Mr. Stephens, provisionally adopting the role of Dr. Pangloss, in his latest screed, attempts to shame not just ‘the environmental left’ but ‘environmental alarmists’ as an expression of his faith in ‘homo economicus’ : who can fix anything, even the planet it is slowly destroying. And a political present defined by the alliance between Neo-Liberalism and Neo-Conservatism: two toxic expressions of nihilism. This nihilism has two branches, an unenlightened exploitative Capital, assisted by its well compensated apologists. And our Clash of Civilization’s ‘War On Terror’ as the ‘almost best of all possible worlds’, with, of course, Mr. Stephens self-given caveats. The last paragraph of his essay reminds the regular reader that here is the perfect New York Times toady: to a Capital in its present state of an un-realized self-correction, and an unslakable bellicosity untested by military experience of any kind. His ex cathedra pronouncements on ‘the environmental left’ and ‘environmental alarmists’ finds its actual political life as self-congratulatory chatter, of a columnist in need of a subject, that will provoke the ‘Liberal readership’ of The New York Times.
If environmental alarmists ever wonder why more people haven’t come around to their way of thinking, it isn’t because people like me occasionally voice doubts in newspaper op-eds. It’s because too many past predictions of imminent disaster didn’t come to pass. That isn’t because every alarm is false — many are all too real — but because our Promethean species has shown the will and the wizardry to master it, at least when it’s been given the means to do so.