Linguistic technology: How the left captured climate change
A stifling heat wave has impacted large portions of the United States this summer, which can only mean one thing: endless stories from regime media about the apocalyptic threat of climate change. Leftists' nearly hegemonic control of the consensus-manufacturing apparatus in America grants them the ability to construct the default narrative framework in which any discussion about current events takes place. Every news cycle is a new opportunity to capture power; no crisis goes to waste.
The problem with “climate change” is not the idea that we should honor the land on which we live and preserve it. The chamber of commerce GOP approach of “who cares about tomorrow; burn it all down if it gets in the way of GDP” has always been ugly. As hunters, farmers, fishermen, and hikers, many conservatives have a natural affinity for nature, and this should be reflected in the approach of the Republican Party, but GOP voters are right to doubt the motives of the modern environmentalist movement.
The phrase “climate change” is itself an obvious piece of newspeak. When I was growing up, environmentalists would talk about greenhouse gas emissions and the possible dangers of global warming. Whether one believes that the current levels of industrial pollution were having a significant impact on the climate or not, at least there was a rational discussion to be had. Global warming predicted a specific chain of events that could be observed, and the assertion could be proven true or false through reason and evidence.
But as dramatic predictions of peak oil, global famine, and submerged cities failed to materialize, environmentalists realized they needed to rebrand. Every time there was a cold snap or a blizzard, the public’s faith in global warming was called into question, so a more durable term was chosen.
Climate change is impossible to argue with because the climate is always changing. That is the nature of life on earth. It is factually unassailable. Even if man had never existed, the planet’s climate would shift dramatically over time. Global warming implied a consistent pattern with an identifiable result, so it could be proven false, but climate change is bulletproof. The right rarely thinks very much about the language it uses, stepping into whatever frame is set for it, but the left is not so foolish. Progressives carefully select the terminology they advance, intentionally forcing their opponents onto unfavorable narrative ground. “Climate change” is an amazing piece of rhetorical technology, allowing the left to take something that is undeniably true in the strictest sense and charge it with infinite political energy. By taking ownership of the phrase and proactively defining its public use, the left managed to construct a political monopoly around a piece of reality.
To be clear, leftists don't care about protecting the natural order; they will surgically mutilate children if it is fashionable. What progressives care about is rationalizing the consolidation and centralization of power through social engineering. The progressive revolution relies on the notion that man can become God, defining and controlling reality as he sees fit. Progressives deny human nature and seek the power to bring about utopia. The mass graves left by communist regimes give them no pause. The notion that the planet’s climate is too complex to understand and outside of human control is unacceptable, just like the notion that men are born men and stay men even if you surgically mutilate them to look more like women. Every new frontier in social engineering is a new opportunity to raise funds, build infrastructure, reward clients, and gain power.
Climate change is what video blogger Dave Greene refers to as a magical word, a term that has been hollowed out of any real meaning and filled with political energy. Other magical words include racism, sexism, democracy, and social justice. These words have been lifted from any actual context and are used as a shibboleth to embody a particular movement or agenda.