Peter and Helen Evans January 30, 2006
Why is it that, “Whenever Nature displeases us, it must be our fault for doing something that displeased Nature”? This was a question raised by John Berlau of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, speaking at the Heritage Foundation on January 23, 2007 in support of his new book “Eco-Freaks: Environmentalism is Hazardous to Your Health!” If the winter’s too hot, summer’s too cold, hurricane Katrina too extreme, environmentalists always conclude that it’s because we did something wrong, like atmospheric pollution, habitat destruction and/or the paving of America. Not only does this knee-jerk reaction indicate a colossal sense of self-importance, that importance lies in what we are doing wrong.
This condition is widespread among the multi-culturalists, who would never acknowledge that Western civilization is in any way superior to any other. The blame-America-first folks are closely related to the blame-mankind-first eco-freaks. The ACLU types who are more concerned for the spurious Geneva-Conventions ‘rights’ of terrorist detainees than they are for the safety of innocent Americans are another example this pernicious mindset.
We have taken to calling this attitude “projected self-loathing.” It’s principal belief could be rhetorically summarized thus. “How can ‘society’ (America, the West, the human race, etc) do anything right or worthwhile when ‘society’ is composed of worthless people like me?” This paradoxical combination of self-hatred and Narcissism has been characterized by a recovered sufferer as feeling like “the piece of crap at the center of the universe.”
By projecting their self-loathing (i.e., finding their own faults in those around them, instead), they can feel morally superior without having improved themselves at all. They can feel themselves ‘elite’ in comparison to the benighted ‘masses’ who don’t even have the sense to feel guilty about valuing themselves.
John Berlau touched on the global-warming alarmists preferred explanation of the cause and meaning of “Katrina.”
Revealed by the analysis of Katrina’s consequences in New Orleans was that, over the last four decades, environmentalists had effectively blocked several measures that could have reduced or prevented the mess that resulted when the storm came ashore at the end of August 2005. Naturally, the left is reluctant to acknowledge that well-intentioned environmental activism combined with forty years of well-intentioned Democrat control of New Orleans contributed to the catastrophe now known as “Katrina.” Their preference is to blame this “extreme” storm on “man-made global warming.”
The one consistent element in these opposed explanations is that, in both cases, “it’s our fault.” However, the eco-freaks emphasize the human behavior they think is ‘bad’ (gas-guzzling, pollution, etc) as the culprit, rather than the human behavior they think is ‘good’ (environmental ‘sensitivity’). They prefer to think that our bad behavior provoked “Nature” to send a mighty storm to punish our misdeeds rather than admit that we made the wrong choice in deciding not to raise the levees and build the floodgates that would have increased New Orleans’ chances of surviving this entirely predictable category 3 hurricane. Interestingly, the private-enterprise oil installations in the gulf didn’t spill a drop although they were hammered by Katrina while she was still a much stronger category 5 storm.
There is much hard evidence to suggest that higher levees and floodgates would have done much good for New Orleans. There is no hard evidence (and much dispute) that man’s influence had anything to do with Katrina’s existence or intensity. “Global warming” has become so disputed that it’s proponents now prefer to speak of human-induced “climate change” instead. This indicates their religious fixation on the belief that “it’s our fault” regardless of what’s happening.
Let us consider what happened to New Orleans an example of the self-loathing Left doing it their way.
Peter and Helen Evans, “http://peterandhelenevans.com. This husband and wife team – freelance writers and speakers – teach a philosophical approach to conservatism, and are scheduled speakers at Blogging Man “http://www.bloggingman.org/” .