22 April 2010

Eeek!-o-freak ponders a misspent life

Good review in City of Stewart Brand’s new book, Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto.This is the guy who founded the Whole Earth Catalog, holy writ for eeek!-o-freak fundamentalists, and ran it for 16 years. Brand has finally woken up to some aspects of the immense harm done by his pseudo-religion, with specific reference to nuclear power and genetically engineered crops. While not quite a mea culpa, Brand's book admits to systemic error in his own personality, which is a good start:
I have learned to suspect my excesses of optimism and pessimism. Apparently I often think that societies catch on faster than they do, and that large complex systems are more brittle than they are. Bear in mind that I might be that way about climate change. And many of my faulty opinions turn out to be based on ignorance; dismissing nuclear was one of them.
The weasel-word 'apparently' apart, this demonstrates more intelligent sincerity than one is accustomed to from the acolytes of eeek!-o-freakery. What has brought Brand to this moment of self-awareness is the flagrant contradiction between belief in the global threat posed by carbon dioxide, in which he still believes, and other fundamental components of 'green' dogma:
I daresay the environmental movement has done more harm with its opposition to genetic engineering than with any other thing we’ve been wrong about. We’ve starved people, hindered science, hurt the natural environment, and denied our own practitioners a crucial tool.
There's no 'daresay' about it. With just a little more intellectual integrity, he might have had to recognize that turning massive quantities of basic foodstuffs into 'bio-fuel' as a gesture towards preventing a speculative catastrophic climate change in the distant future has had a catastrophic effect on the world's poorest here and now.

But then, that would be to admit that he has been agent of evil for all of his life, and according to the logic of his beliefs he should set an example to an over-crowded world by turning his carbon-dioxide producing carcass into organic humus.

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