Not poppy nor mandragora
Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep
Which thou owedst yesterday.
— Othello at the IPCC
A recent column in The New York Times may be the silliest production of the human mind since the first spark of consciousness, or the latest episode of The View.
Unsurprisingly, of course, and inevitably, it’s by a global warmer. As a piece of scare-pessimism, “Raising My Child in a Doomed World” is quite unsurpassable. It was emoted/written by a John Scranton, author of a book on the same theme: We’re Doomed. Now What? Essays on War and Climate Change. He is a professor of English literature, although I think it fair to claim that neither English nor literature should be thought complicit in Mr. Scranton’s fifteen-alarm brand of climate lugubriousness and pitiless despair.
Prof. Scranton is not a cheerful boyo. No one will don the party hat after reading his explanation that one logical conclusion is “… the only truly moral response to global climate change is to commit suicide. There is simply no more effective way to shrink your carbon footprint. Once you’re dead, you won’t use any more electricity, you won’t eat any more meat, you won’t burn any more gasoline, and you certainly won’t have any more children. If you really want to save the planet, you should die.” Well, break out the marshmallows, throw another log on the fire, and tune up the ukulele — we’re going to have a sing-song.
A little math: within the set of All Campers, there is a subset of Happy Campers, among which Mr. Scranton is not to be located. Does he exude manic hopelessness and possess an imagination mesmerized by the thrill of apocalypticism? Does the Pope like bears he encounters in the woods? Try this passage: “Barring a miracle, the next 20 years are going to see increasingly chaotic systemic transformation in global climate patterns, unpredictable biological adaptation and a wild spectrum of human political and economic responses, including scapegoating and war. After that, things will get worse.” (Emphasis mine.)
I cite these samples not to stir a Gadarene impulse among the Canadian population, nor indeed to stir the worthy subscribers of the peerless National Post, as they say on the web, to Read it All. That way madness lies. I merely wish to point out the brilliantly obvious point, which Mr. Scranton so indefatigably illustrates, that the strongest undercurrent in the great global-warming crusade is, and has always been, outrageous, hyperbolic and unhinged doom-saturated scare mongering of the millenarian kind.