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Ed Driscoll

To remind you how far this sort of thinking goes back*, in the midst of speeches from leading intellectuals telling college students that one way or another, Planet Earth was Dooooomed before the arrival of the 21st century, Tom Wolfe caught a college student asking his professor, “when does it all hit you?”, in his classic mid-1970s essay “The Intelligent Coed’s Guide To America”:

I was so dazed, I was no longer wondering what the assembled students thought of all this. But just at that moment one of them raised his hand. He was a tall boy with a lot of curly hair and a Fu Manchu mustache.“Yes?” said the ecologist.

“There’s one thing I can’t understand,” said the boy.

“What’s that?” said the ecologist.

“Well,” said the boy. “I’m a senior, and for four years we’ve been told by people like yourself and the other gentlemen that everything’s in terrible shape, and it’s all going to hell, and I’m willing to take your word for it, because you’re all experts in your fields. But around here, at this school, for the past four years, the biggest problem, as far as I can see, has been finding a parking place near the campus.”

Dead silence. The panelists looked at this poor turkey to try to size him up. Was he trying to be funny? Or was this the native bray of the heartland? The ecologist struck a note of forbearance as he said: “I’m sure that’s true, and that illustrates one of the biggest difficulties we have in making realistic assessments. A university like this, after all, is a middle-class institution, and middle-class life is calculated precisely to create a screen—”

“I understand all that,” said the boy. “What I want to know is—how old are you, usually, when it all hits you?”

And suddenly the situation became clear. The kid was no wiseacre! He was genuinely perplexed! … For four years he had been squinting at the horizon … looking for the grim horrors which he knew—on faith—to be all around him … and had been utterly unable to find them … and now he was afraid they might descend on him all at once when he least expected it. He might be walking down the street in Omaha one day, minding his own business, when—whop! whop! whop! whop!—War! Fascism! Repression! Corruption!—they’d squash him like bowling balls rolling off a roof!

Who was that lost lad? What was his name? Without knowing it, he was playing the xylophone in a boneyard. He was the unique new creature of the 1970’s. He was Candide in reverse. Candide and Miss Cunégonde, one will recall, are taught by an all-knowing savant, Dr. Pangloss. He keeps assuring them that this is “the best of all possible worlds,” and they believe him implicitly—even though their lives are one catastrophe after another. Now something much weirder was happening. The Jocks & Buds & Freaks of the heartland have their all-knowing savants of O’Hare, who keep warning them that this is “the worst of all possible worlds,” and they know it must be true—and yet life keeps getting easier, sunnier, happier … Frisbee!

How can such things be?

Of course, it’s even worse for people who take their belief in the coming planetary horror with them beyond graduation – it could lead them to publicly announce, via the air conditioned giant server farm that powers Twitter, to decide not to have kids to save Gaia. Or if they do decide to have kids – how do they tell them that the world is coming to an end in five years/ten years/20 years, or whatever the current final countdown du jour is set to? (There are so many to choose from, and so many more that have come and gone, Planet Earth no worse for wear.) As I mentioned before, it’s a bit like Sarah Connor telling her son, just back from shopping for Guns & Roses T-shirts at the Galleria, that Skynet, Terminator robots and nuclear armageddon are all just around the corner.

At the point, someone on the left will likely say that the Tea Party is an attempt to create a similar fervor on the right. But the Tea Party has a very different mission: they’re not trying to ban everyone’s lightbulbs, jack the price of gasoline up to sky-high European levels, and make everyone drive a Prius or ride “intercontinental high-speed rail” as the president calls one of his many boondoggle FDR-era retread big government projects. They want the government to leave everyone alone.  (And their detachment from the self-imposed oppression of the global warming doomsayers is a reminder that a little distance is always a good thing.)

In 2011 Rush Limbaugh and Steve Hayward of Power Line each compared global warming doomsday alarmists to Harold Camping, the Oakland California evangelist who believed that the earth was coming to an end on May 21st, 2011. As Hayward wrote:

People often ask me why environmentalists tend always to incline to apocalyptic conclusions about the state of the planet. “Because it makes them happy,” is my standard response. This is not tongue-in-cheek. There is something about certain kinds of personality types that derives a frisson of delight from contemplating the end of the world. And if you point out that the end of the world is not at hand, it makes environmentalists very unhappy, in part because it deprives them of the opportunity to play savior to the world.

As Kurtz wrote this week, college students want to feel similarly oppressed. If so, keep cuckoo and carry on. If you want to believe that the earth is doomed, put on a sandwich board and have at it — as long as it doesn’t interfere with my life or anyone else’s.

* Curiously, the left’s perma-malaise and related apocalyptic climate and overpopulation obsessions began right after the Great Society demonstrated that it wasn’t going to immanentize the eschaton. If Obamacare fails to even get off the pad, what will that do to the already delicate psyches of leftwing true believers?

Related: At PJM, Kathy Shaidle adds:

If it hadn’t been for “crazy right wingers” challenging the received liberal wisdom about the “evils” of DDT all these years, there’s no way the WHO and groups like Malaria No More would be as open as they are to using it, and who knows how many lives have been saved.

So hang in there, my fellow “global warming” “denialists” — one day we might very well get the last laugh.

Well, at least on that particular topic. The left will always need something to feel oppressed about — and an Emmanuel Goldstein to oppress — no matter how powerful their influence.

