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This diary was composed in response to a comment in my last diary to the effect that what the world needs is some sort of "green dictatorship" -- that if people are not going to do of their own free will what is necessary to mitigate the coming global warming catastrophe, then people need to be forced to quit accelerating the Earth's transformation into some sort of cooler version of Venus through runaway global warming.  I can only assume that arguments of this sort are made out of a sort of realistic desperation, given the enormous scope of the problem and the general unwillingness of present-day human governments to do a whole lot about it.

The scientific discussion of global warming, at this very late point in the game, often evinces a desperation about possible solutions.  The quintessential expression of this desperation is Clive Hamilton's Requiem for a Species.  From the Amazon.com blurb for this book:

This book does not set out once more to raise the alarm to encourage us to take radical measures to head off climate chaos. There have been any number of books and reports in recent years explaining just how dire the future looks and how little time we have left to act. This book is about why we have ignored those warnings, and why it is now too late.
Now, if it's "too late," then there's no point, and I've heard that story too.  But if it's not too late, then perhaps desperate measures might save the day.  The idea of a "green dictatorship" is one of those suggested measures.  I guess the idea centers around this fantasy of "if I were global dictator here's what I'd do."  What would an environmentalist do if she were placed in charge of the world?

Informed readers should have a few notions, submitted humbly below, about the scientific basis of this general feeling of desperation that afflicts many students of global warming.  Any good news item can be a place to start -- the most recent bad news about global warming, for instance, is that oceanic deposits of methane off the east coast of the US are "rapidly destabilizing."  Much of what we know of the relationship between increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide and increasing average global temperatures is based on the climate forcing effects of the carbon dioxide itself -- so, for instance, there's Petit et al., a study of Antarctic ice cores that shows how tight the correlation is between past carbon dioxide levels and past average global temperatures.  

Discussion about global warming has centered on the climate-forcing abilities of carbon dioxide -- but there is also the story of methane.  First there is the methane produced by aboveground sources, which accounts for 10% of climate forcing (even though the amounts of methane emitted into the atmosphere are much smaller than carbon dioxide emissions -- methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas).  And then there are underground and underwater methane hydrates, which will be released if the Earth gets too much hotter.

Anyway, if you look at the analysis in Mark Lynas' book Six Degrees, it's the release of the methane hydrates that really kicks off the global warming sweepstakes.  Lynas's book is incredible, and the worst-case scenarios he presents are quite horrific.  Of course, the big factor in climate change (and the thing our world-society most needs to control) is global increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide.  And, as David Roberts told us last year, global society is now on track to play out Lynas' Six Degrees disaster.  See 10:40 of this video:

Roberts discusses methane hydrates at around 12:00.

So, at any rate, from Roberts's video you can see the reasoning behind scientific desperation.  Is anyone in Washington DC advocating what Roberts suggests is necessary (and for this you can see the graphic at 16:10 of the video)?  No.  And apparently there won't be any big agreement this week in Warsaw.  In fact, the discussion of agreements appears to have been put off until 2015.  At its most optimistic, Politico says:

One option, according to an expert closely tracking the talks who asked for anonymity, would be to craft an agreement for countries to either ratify or put in place a domestic program that is substantially similar to its goals. That option could allow the U.S. to meet the goals of the global agreement with President Barack Obama’s domestic climate change regulations.
And, oh sure, Obama is looking to draft climate change regulations, but the regulations stand in danger of being negotiated away, they won't take effect until he leaves office, and even as they stand they're likely to fall far short of what Roberts is asking for.  What did that graphic in the video say?  "To stabilize temperature, global emissions must peak in 5-10 years and decline rapidly thereafter."  We are in all likelihood headed for too little, too late, at least if you believe Roberts.

Below, then, I will examine eco-authoritarianism as a way of combining the hyperconcern of the few, the "avoiding politics" of the many, and the wish that the global warming problem somehow be solved.

