Book Notes: Michael Shellenberger’s Apocalypse Never

What a great book, people. Shellenberger’s environmental humanism, as he terms it, provides a calm, intelligent, well-informed, and supremely rational response to the apocalyptic environmentalism that’s so fashionable today.

Shellenberger is an epitome of a tree-hugger in the best sense of the word. The guy has dedicated his life to championing every environmental cause and advancing every conservationist agenda in existence. He created the original Green New Deal back when AOC was practically still in diapers.

He’s rare, though, in that he’s capable of changing his mind if data warrants it. He’s also a genuinely calm and rational person, which makes the book a pleasure to read.

Shellenberger is disturbed by how much of what passes for environmentalism is motivated by psychological problems and misplaced religiosity:

Having first experienced and then studied the phenomenon for fifteen years, I believe that secular people are attracted to apocalyptic environmentalism because it meets some of the same psychological and spiritual needs as Judeo-Christianity and other religions. Apocalyptic environmentalism gives people a purpose: to save the world from climate change, or some other environmental disaster. It provides people with a story that casts them as heroes, which … we need in order to find meaning in our lives. At the same time, apocalyptic environmentalism does all of this while retaining the illusion among its adherents that they are people of science and reason, not superstition and fantasy.

One of my favorite parts of the book is Shellenberger’s discussion of neocolonialism that informs many of the efforts to deny people in poor countries the same comforts we enjoy as a result of industrialization. Shellenberger believes that the environment will be helped by lifting people out of poverty instead of keeping them artificially deprived of cheap, accessible energy to please a troop of dumb, overwrought Thunberg types.

Shellenberger also talks about how Malthusianism became a Leftist thing after its long and inglorious history as a right-wing fad. He takes apart many of the climate hoaxes that have gotten a lot of coverage. He talks about the renewable energy sources and why they aren’t working out. He discusses the anti-meat agenda of fake environmentalists.

There’s so much good stuff in the book I can’t even list all of it. But if there’s one book you read on the environment all year (or two, or three), let it be Apocalypse Never because it’s so good. And I don’t even agree with the central premise of the book but I still think it’s a wonderful read.

Far Gone

The weirdest thing is that the same people who go out of their way to demonstrate that a public service is completely expendable then expect that in the future there will be increased funding for that public service.

Seriously, there are people (with supposedly intact brains) who say, in the same breath, “of course, schools shouldn’t reopen next academic year but there definitely needs to be better funding for public schools in the future.”

“Yeah, yeah,” I say, “right after there’s a vaccine for COVID.”

And the poor creatures are so far gone that they brighten up, nod vigorously and say, “Exactly!”

Never Waste a Good Crisis

Global economic crisis of 2008, COVID, George Floyd, climate change – these are all very real things. They are also used extremely effectively to get us to give up welfare protections, compromise our quality of life, and willingly increase the abyss between the wealthy elite and the rest of us.

The maddening part isn’t that it’s being done to us but that we so eagerly and stupidly participate.

Get Your Story Straight

Federal agents deployed to Portland did not have training in riot control : NYT

Well, why should they if there are no riots, only completely peaceful protests?

These morons can’t even figure out what their story is. But once Trump gives green cards to the DACA recipients as he promises and fires Barr, they are going to win the presidency and the Senate and save democracy. So let’s rejoice.

No schools, no police, no jobs, gigantic taxes but we will all be treated for free for COVID which we don’t have. No other illnesses will be treated because the beds are needed for non-existent COVID patients, of course. To those who have been asking who will pay for the “single-payer healthcare,” here’s your answer. It will treat the only conditions that we will be allowed to recognize as real. The rest will go stuff themselves.

Restaurant Life

I went to a local restaurant yesterday. It used to be the most popular place in town because it serves both regular people food (pulled pork sandwiches, burgers, gigantic portions of fries) at modest prices and fru-fru foodie options for the college crowd (chicken liver mousse, okonomiyaki, kale salad, and $12 tomato sandwiches).

Normally, it would be so packed on a Saturday night, you’d have to wait two hours to get seated. Never took reservations because why bother? It’s standing room only most nights.

Well, yesterday it was deserted. We are a college town so everybody watches CNN and feels terrified. I can’t imagine how the restaurant will survive.

On the other hand, Texas Roadhouse, also known as the Trump Supporters’ place, is reliably packed every day of the week. I’ve never been but I’m extremely curious about what it is that people love about it so much.

Keep Emotions Inside

“Mommy,” says Klara decisively, “do not freak out. Got it? Keep your emotions inside your body and don’t freak out, ok? There’s something I got to show you but you have to stay calm.”

I didn’t teach her any of this, obviously. I’m actually the most cool-headed and composed person in existence around her.

What she had to show me, by the way, is that she got some Christmas ornaments out of storage and decorated her room.