainstream and have been widely panned by the greater scientific community, though it’s hard to determine how much of this is due to scientific integrity and how much is due to the way scientific research is funded and elevated. You can get supported for telling everyone that fossil fuels are safe and nothing’s wrong, and you can get supported for telling everyone we need to invest heavily in green energy, but good luck getting anyone to pay you for saying we’re all screwed no matter what we do. Regardless of whether McPherson is legit or a kook or something in between, the New Yorker just published an article describing how the wealthy elites of the world are secretly in full doomsday prep mode, saying that “In private Facebook groups, wealthy survivalists swap tips on gas masks, bunkers, and locations safe from the effects of climate change.” So you know the people at the top are paying attention to this stuff.
I don’t see how McPherson can be wrong about everything, but I’m hoping that he’s wrong about most things. I’ve based my entire worldview upon this hope, because it’s the only way we’ve got a fighting chance at stopping this thing. Every word I write here is ultimately informed by the desire to convince humanity to turn away from the path of its own extinction.
A reader could be forgiven for wondering why I was so relieved, then, when Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. Trump believes global warming is a Chinese hoax, and has been making good on his promise to subvert environmental protections to the almighty dollar at every turn. Why would I want him instead of his opponent, who campaigned on the promise to continue Obama’s legacy of environmental protection?
The answer to this is simple: establishment Democrats are already killing us. Supporting them is supporting their continued policy of imposing far too little, far too late minor environmental regulations here and there as long as it doesn’t offend their corporate donors too much, which is what brought us to this point in the first place. Clinton wanted to drive off the cliff at 90 miles an hour, Trump wants to drive off the cliff at 95 miles an hour, and what we really need is to stop the damn car and turn that sucker around. Slow, gentle, corporatism-friendly deceleration isn’t going to cut it; electing Clinton would’ve guaranteed a continued trajectory toward the cliff wherein we sailed over the edge with the political left still asleep in the passenger's seat. What we need is a massive, World War 2-level effort from the entire country to turn this thing around 180 degrees and lead the rest of the world into a sane relationship with our ecosystem. It’s our only shot at survival, and corporate Democrats are doing everything they can to stop it from happening. But at least now we've a shot at taking the fight to them instead of the same sleepy compliance we saw during the Obama administration.
People often ask me why I don’t pick on the Republicans more, and my answer is that it’s a waste of energy. We don’t need to stop both parties from acting crazy; we only need one, so I focus on the one that at least admits global warming is a concern. The two-party system is deeply locked in to the way government functions in the United States, so the most energetically efficient thing to do is shove hard on one of those two parties to force it into sanity.
On a two-dimensional plane, a two-dimensional man can be caged by two vertical lines on either side of him:
He’s stuck. He can’t go to the left, and he can’t go to the right, that's why he's so bummed. This is where we’re at right now: locked into an artificially-forced left vs. right false dichotomy where both sides are refusing to stop killing our species. Technically both sides are imprisoning him, but he only needs one of them to fall in order to be a free 2-D man. If good, sane people can take over the Democratic party and force it away from corporatism and into sanity, the Republican party as it exists today will cease to exist. It would crash and burn and have to start rejecting its own corporatism in order to compete, probably ending up looking like what the American Libertarian Party is today. Which would be infinitely more sane and still very beatable.
See? He’s free! Look how happy he is! Weirdly egalitarian-minded critics could have said he was being unfair for not trying to bash down both sides equally, but that would have taken twice as much effort with no guarantee of success. By focusing all his effort on the obstacle he felt was easiest to eliminate, he put all his energy into his best shot at freeing himself from his prison.
Of course it’s always possible that we could end up getting super woke and going 3-D so our stick figure could step out of the two-party system altogether, but (A) right now there’s too much systemic inertia to that approach, (B) a progressive third party will still necessarily end up being violently opposed by the Democrats, and (C) I can’t draw that on your 2-D screen anyway.
The enemy of progress isn’t the GOP, it’s the establishment Democrats. The GOP doesn’t try to hijack the progressive movement by telling us we have to support their corporate crony war hawks or we’ll lose what few progressive table scraps they were feeding us. The GOP doesn’t actively sabotage the primary campaigns of progressive candidates. Their opposition to our movement is philosophical and ideological, not violent, deceitful and exploitative like the Democratic establishment’s opposition is. The Republicans just stand off to the side and call us commies and cucks while the establishment Dems try to bully and gaslight us into compliance. It’s the person with his hands on your throat who needs to be fought off, not the person who opposes you ideologically.
If we can take over the Democratic party, we can destroy the GOP in every important election, forcing the US government to respect the will of the people over the will of planet-killing corporate entities. We can lead the world into a sane relationship with its ecosystem, and also into sanity with regard to war and social/economic justice. Let’s focus our energy where it can be most effective and bash down that wall on the left.