(crossposted at Firedoglake)

As I understand them, dictatorships (and authoritarian governments in general) are mostly about process.  Fundamentally, they are about two processes which can be queried as follows: 1) what does it take to become a dictator?  and 2) what does it take to maintain a dictatorship?  Generally dictatorships thrive on mechanisms of power: total surveillance, militarization of everyday life, persecution of dissidents, placation of the masses, ideological propaganda, and so on.  We have plenty of that throughout the world even though it coexists with "democracy" quite well.

Consumer products are good things for a dictatorship, because the masses can be bribed with them.  Accept our tyranny, the regime says, because most of you will get a cheap toaster oven.  Capitalism is also good for authoritarian governance, because that way you can have "leaders" who take responsibility for official actions, and moneyed power behind the scenes directing everything with massive infusions of cash.

Voting is good for dictatorship maintenance.  Voting is especially good when you have an oligarchic system, with two major parties.  The dictators can switch positions now and then, and the electoral system can endlessly promote "voter choice" even when the outcomes are similar in many respects regardless of who wins.  (The idea that "the Republicans are worse," although true, does not contradict this reality.)  Dictatorship is not contradicted by voting; the Soviets voted.  Real democracy is when the public will makes policy decisions -- it's not "American Fascism" or "inverted totalitarianism" or "no functioning democracy."  Thus the word "democracy" -- "demos" = the people, "cratein" = to rule.

The masses are going to need some amount of hope, and global warming is not going to give them hope.  So I don't see how the coming eco-dictatorship is going to supply people with hope.  I suppose they could feed everyone a bunch of false hope while pursuing a green agenda, but who is going to buy into that?  And where is the truth when everyone is lying?  Apparently the Chinese want to pursue green energy to a much greater extent than they do, but they still keep burning enormous quantities of coal nonetheless, having thrown their lot in with the ideological hopes of capitalist growth.  And even so, ecology appears to be on the side of rebellion in China, which has experienced no shortage of despairing anti-pollution protests in the past few decades (at least if you believe the economist Minqi Li).

Dictatorships typically arise on the crest of an ideological wave.  The Nazis had Nazism, which was created before their takeover in 1933; Mussolini's autobiography boasts that he had parlayed the culture of the people into a position of power, and the Soviets combined Czarist brutality with a cultural communism which had already been part of Russian culture by the time 1917 rolled around.  So why would green-thinking people want to trust a dictatorship to remold the world today?

Groupthink thrives in dictatorships.  Even if our favored dictatorship's groupthink were the "right" groupthink -- for instance, you'd want everyone to agree that something needs to be done about global warming -- you'd still run into implementation problems.  We'll need creative solutions to the food problem, for instance, as the global food transportation system is partially dismantled in favor of local food production/ consumption.  Climate change is the sort of problem that requires creativity, and creativity is hindered when everyone is following orders or going along with official directives.

Wanting to remold society according to one's wishes is nice, pleasant wishful thinking.  In reality, the means of remolding would take over if we could somehow amass the power to realize eco-fantasies of global transformation through dictatorship, and bring us the same crazy world we thought we were trying to transcend.  If we are to change the world to survive global warming, we must have the patience, humility, and expertise of star teachers, and cultivate learning experiences in which the people find out how to direct their own, collective fates.  It can happen democratically.

Originally posted to The Rebel Alliance on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 06:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight and Climate Change SOS.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well... (17+ / 0-)

    the perhaps too-obvious solution to anthropogenic global warming is a mass die-off of humans, and thus far fewer humans adding greenhouse gases.

    This will happen, of course, when it's 'too late', anyway.  Substantial changes to the environment will cause famine, disease, civil unrest, war.

    •  The too-obvious solution (11+ / 0-)

      is to put an end to the capitalist system.

      "You could say I've lost my belief in our politicians/ They all seem like game show hosts to me" -Sting

      by Cassiodorus on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 06:14:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That would be helpful, but it's still an added (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        profundo, northsylvania, WarrenS, cynndara

        level of abstraction.  More people means more resources used, more warming, no matter what type of economic system they employ.  Some systems (capitalism) aggravate the problem worse than others, but continued global population growth will only exacerbate the problem.

