Erich Jantsch was an Austrian astronomer and technology forecaster, the one man who can plausibly be branded as the scientist who corrupted science into today’s global warming monster.
As one of the seven men who, at dinner on the evening of April 8, 1968, founded the Club of Rome, he possessed the gravitas to evangelize his radical belief that science cannot be neutral.
In order to prevent ecological and social collapse, Jantsch said, Western countries must halt their economic growth and surrender their goods for equitable distribution throughout the world. The alternative: “an eventual worldwide class war.”
His ideas permeated the development of the club’s sensational 1972 work, The Limits to Growth, the hugely influential book of doom which first explained to a mass audience the three things that must be accepted to prevent the apocalypse: computer modeling, anthropogenic global warming, and strong government control. It reeked of Jantsch’s “science cannot be neutral.”
Jantsch faded into obscurity, but his ideas gained fame as sales of the book soared to 12 million, and it remains the best-selling environment book ever. It was the textbook for the obscene blend of science and politics that is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the insanity that climate scientists are the only bearers of truth.
Austrian philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend, who wrote an introduction to one of Jantsch’s books, was leery of the artificial certainty inherent in computer modeling. He was indignant that science was obsessed with its own mythology, making claims to truth well beyond its actual capacity.
He wrote that scientists who trust too much in “method” risk turning into “miserable, unfriendly, self-righteous mechanisms without charm or humor.”
Last week, an unsigned editorial in the Investors Business Daily proposed that global warming is a back door to socialism. It seems that United Nations climate treaty hotshot Christiana Figueres praised China as, “able to implement policies because its political system avoids some of the legislative hurdles seen in countries including the U.S.”
My experience corresponding with the climate crowd says that’s not an endorsement of either China or socialism, just job protection. I asked a prominent climate skeptic who knows something about socialism what she thought.
Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen said by email from the United Kingdom, “My take is that AGW [anthropogenic global warming] was and remains ‘a god sent’ for bureaucracies wanting to expand, nothing much to do with socialism. In my humble opinion, Soviet communism was brought down by bureaucracy.”
Boehmer-Christiansen should know. She was born and raised in communist East Germany, moved to Southern Australia for her undergraduate work (geomorphology with climatology and physical geography) earned her doctorate in England (University of Sussex), is lecturer emeritus at Hull University and is a past member of a United Nations Environment Program forum. She now edits the peer-reviewed academic journal Energy & Environment.
The corruption of scientific ethics concerns her deeply: "Some university research units have almost become wholly-owned subsidiaries of government departments. Their survival, and the livelihoods of their employees, depends on delivering what policy makers think they want."
Boehmer-Christiansen noted how climate regulations have created private profit centers. “Carbon counting, trading, ‘controlling’ and investing not only employs an army of counters, etc, but also attracts government money, which can then be redistributed/invested. ... Is this socialism?”
I doubt that we’ll be overrun by socialist revolutionaries rampaging through our nationalized infrastructure shouting, “This is my nano-tech laboratory now.”
President Obama panders to the left but seems personally unmoved by Marxism or any of the dozens of socialisms. His visible outrage instead targets our “neocolonial sins,” in remarks like “America has 2 percent of the world's oil but uses 25 percent.”
That harks back more to Jantsch’s “Stop being wealthy and give it to the world,” than to Marx’s “Workers of the world, unite.”
My take is that Obama viscerally hates rich people and corporations, but for their power, not for his ideology. He wants them brought down, which he is doing to the nation’s power industry now – and consequently the entire nation – with his climate policy.
Obama seems perfectly aware that disempowering America’s energy sources will disempower America’s place in the world. That’s not socialism, that’s suicide. But that’s exactly what the miserable, unfriendly, self-righteous mechanisms without charm or humor and all of the left really wants.
Don't worry about socialist America, worry about powerless America.RON ARNOLD, a Washington Examiner columnist, is executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise.