The problem with leftists is that they can’t process feedback. Their thinking is a closed loop. No new information gets in. They invariably react with violence when reality doesn’t conform to their schematic understanding of what it should be.
Michael Shellenberger is an exception. He’s the kind of leftist who has spent the last 30 years joining every leftist cause on the planet, participating in every environmental movement, and perking up whenever anybody anywhere on the globe says “socialism.” He’s also an ideological vegetarian. A deeply annoying fellow, in other words.
But Shellenberger has one enormously redeeming quality. He can process new information in a calm and rational way. For instance, he tried persuading farmers in Brazil to join socialist collectives. Farmers refused. Instead of denouncing them as racist, backwards ingrates who need to be forced violently to do as they are told, Shellenberger understood that farmers preferred individual ownership because they had rational reasons that mattered to them and should be respected. When I came across this place in Shellenberger’s new book, I was stunned. This might be the only time in the history of humankind that a leftist didn’t think the people he was trying to help were contemptible rubes who needed to be forced to accept leftist recipes for happiness.
The really great news is that this bizarrely reasonable leftist wrote a book on climate change. It’s titled Apocalypse Never and it’s as calm and reasonable as his interaction with the Brazilian farmers. Shellenberger demonstrates that you can absolutely respect science, understand that climate change is real but also be repelled by the ridiculous whelps of climate hysterics.
In his signature calm tone, Shellenberger demonstrates how, for example, the 2019 bout of global hysteria over the supposed destruction of the Amazon rainforests was engineered for completely economic reasons.
I know I overused the word “calm” in this post but if ever there was a subject that needed some calmness, it’s the environment. It’s a crucial subject yet it’s impossible to discuss because, for some incomprehensible reason, it attracts complete lunatics. And I mean, on both sides of the political spectrum.
This isn’t a review of Shellenberger’s book because I haven’t finished it yet. (It was published yesterday). But I was so overcome by the story about Brazilian farmers that I had to share.