On Tuesday myself and others from the office went along to Waterstones at the LSE to listen to Lord Lawson of Blaby discuss his recent publication: An Appeal to Reason. It was an event that exposed both of the ugly sides of the debate surrounding climate change, but Lord Lawson remained above this and raised some valid points. Perhaps the most controversial was his argument that environmentalism was the new religion, and I believe that he may have identified a core reason for the appeal of climate change.
Over the past fifty years the number of people practicing religion within Western Europe has declined sharply. This has taken place simultaneously with a cultural shift away from independent/communal self-reliance, to expectations of state absolution which has left in its wake a moral vacuum. Lord Lawson argues that environmentalism has filled this vacuum. Over the past decade people have been more and more kowtowing to the potentially over-exaggerated catastrophic happenings that the climate change apostles have been disseminating. The continual doom sayings of these people have built up the idea that everyone is as culpable as next for the destruction of the planet, and that greatness is only attainable through a slavish and moralistic life dedicated to the cause of stopping climate change.
It is difficult to see much between the European interpretation of religion and environmentalism, save for the private/public disparity. The “New Religion" seeks to raise everyone’s guilt through the invasion of the private sphere, via public policy implementation; those that don’t follow the prescribed messages are seen as heretics. Despite living in the 21st Century, a time of religious liberty, it seems that we are rejecting scientific investigation and results out of hand, if it dare question other's beliefs. The invocation of politics to raise a section of science above all others, based on exaggerated scientific truths that tell of harrowing future terrors, is seemingly irrational in this day and age. Self-comfort can be found in many ways, but making others feel guilty via a comparison of actions is not progressive. It is no wonder Lord Lawson titled his book as he did.