Climate and Nation

Climate change is another great reason to strengthen the nation-state. I wish people thought more about things, I truly do.

“I want open borders and strong welfare” or “I want action on climate change but nation-states are racist so let’s ditch them” are internally inconsistent positions where one of the goals unavoidably demolishes the other.

I don’t understand how one could simultaneously be for aggressive action on climate change and against nationalism. People are mostly incapable of getting truly emotionally invested into concepts like “the planet” or “humanity.” Everybody likes them, or professes to, but there is no real, burning passion for them in the overwhelming majority of people. They don’t get warm-and-fuzzies when they see the planetary flag because it doesn’t exist and nobody put any work into making it meaningful. They don’t tear up when they hear the humanity’s anthem because there’s no such thing. There’s no such thing as planetary pride simply because there’s no other inhabited planet we are aware of.

In order for such a passion to arise, somebody would need to come up with a series of mechanisms that would create such an attachment. And who will that be?

But this has already been achieved for nationalist sentiments. And there is already such a thing as national governments. If you truly think climate change is an urgent issue, you can’t afford to wait for planetary solidarity to arise. This isn’t a complex idea. It shouldn’t be that hard to notice.


6 thoughts on “Climate and Nation”

  1. Back in the 20th century this is what I said but it does not appear to me that national governments or nations are actually into saving the planet. US is not. Brazil is not.


    1. Because we are not electing anybody who is articulating a coherent opposition to neoliberal globalization. Obama was as neoliberal as they get. Trump is all bluster but zero policy that’s not classical reaganism. The current candidates will say anything to get elected but have no coherent anti-neoliberal worldview.


  2. I have difficulty believing US can do anything meaningful about the climate change, if the problem is as big as some describe, since the rest of the world won’t cooperate unless alternative cheap energy sources are found:

    // Climate change is often treated as a ‘moral’ problem in a way that ignores many inconvenient material realities. This is part of a shift in Western politics away from the old economic arguments of left and right and towards issues of a more nebulous moral character. Because ditching fossil fuels won’t hurt most Westerners financially, a lot of Western activists think it is a grand idea. Those impoverished Asians and Africans who might see their livelihoods ruined, and any prospect of advancement destroyed, are largely ignored.


    // Trump is battling Saudis and Russians who want to raise oil prices. He has two chips in his hand: fracking and Khashoggi.

    Basically, it’s all about whether your personal budget will suffer so that Putin’s corrupt regime can survive and invade more countries.


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