I haven’t done any skylarking about global warming in a while, so let me have a bit of fun in my opening paragraph. Then, after that, I will sober up a bit, and move on to my more serious point, which I do, in fact, have. In 2007, serious scientists were predicting that the Arctic icecap would be GONE by the year 2013, which, you may have noticed, is almost in our rear view mirror. What is the actual state of the icecap in this, the year of our Lord, 2013? I am glad you asked, because since last August, the icecap has grown by 920,000 square miles. That’s a lot of global warming recoil.
The great idol of modernity is the state. When people engage in political debates, therefore, a lot less time should be spent in looking at what people are offering up, and much more time spent on recognizing what they are offering it to.
Whenever we are talking about climate change, they want me to look at the offering they have brought in their hands. What ever could be wrong with funny looking light bulbs? But the whole point of everything was to grow the power of the state, and the state is an idol. If it weren’t offered up on that altar, I wouldn’t care how your light bulbs looked. When the state is the idol, absolutely every course of action winds up being placed on that altar. Global warming means we must “pull together.” Global cooling means we must “coordinate our efforts,” and either way we go, it will always mean statist coercion.
A persistent aluminum siding salesman uses absolutely anything as an argument for you buying his product now. If it is Wednesday, that’s a good reason. If it is not Wednesday, even better. It turns out that issues related to Wednesday may not be his chief interest.
This is why I have little interest in pursuing the deep thoughts of philosophers, theologians, and other smart guys, who cannot see this glaringly obvious fact. I have often called Heidegger a Nazi, and that’s because he was one. That’s what you might call getting thrown at the rodeo, in the disqualification round, by one of those walk-the-children-around-a-pole-ponies. But the socialist Karl Barth also raises my suspicions — quite apart from the alarming fact of his towering genius — by refusing to condemn the Soviet invasion of Hungary in the fifties. If you can’t see the idolatry in the 90-foot statue of Nebuchadnezzar, I am not going to trust you when you find it in the fact that I am quoting Bible verses, like a crazed fundamentalist bibliolater . . . or like Jesus in the wilderness. Whatever.
When the music goes, the guys who bow down to that statue might be able to produce a lot of scintillating repartee at the cafe afterwards, explaining how the infinite meets the finite on the tip of the statue’s nose, most of which sails right over my head — but they still bowed down. But I want to be with the guys who didn’t. I want to hear what they have to say.