03 March 2007

The Secular Religion of Global Warming and Indulgences

On the American Thinker website, there’s an interesting argument made that the upper-class can avoid the effects of action taken to curb global warming because of their wealth. Mr. Lifson is of the opinion that comparing carbon offset fees is more on par with commutation fees during the Civil War. I would argue, however, that indulgences sold by the Papacy are a better analogy, given the religious overtone of global warming fanatics.

Global warming (or climate change) as a secular religion is problematic because it places man in multiple positions simultaneously. As it is a secular religion, man (or a man) must assume the place of god; man must be the highest authority. As man is flawed, this clearly creates problems. The three roles which must be assumed (in my not-so-lovely terms) are man-as-man, man-as-god-forgiver, and man-as-god-restorer.

The simplest sense of the three is man-as-man. In this capacity, man is capable of both destroying and saving the planet, which is the free will equivalent of man saving his own soul by choosing a righteous life. Man is not the redeemer in this role, nor can he forgive himself for his failings. This is the proper role for man – to do the best that he can, given his limited knowledge.

Where it gets tricky is where secularism replaces god with the idea of man-as-god. In the role of forgiver, man may only to look to himself for redemption. However, since (in the real world) man is flawed, he can only provide a flawed redemption. That money is involved is no surprise, whether it comes in the guise of indulgences or carbon-offsets. Greed is one of the more motivating factors in society, which is not always a bad thing. But when man attempts to absolve himself through capital, his absolution is a façade at best.

Greed also plays into man when he attempts to, in this context, become the “fixer” or “restorer” of such immense problems. Truly finding a solution to a problem such as global warming would result in the clergy losing jobs, income and authority. To postpone this result for an indeterminable amount of time, the clergy insists that they are the sole source for avoiding the apocalypse – through carbon offsets. It is an attempt to cage common folks into a never-ending cycle of pollute-pay-pollute. It is a fake solution, as those with money will simply go through the cycle with considerably more ease than the commoner.

In this way, carbon offsetting fulfills the required functions of man-as-god, both forgiver and fixer, without actually addressing the problem. We may still all, figuratively speaking, go to hell still, but while living, those who can appease the church of global warming will feel good about the ride. Folks who can’t will be made to fear their own damnation…it’s all their fault, after all.

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