Chicken Little Redux

A Review of Roosters of the Apocalypse: How the Junk Science of Global Warming Nearly Bankrupted the Western World, by Rael Jean Isaac

Roosters of the ApocalypseBeginning in April 1856, after decades of frontier skirmishes with British colonial powers, the Xhosa tribe of current day South Africa stopped planting crops, slaughtered their cattle, and destroyed their grain stores. Now why would any clear-thinking people do this? Well, they had acted on the prophecy of a teenager. She had said spirits told her that, if the Xhosa would do these things, then the golden age that had existed before the white invasion would be restored, and they would then see an era of increased prosperity. Did that happen? Well, no. By the end of 1857, an estimated third to half of them were dead, and the British corralled survivors into labor camps and assumed control of the land.

Rael Jean Isaac opens Roosters of the Apocalypse with this true story to make a very important point: Despite modern advancements and scientific enlightenment, we may have more in common with the Xhosa than we think.

Apocalyptic movements have much in common, says Richard Landes, a historian with Boston University. They have initiators, promoters he likens to “roosters” – because they crow an exciting message. They have skeptics, “owls” who caution against unwarranted drastic action, and they have a mass of followers who must choose whom to believe. Furthermore, they follow a common lifecycle: (1) In the first wave, the roosters break onto the public scene and begin building mass. Next (2) comes the breaking wave, when the roosters’ message dominates public life. This is followed by (3) a long churning phase, when the inertia of the movement carries it furiously forward despite failed predictions and mounting evidence that the owls were right. And finally, (4) as the wave recedes, the owls are vindicated, but much damage has been done and the consequences remain.

Examining Climate Change Churn
Isaac applies this explanatory metaphor to the climate change movement. “From a political point of view, climate change must still be counted a breaking wave,” she writes. “It continues to dominate public life because the preponderance of political, academic, environmental, and media elites, as well as a significant segment of business leaders remain committed roosters. Intellectually it’s another story.”

Subsequent chapters lay out the facts of that other story – from the massive intellectual fraud perpetrated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), now dubbed “Climategate;” to the convoluted scheme of trading the fictitious commodity known as carbon credits, which amounts to nothing more than a huge tax on energy; to the economic black holes surrounding the quest for renewable energies – to show that the movement, far from being grounded in scientifically established fact, is basically irrational, ideological, and profoundly anti-science.

Most helpful, Isaac delves into the movement’s history to suggest a diagnosis for the driving force behind it all. “From the beginning, energy, not pollution was the chief target of environmental roosters,” she writes. In so doing, she succinctly exposes the movement as a pernicious drive to undo human achievement. Tying a political tourniquet on energy production is merely the means du jour for pursuing the end, which is pure destruction.

Her application of Landes’s metaphor fits way too close for comfort. Despite warm fuzzies we might feel about protecting the earth, the warning should compel reasonable people to apply sound judgment before cackling along with the roosters. Western civilizational strength and human livelihoods hang in the balance. “How ironic it will be,” she concludes, “if despite our pride in bringing down the Soviet Union without a shot, the twenty-first century, thanks to our self-destructive pursuit of an apocalyptic fantasy, belongs to a Communist dictatorship?”

‘Ironic’ doesn’t even come close. Contemptible would be more like it. Don’t be a stooge for the destroyer, and don’t let such destruction happen with your consent.

This article first appeared in Salvo 22, Fall 2012.

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One Comment on “Chicken Little Redux

  1. Pingback: Christian Carnival December 2013 | The Transforming Word with Dr. Mike Spaulding

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