Friday, November 02, 2007
Climate Change and Terror - both 'spooks in the night'
Effete Intellectual Posturings on 'Politics of Fear'
Pretty much gives you the whole idea.
Is the environmental movement, like the war on terror, premised on a “politics of fear”? In other words, does it try to unify people by scaring them with threats to their basic survival?
That was the provocative thesis advanced by Alex Gourevitch, a doctoral candidate in political theory at Columbia University, at a panel discussion on Tuesday evening at the New York Public Library. He was confronted by vigorous dissent from his fellow panelists and from some members of the audience.The panel discussion was organized by n+1, a political and literary journal published twice a year, begun in 2004. A. O. Scott, a film critic for The Times, wrote in 2005 that the journal “is explicitly and without embarrassment devoted to the idea that thought can advance.”
First, since the Terrorists we 'fear' have already demonstrated their intent and abilities, while we have yet to walk down Broadway with waves lapping at our ankles, they ARENT QUITE the same thing.
While the speaker on which the article is based is endeavoring to 'advance thought' those of us who ALREADY think without help from our better, more informed intellectuals have pretty much solved those problems.
I fear Islamo-terrorists about as much as I fear a mugger on the East Side of Columbus. In other words, I know he exists without someone explaining it but I will still go there if needed while remaining vigilant. If I warn someone else that they should be careful when in the same locale, am I then 'playing on their fears'?
If I am SEEN that way then am I advancing the politics of fear?
What I ALSO dont 'fear' is global warming, whether or not it's man enhanced. For one thing, I have less hubris for my species than that. Dinosaurs did not contribute to species extinction when they ruled the earth... and we have far less influence on flora and fauna. Taking nothing away from those who are ever-vigilant.. they certainly DO point out the possibilities for the rest of us.
What MOST of us venal pedestrian types do, however, is try to make lemonade out of the possible deluge of lemons. While the wonks sit and talk and warn of impending doom, the engineers and marketers are out there warding it off. Already the reaction of the market .. based on corporate greed, dontcha know.. has resulted in advancing adoption of high efficiency transportion, heating and lighting.
Maybe THAT'S the answer to the crisis in the State Department... fire those sissies who wont go Danger Close in Iraq and get some risk takers in there.
But I guess the REAL Question is: Can thought advance without a Doctoral Dissertation?