Thursday, December 30, 2010

Moral Repugnance at a Glance, even by the Standards of a Death Cult

Two European quasi-thinkers write a tome about the world that they would like to shove down humanity’s throat, and then interview one another.

Smugness and the pretense that we will “all be shocked”, it seems has become a virtue.

Taz: Herr Leggewie, Herr Welzer, the economy is showing signs of recovery. Isn't the global financial meltdown going rather well?

CL: It depends how you look at it. At least greenhouse gasses emissions are dropping. I haven't seen any bankers dangling from the street lamps but the stock exchange tickers are up and running again, and trade in those idiotic derivatives is booming.

HW: It's business as usual, it's as if it'd never happened. Except that the bill for crisis management will have to be footed by the generations to come.
As if there will be no “price for generations to come” for what they want:
HW: Quite the opposite. We are calling for cultural change, which would be worthwhile even without a crisis. It still makes sense to reject the hegemonic culture of waste and the civil religion of growth even without climate change and economic crisis – and it's fun too.

CL: We've had a lot of very positive feedback from people who've had it up to here with the world as we knew it and who believe that now is the time to build a better world by pooling our resources. The political class has no idea that all around them, a new type of extra-parliamentary movement is forming?

What form is it taking?

CL: The Pirate Party, for example, or the climate alliances and new protest movements.
The morons actually think they’re funny too.
You obviously enjoy making apocalyptic jokes. Or how else should we interpret your romance with crisis?

HW: Why do people always have to talk about the apocalypse and loving crisis whenever you tell it like it is?

Why indeed?

HW: Look, I'll put it very simply: what they sell us as realpolitik these days is a complete illusion, because it doesn't address any the problems of the future – climate change, dwindling resources, mounting water and food deficits, the escalating global conflict potential, the exploitation of our children's future. If you look at it this way, it's the realpoliticians who seem who have a fondness for crises. Crises also provide an excellent opportunity to score points for tireless crisis management. This is good for distracting from the fact that there is nothing on the political agenda.
None of which is real. So, by all means, start up that entirely pointless and fake “zero population growth” movement again. Advocate mass suicide, genocide. Bring back that authoritarianism for the sake of man crap if you think it germaine. Bring it back even if you think it’s Jackie, Tito, Marlon and/or Michael if you think you should... Just impose it on yourselves, you noisy parasites.

Nor is getting caught up in every detached, uninvolved whiner’s complaints become an actually theory of anything, which is why you end up resorting to the only theme that DOES fit, which is that the Apocalypse is nigh, so hand over your dope and underaged girls or something.

Look, it’s very simple: humanity has heard this argument, and it hasn’t just been debunked by reason, it’s disproved itself. Interestingly enough, it managed all of this without the promulgators of the theory being “in charge” of it, or to their apparent disappointment, others.

But for the crown that falls for this routine, it seems that any kind of “sciency” sounding credentials will do.

Harald Welzer is a professor of social psychology. His lastest book is called “Climate Wars.”

Claus Leggewie is director of the German Advisory Council on Climate Change. Leggewie is also a member of the the scientific advisory council of Attac