January 4, 2019

DR. STRANGEGREEN: OR HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB. As Tom Wolfe wrote in 1989, after writing The Bonfire of the Vanities, all satirists eventually run into Muggeridge’s Law:

While Malcolm Muggeridge was editor of Punch, it was announced that Khrushchev and Bulganin were coming to England. Muggeridge hit upon the idea of a mock itinerary, a lineup of the most ludicrous places the two paunchy, pear-shaped little Soviet leaders could possibly be paraded through during the solemn business of a state visit. Shortly before press time, half the feature had to be scrapped. It coincided exactly with the official itinerary, just released, prompting Muggeridge to observe: We live in an age in which it is no longer possible to be funny. There is nothing you can imagine, no matter how ludicrous, that will not promptly be enacted before your very eyes, probably by someone well known.

Yesterday, I linked to Tim Blair’s remark that if radical environmentalists believe that global warming is truly the equivalent of WWII, “Fair enough. Nuking Hiroshima it is, then.” Today at Power Line, Steve Hayward finds a column by self-described “aspiring writer / tired activist / reluctant student @UniofOxford” Samuel Miller-McDonald who believes, as Hayward writes, “perhaps the only hope for avoiding catastrophic global warming is for a nuclear war to reduce human population and consumption.” Here’s Miller-McDonald:

[A nuclear] exchange that shuts down the global economy but stops short of human extinction may be the only blade realistically likely to cut the carbon knot we’re trapped within. It would decimate existing infrastructures, providing an opportunity to build new energy infrastructure and intervene in the current investments and subsidies keeping fossil fuels alive. . .

Like the 20th century’s world wars, a nuclear exchange could serve as an economic leveler. It could provide justification for nationalizing energy industries with the interest of shuttering fossil fuel plants and transitioning to renewables and, uh, nuclear energy. It could shock us into reimagining a less suicidal civilization, one that dethrones the death-cult zealots who are currently in power. And it may toss particulates into the atmosphere sufficient to block out some of the solar heat helping to drive global warming. Or it may have the opposite effects. Who knows?

What we do know is that humans can survive and recover from war, probably even a nuclear one. Humans cannot recover from runaway climate change. Nuclear war is not an inevitable extinction event; six degrees of warming is. . .

It is a stark reflection of how homicidal our economy is—and our collective adherence to its whims—that nuclear war could be a rational course of action.

Back in 2014, I wrote a piece over at the PJ Mothership on “The Rise of the John Birch Left:”

The John Birch Society was founded in 1958 by businessman Robert Welch, and named after a Christian missionary shot by Communist forces in China in 1945, whom Welch named as the first casualty of the Cold War. The Birchers’ core principles, that Communism is evil, its expansion needed to be stopped, and that communists had infiltrated American government (see also: Hiss, Alger) were laudable. But the group’s zeal to defend them drove them to paranoid levels, to the point where the Birchers were accusing President Eisenhower of being a crypto-commie, leading to Russell Kirk’s hilarious rejoinder to the Birchers, “Ike’s not a communist, he’s a golfer!”

Not to mention all that business about fluoride in the water, which Stanley Kubrick and Terry Southern had loads of fun satirizing in Dr. Strangelove. All of which led William F. Buckley to banish the Birchers from the postwar conservative movement he was building, leaving them a marginalized fringe group. (They’re still around, and still coming up with zany conspiracy theories.)

Who knew that the left would now be using Dr. Strangelove as a guide to jumpstarting a green economy? Mr. President, if we were to immediately launch an all out and coordinated nuclear attack on all their coalmines and oil fields, we’d stand a damn good chance of catching ’em with their pants down!

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