Left-wingers often accuse conservatives of being fascists, but the reality is that fascism is simply another form of collectivism, like socialism and communism. The differences, such as they exist, are marginal between these collectivist ideologies when viewed from the perspective of Liberalism. Fascism idolizes the state, socialists idolize “society” and communists idolize “humanity” as a whole.
Davis Guggenheim shares his Oscar with former US Vice President Al Gore after winning an award for his documentary feature 'An Inconvenient Truth' at the 79th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 25, 2007. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn (UNITED STATES - OSCARS)
What holds these ideologies together is much stronger than what divides them: they are all dedicated to the proposition that the rights and desires of individuals are properly subsumed by the needs of the whole. Individualism is selfishness, rights are collective, and the “good” of the whole is the true measure of society.
Collectivism has been like a chronic disease in the body politic ever since the birth of Liberal Individualism in the 18th Century. For Locke, there was Rousseau. The American Revolution contrasted with the French Revolution and its guillotine. America had George Washington and Europe had Napoleon. Lincoln saved the Union as Marx was promoting Communism in Europe. . For the last 300 years we in the Western world have been living in the midst of a struggle between the forces of Liberal individualism and the forces of collectivism.
Communism and fascism dominated much of 20th Century history as the alternative to Liberal individualism and free markets. Democratic socialism is still eating away at European societies, which grow poorer and more sclerotic every year as they continue to declare the superiority of their model to American individualism.
Even here in America, the home of Liberal individualism, there is a constant assault on individual liberty. The steady growth of economic regulations, income redistribution, speech codes (New York just banned the use of a racial slur in public!), the ever growing tax code, and ridiculous limits to what we can eat, drink, or smoke.
Still, compared to most of the developed world, American is remarkably free for the moment. And that’s a nagging problem for the believers in collectivism.
So today we are witnessing the rise of a new version of the same old collectivist ideal; instead of the State or Humanity being elevated above individualism, it’s an idealized version of the environment or the “Earth.” Call it Nature, call it Gaia, or even call it Climate, the ideologists of collectivism are just trying to sell us a new reason to subsume our individual liberty to a collectivist whole.
The “crisis” of global climate change is a ridiculous on its face. The very concept is bizarre and illogical, if for no other reason than simply because there is not a default “standard” climate to compare any particular momentary climate state to. Compared to what, exactly?
Today’s climate is quite different from that of even a few hundred years ago, and once you go back a few thousand years—a blink of the eye in the lifespan of the earth—much of the earth that is farmland and cities was buried under thousands of feet of ice. If you could run the history of earth’s climate as a movie, it would be a constantly changing before your eyes. No one minute looking much like the next. Different climate, different species, even different arrangements of continents and oceans would dominate at any given moment.
Simply put, there is no permanent “state of Nature.” Nature, Climate, the Earth, or “climate”—whatever you want to call it—is not some permanent unchanging ideal. It’s so dynamic that even in the span of a few years or decades changes can render a landscape unrecognizable, fundamentally altered.
“Climate change” is not something induced by human beings or a “crisis” to be avoided; it is simply the reality of living on earth. To the extent that human activities may contribute to climate variability, the same can be said of termites, trees, and even the slow action of plate tectonics. It’s true, but what’s your point? Literally everything changes the state of the earth, all the time. Fighting change is like fighting gravity; good luck! Call me when you succeed.
The steady drumbeat of fear mongering has nothing to do with a “crisis” of climate change, because climate change is not a crisis. It was reality before human beings existed, and will be long after we are all buried.
However, it has everything to do with promoting the solution to the crisis of climate change: the demotion of individualism and liberty and the promotion of collective solutions and collectivism in general.