On the back of the warmest six months on record, and as it becomes more and more evident that climate change is reaching some kind of tipping point, the media remain embroiled in manufactured controversies and American policymakers either stick their heads in the sand or brazenly defend their God-given right to pollute. Paul Krugman thinks the problem is greed and cowardice. He’s right, but it makes sense to delve a little deeper. So here it is, the seven American heterodoxies that stymie attempts to overcome the effects of climate change.:
(1) Gnosticism: Creation is evil, so why save it?
(2) Calvinism: Material success of a sign of virtue and divine favor, America is an exceptional country, and its citizens have the right to use natural resources as they see fit.
(3) Liberalism: The free market embodies efficiency and virtue – any interference diminishes freedom.
(4) Anti-intellectualism: Climate change – a “lib-uh-ral” conspiracy!
(5) Modernism: Man must become the master of nature and always better himself (for the latest version of this, see Ross Douthat: “a warmer world will also be a richer world”).
(6) Individualism: I have the right to my SUV, regardless of what is going on in Africa, and regardless of future generations.
(7) Nationalism: Why should America pay?
Of course, these ideologies are not necessarily consistent with each other, but they do spring from the same root – the nominalist revolution. Thanks a lot, William of Occam!