(Artwork created using multiple Shutterstock.com images.)

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bulgaricus - uneducated fools, obviously!

there, fixed that for you.

when that latest affirmative action promoted clown (no names) climbed out of the clown car a few weeks ago, her first order of the day (taking her new office in high gov.) was to inform everybody in that 'scientific group' that 'she hoped there were no global warming deniers still around her offices'. yeah, that's real sciencxxe, whatever the nutty feminist director orders. no problem. payday is on every other thurs. still, right?
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Left is always in search of a religion that asks nothing of them, that demands no personal investment or behavioral responsibility. Climate Change is just such a religion.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
I remember back in the 90's going to the Fringe Festival (an alternative theater festival) in NYC and seeing some Asian college kids putting on a show in that "slam poetry" yelling style. They bemoaning the hardships of being Asian and they really really wanted to be victims. I don't remember much about it but they threw around the term "banana" a lot (the Asian equivalent of the "oreo cookie"- yellow on the outside white on the inside.) The one specific thing I recall was a reaally angry girl ranting about how people see Asians and just ASSUME they're good at math!
Wow! The horror. People assuming that you are smarter than you are- that for her was OPPRESSION. If I had had any drinks in me I probably would've stood up and said, "Hey...Asian-Americans make more on average than white Americans. Asians get accepted into the best Universities at a MUCH higher rate than whites. GET OFF THE STAGE YOU LITTLE BRATS- YOU ARE NOT OPPRESSED!" It was as clear as day- they WANTED to be victims. It was kind of funny actually.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (33)
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my best friend's step-aunt makes $68/hr on the internet. She has been fired for 8 months but last month her pay was $16664 just working on the internet for a few hours. read this post here....www.Bay95.com
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
my roomate's sister-in-law makes $75 every hour on the laptop. She has been out of work for 6 months but last month her paycheck was $20467 just working on the laptop for a few hours. >>>>>>>> http://xurl.es/7nkyz
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
my co-worker's ex-wife makes $81/hr on the laptop. She has been fired from work for 8 months but last month her paycheck was $19841 just working on the laptop for a few hours. you could check here----->WWW.Rush64.COM
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
nice article. but what about my fear of a total societal collapse because of hyperinflation, financial crisis and a society ready to tear it self apart?
am i enjoying my fear? as crazy as Al Gore disciples?
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
my co-worker's step-sister makes $84 an hour on the computer. She has been out of a job for eight months but last month her check was $14245 just working on the computer for a few hours. go to the website ......... www.pro43.com
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
In historian Paul Johnson's assessment, Kark Marx wasn't an economist, but an apocolyptic with visions of disaster. That came first; Communism just filled it in, even if he had to rely on Engels' fudged statistic.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...appropriate the victim’s superior prestige."

I think that comment's on the mark. It's the new keeping up with the Joneses; showing how racist you're not, seizing the moral high ground. As I've said before, I also wouldn't rule out this movement being infiltrated and led by people with genuine mental health issues and straight up racists. The paranoia that wants to fix things that ain't broken is rife within political correctness.

Without an enemy, these morons just make up windmills and straw men and start laying about themselves. Now the big foe is white privilege and cultural appropriation. Seems to me that if anyone's appropriating anyone's culture it's the Third World, not us. I've seen enough shag haircuts and Scorpions t-shirts in Java and baseball caps in places there is no baseball to know that's true.

Complaint, blame and self-pity: the three pillars of PC. I can't imagine any of these people on the Mayflower, at the Alamo or Guadalcanal. I just can't.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
It isn't being a victim as much as it is seeking drama and purpose in individual life. The "victim" becomes part of a life and death drama, a prophet, a member of a righteous few and a grand purpose to life. Some people don't like the victim theme and go for romance drama instead. EVERYONE wants drama and purpose in their lives, the hard part is being respectful and humble in your view of others and the world, being responsible for yourself and letting the drama chips fall where they may. Real, tangible, valuable "drama" is usually of the kind we don't much like at all, but engage with perseverance and the giving of our very best selves until the difficulties are finished. By real drama I mean things like family, illnesses, contention and struggles with our employment, daring to befriend and bless our neighbors - you know, all that dull business of being a mature human being. If ever you get to fight your way thru those battles, the rank stupid of Gaia religion will lose it's shine pretty quick, but in our wealth we quit engaging in the messy parts of life, separate from anyone who is difficult, and occupy our heads in whatever flights of fancy serve our egos. I'm sympathetic to the impulse, but it's a desire clinging to a false form, like paper mache - pretty in its best appearance but can't possibly stand up to hard use.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment

“People believe unbelievable things because it’s self-flattering to think that you are intellectually daring enough to accept what others find preposterous.”

-- Christopher Buckley, No Way To Treat A First Lady.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
This reminds me that I've been hearing that the Great Barrier Reef was going to be dead in 20 years for 40 years now. Most recently, when I last heard, it is still going to be dead in 20 years. Many call the Jehovah's Witnesses crazy for passing their self-proclaimed end of the world several times and acting like it wasn't a huge mistake. Yet the eco-doomsayers have proclaimed this or that will be gone in so many years and there they still are after each deadline passes. They too refuse to acknowledge that they made a mistake. So if JW's are crazy, what does that make environuts? Obviously neither God nor nature wants to follow the agendas so helpfully set forth by their respective worshipers. But each failed prophesy does nothing to rock the faith.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
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