551: The Specter of Ecofascism

KMO and John Michael Greer met up in Lancaster, PA this week to talk about ecofascism. JMG made a bit of a stir a few weeks back when he published an essay on his blog called The Next Twilight of Environmentalism. His thesis is that we're in the early stages of seeing media power-brokers discredit environmentalism by associating it with Nazis, white nationalists and mass shooters. Later in the podcast, KMO asks JMG about the candidacy of Andrew Yang and his signature policy, the Freedom Dividend.

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3 Comments

  1. L33tminion on September 1, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    My goodness, Warren really can’t get a break from you two! The criticism that she’s “overtly seeking power” is one of those that’s striking in how unevenly applied it is despite being a basically universal trait of those trying to win higher office. Generally Presidential candidates aren’t dragged kicking and screaming to the campaign trail, and they aren’t just doing it for the cool desk.

    As for the bit about “get me a beer”, well, I think you’re wrong on the facts that it’s a scripted, workshoped, or otherwise unusual for Warren to say when vlogging from her kitchen at the end of the workday. It also seems like quite the double-blind.

    I think there’s a lot about Warren’s candidacy you could like on the same grounds as things you like about Sanders and Yang.

    Also, on the bit about the media not “catching on” to Presidential trolling (though I am pretty certain I’m repeating myself here), they may in fact be in a jam where “a foolishly large reaction to intentional provocation” and “a proportionately alarmed reaction to actually alarming things” are the same reaction. All that’s required for that to be the case is for Trump to not be making a clear internal distinction between “just trolling” and “telling it like it is” and for the institutional barriers between Trump shitposting on Twitter and Trump acting with the same degree of impulsiveness re actual Presidential powers to be a bit flimsy. That may well be the case!

    Finally, I wish you’d engaged with the bit about the capitalist activities of wealthy celebrity environmentalists not being the same thing as their personal consumption. It might be true that if they were serious, they’d cut down on personal consumption, too. Certainly true they’d be criticized on those grounds. Maybe true that would turn them to sour-(fascism-flavored!)-grapes anti-environmemtalism. But there’s a swallowed assumption that’s why it doesn’t work. And it just seems too small to be why that doesn’t work.

    (I guess what I’m saying is like this Slate Star Codex post on billionaire philanthropy, to the extent that celebrity environmentalists are actually trying to direct resources towards environmental problems.)

    I think there’s a lot about Warren’s candidacy you could like on the same grounds as things you like about Sanders and Yang.

    Also, on the bit about the media not “catching on” to Presidential trolling (though I am pretty certain I’m repeating myself here), they may in fact be in a jam where “a foolishly large reaction to intentional provocation” and “a proportionately alarmed reaction to actually alarming things” are the same reaction. All that’s required for that to be the case is for Trump to not be making a clear internal distinction between “just trolling” and “telling it like it is” and for the institutional barriers between Trump shitposting on Twitter and Trump acting with the same degree of impulsiveness re actual Presidential powers to be a bit flimsy. That may well be the case!

    Finally, I wish you’d engaged with the bit about the capitalist activities of wealthy celebrity environmentalists not being the same thing as their personal consumption. It might be true that if they were serious, they’d cut down on personal consumption, too. Certainly true they’d be criticized on those grounds. Maybe true that would turn them to sour-(fascism-flavored!)-grapes anti-environmemtalism. But there’s a swallowed assumption that’s why it doesn’t work. And it just seems too small to be why that doesn’t work.

    (I guess what I’m saying is like this Slate Star Codex post on billionaire philanthropy, to the extent that celebrity environmentalists are actually trying to direct resources towards environmental problems.)

  2. KMO on September 1, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    You know, I’m pretty sure that “get me a beer” moment was NOT the brain child of a marketing research firm. Not a competent one anyway.

    You seem to be attributing all of JMG’s remarks about Elizabeth Warren to the both of us as if we’re co-authors. You’re not the only one who does this. The assumption seems to be that if a guest says something that I disagree with that I will automatically stop their flow and push back against it, only allowing them to move on to their next point when they have satisfied all of my previous objections. That’s the Sam Harris modus, or at least he used to get stuck in that mode. I haven’t listened to his podcast in quite some time.

    Here’s something I wrote to a listener who objected to my giving a guest a free pass on an entirely different topic:

    ______________________

    It seems like you’ve just joined a club that you didn’t know existed. You have heard, literally hundreds of times on the C-Realm Podcast, moments where I encountered a decision point where a guest has said something in passing that I know a portion of the audience will find objectionable. At such points, I have to make a snap decision. Do I stop the conversation that we’re having in order to push back on that point and possibly derail what would have been a productive conversation to chase an unproductive distraction, or do I sacrifice the conversation in progress for what might turn out to be a segue into an even better conversation? It’s a decision I have to make in an instant, and no matter what I choose, some portion of the audience will be displeased.
    ______________________

    Elizabeth Warren first came to my attention before she was your Senator. She was an academic giving a lecture in a college auditorium (which I saw in online video form) talking about the change in economic fortunes for the working class from the seventies to the oughts. I was so groovin’ on what she had to say that I remembered her name and was pleased years later when I learned that she was running for the Senate. In terms of Presidential candidates, she started out in the pole position as far as I was concerned, and then she started pandering to the SJW crowd, calling her political opponents white nationalists and trying to score points by claiming Native American ancestry. She turned HERSELF into a bad joke. She’s not the victim of character assassination.

    She probably still has commitments that I can get behind, and I’m not against her like I’m against Harris or Biden. She’s basically a non-entity in my book. As I’ve pointed out before, living in Vermont, my actual vote is irrelevant. My only power to influence the results of the election will come from the media I create and distribute, and Elizabeth Warren doesn’t interest me enough to say anything for or against her.

    I don’t think I grok your intention with your last two paragraphs. I tend to find reading Slate Star Codex worthwhile, but I only ever read it when someone I know posts a link to it. I’ll try to make time to check it out.

    • L33tminion on September 5, 2019 at 11:09 pm

      You seem to be attributing all of JMG’s remarks about Elizabeth Warren to the both of us as if we’re co-authors.

      I’d thought I was responding to something both of you said, as opposed to assuming your agreement, and I do appreciate that you don’t try to iron out every point of disagreement. Sorry if I was misremembering.

      then she started pandering to the SJW crowd, calling her political opponents white nationalists and trying to score points by claiming Native American ancestry

      I’m frankly confused by this impression. But I probably shouldn’t try to iron this out, either.

      I don’t think I grok your intention with your last two paragraphs.

      I think Doug Lain hit on basically the same points at the start of the next episode, so he probably said it better.

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