Dagens ord

Ansvar väger tyngre än frihet - Responsibility trumps liberty

8 nov. 2017

Demokrati och miljöhot

”Demokratin måste pausas för att lösa klimatkrisen” (SvD, 8/11 -17)

Först en bekännelse: Jag har inte ens läst den ovan länkade artikeln (betalvägg). Jag har under dagen bara hört och läst lite om den, och som hastigast noterat några andra utspel och reaktioner i anslutning till den, i samband med det pågående klimatmötet i Bonn.

My bad.

Men vad som kanske kan betraktas som en principdiskussion hann jag med.


I have a hard time thinking of a strategically more unwise public perception-move than being open about the sad fact that many climate activists chose to invest themselves in this area (rather than, say, restricting immigration) exactly because their preference for collectivist solutions attracted them to a policy issue where the only solutions are collectivist.

Now, we know that collectivism is eternally tempted by totalitarianism.

The philosopher of totalitarianism is Plato. What was Plato most afraid of? What was the most disgusting phenomenon he knew? Change. Vile, disgusting, corrupting, chaotic, uncontrolled change.

Some climate activists are so well attuned to Plato’s sentiments that they put that word into their alarmism: Climate change. I can hear them shudder at the word.

So it all fits pretty well. It’s a valid criticism of climate activists: A significant number of them may be primarily motivated by their totalitarian psychology, their being disgusted by change, their political opposition to the values of the liberal enlightenment.

The last thing we need, public perception-wise, is to prove those critics correct by being blasé about the core principles of liberal democracy.

(For the record, I am very concerned about climate change, and have some sympathy for collectivism.)


As to your first comment, I am skeptical of both its veracity and its argumentative value.

Collectivism, per se, is not plagued by totalitarian pull. However, controlled collectivism is. But there are equally many and dangerous pulls in other isms - and those dangers are very clear and very present right now.

Sure, Plato didn't like change, but - as with your first comment, this in itself isn't really a convincing argument against collectivism (controlled or not). He was also, and foremost, concerned with maximum overall welfare.

There is nothing wrong, or suspect, about being afraid of climate change. Quite the opposite.

A valid criticism would state that, since climate activists are primarily motivated by fear or disgust (which needs to be supported) they misrepresent the problem (to be supported) and (therefore?) suggest detrimental (in relation to what?) actions.

Liberal democracy, by the way, is not an altogether clearcut concept. To pretend that it stands for one, universally agreed upon thing, and that that thing is accepted as the (best) version or definition (*), is misleading. Give me your favorite definition, and I am pretty sure I will find several ways to interpret it in practice.

Just to put things at their most extreme: Even if some proclamation of a state of emergency requires us to depart from any reasonable interpretation of "liberal democracy", that in itself doesn't automatically rule out considering it.

And, as always, I can always turn the tables on the whole discussion by claiming that it is (only) fear of control in any form whatsoever that drive "climate skeptics". (And we know that there are ample correlations to be found there as well.)

Oh, and one more thing: There is a lot more to enlightenment than liberalism.


(*) or, for that matter, that we are currently implementing that version

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