Germany’s literary establishment has declared a moratorium on the phrase “climate hysteria.” No wonder “climate denial” is epidemic – there’s no better way to convince people something’s not real than making belief mandatory.
One might think that painting the climate debate in black and white – evil “climate deniers” versus saintly Greta Thunberg and her Extinction Rebellion carbon cult – would be more discrediting to the climate protection movement than begging for some realism from a narrative that is rapidly taking on religious trappings. Implying the keening end-of-timers gluing themselves to trains at rush hour are just as rooted in clear-eyed science as legitimate climatologists is frankly insulting to the latter, and implying both are too sacred to be described with a term like “hysteria” harms the environmental cause far more than any slick oil industry PR.
An annual ritual by German linguists and journalists to exile a term from the language subjected the term “klimahysterie” (“climate hysteria”) to the linguistic equivalent of burning at the stake earlier this month, naming it the “un-word of the year” because it “defames climate protection efforts and the climate protection movement, and discredits important discussions about climate protection.”
By trying to shame the concept of “climate hysteria” out of existence, the establishment is simply drawing more attention to it. Smearing those who are merely pointing out an unscientific tendency in a supposedly scientific movement only encourages more people – including those who were on the fence about the climate issue before – to question the entire narrative. With Thunberg herself at Davos for a second year in a row, testily reminding the international ruling class that “our house is still on fire,” it’s impossible not to notice that there’s a bit of irrationality in the air. While she herself once said “listen to the science,” a multi-billion-dollar hysteria-driven vaporware economy has arisen at the same time, proclaiming “listen to Greta.” Carbon offset firms, green branding agencies, “sustainability consultants,” the notorious ‘green social network’ We Don’t Have Time that shot Thunberg herself to stardom – none of these would exist without “climate hysteria,” as they provide no value to a society not in its grip. An official diktat declaring it doesn’t exist merely adds weight to all criticisms of the climate change movement, whether or not they have merit.
There’s no faster way to convince someone a narrative is false than to make belief in it mandatory. And carbon-centric anthropogenic climate change is quickly taking on this level of gravitas – Soros-funded nonprofit Avaaz has declared war on so-called “climate denial,” releasing a report accusing YouTube of “driving its users to climate misinformation” that attempts to shame advertisers into pulling their money from the platform until it starts de-platforming (or at least hiding videos from) those pesky “deniers.”
The use of the word “denier” is deliberately meant to elicit an emotional response. Many of the wrongthink-perpetrators Avaaz takes issue with don’t deny the climate is changing, and some would agree that human activity plays a role in this change.
However, the slightest difference of opinion is framed as heretical, and the perpetrator placed in the “climate denier” camp. Such a divisive approach naturally makes people more curious about those who have been smeared as “deniers.” If the narrative managers are trying to shame us for questioning the wisdom of prosecuting meat-eaters for “ecocide,” or stamping global corporations like Bayer-Monsanto as “net zero” carbon emitters as a reward for their voracious appetite for carbon offsets, the reasoning goes, what else are they lying to us about?
Independent-minded individuals wonder why so much energy is being spent to discredit people who find fault with the prevailing climate change orthodoxy. Most wrong ideas are merely ignored – no one wastes time campaigning against flat-earth videos, for example – so surely, they reason, “climate deniers” must be a threat to the status quo. From the crumbling Douma gas attack narrative, still defended in the mainstream media – to Russiagate, to ‘weapons of mass destruction,’ flimsy establishment narratives have been shored up by demonizing their opponents (as “Assad apologists,”“useful idiots,” and “Saddam apologists,” respectively) because the narrative managers know they cannot win an argument with their critics. If climate change proponents are making a conscious decision to throw their lot in with these epistemologically bankrupt charlatans, they shouldn’t be surprised when “climate change denial” becomes epidemic.
In case there was any doubt that the climate narrative is being imposed from above, “climate hysteria” wasn’t even the most popular choice to be given the ‘un-wording’ treatment for 2019. “Old white men,”“flight shame,” and, yes, “climate deniers” all got more votes – the ritual is open to public comment in the spirit of democracy – but all three were mysteriously disqualified by the five-person linguistic-journalistic panel for violating the selection criteria. Receiving almost twice as many votes as “climate hysteria” was “environmental pig”, the newly minted pejorative at the center of a controversy over a “green” children’s song last month – but that, too, was disqualified. Democracy, it seems, has its limits.
By Helen Buyniski