        •  Brain jump... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WarrenS, Hohenzollern, FarWestGirl

          I meant exacerbate, not aggravate.  I need coffee.

        •  I don't think it will be an "abstraction" (7+ / 0-)

          when the industrial food system is partially dismantled and when the whole network of financial parasites is obliged to look for actually productive lines of work.

          "You could say I've lost my belief in our politicians/ They all seem like game show hosts to me" -Sting

          by Cassiodorus on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 06:20:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  This would (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bob Guyer

            however, lead to the 30% or so die-off necessary to stabilize the environment, due to starvation and resource conflict.  You can't expect the parasites to go down without putting up a fight (although they'll hire somebody else to do the actual fighting).

            •  Actually, no. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              melo

              First off, getting rid of "Round-Up" and "Round-Up Ready" crops would slow down the extinction rate significantly and give the land time to recover in preparation for small-scale "organic" agriculture, which actually would feed the people.

              "You could say I've lost my belief in our politicians/ They all seem like game show hosts to me" -Sting

              by Cassiodorus on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 07:22:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Doubling the population of Western ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... industrial economies while shifting to the ecological footprint of the average Indian would be a substantial drop in resources used and warming.

          So if there was an economic system that could do that, then the "no matter what type of economic system them employ" would not, in fact, be true.

          On the other hand, in India, cranking down the "AT" in I=PAT is not an option, and only reductions in P can reduce impacts.

          Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

          by BruceMcF on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 11:55:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's Going Up Up Up Anyway (0+ / 0-)

          Even if 6 billion people disappeared tomorrow the climate change is already "baked in". The only thing that would change would be the carbon levels decades from now.

          So, mass die-off is inevitable. The question though is whether the human race is going to survive and what we do in the next 20 years will determine that.

          So, something on the order of a "dictatorship" is definitely in order. Remember that Winston Churchill imposed something very like a complete dictatorship on the British people during WWII. Literally every person in the British isles was subject to being told where to work and marched off to do it.

          So, it's happened before, the problem is getting people to see the need before it's utterly futile, and keeping them at it long enough.

          Most reasonably, it's quite impossible. People would prefer to fight the enemy they can see -- other people, the government that's trying to save them, etc., rather than the enemy they can't reach -- climate change. That's too abstract.

          But, faced with extinction, it's certainly worth a shot. What have we to lose?

          •  I suspect that there (0+ / 0-)

            will be a mass die off, and the people remaining will eventually get some very repressive dictatorships going, as the remaining people fight very hard over the remaining resources and try to adapt to a changing planet.

            Those dictatorships will likely try all sorts of things to at least slow down the damage, so I suppose that will be the time we see a green dictatorship.  I'm not sure it will work out though.

            Ignorance more frequently begets confidence then knowledge. Charles Darwin

            by martianexpatriate on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 11:24:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  if you're going to end it (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassiodorus, WarrenS, FarWestGirl

        it would be helpful to replace it with something...

      •  No guarantee that ending capitalism would help. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WarrenS, FarWestGirl

        It seems to follow logically because rogue corporations are the worst polluters, but ANY system has to have the support of the populace to survive long-term. As you identified in your diary, people want stuff. If people don't get A, B, and C in a new economic system, that system won't last, global warming be damned (which is part of the problem today). Can a non-capitalist system deliver enough to stay viable? That's the question, along with 'can attitudes change enough that what a capitalist system, even a much more fair one, delivers is no longer as desirable as what a competent (insert system name here) provides.

        While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

        by GoGoGoEverton on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 07:17:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No guarantees for the future. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shaharazade

          This is all speculation.

          "You could say I've lost my belief in our politicians/ They all seem like game show hosts to me" -Sting

          by Cassiodorus on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 08:07:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  On the other hand -- (5+ / 0-)

            Replacing the capitalist system's global food distribution networks and huge, unproductive industrial farms with small-scale farming and gift/ barter networks would save a ton of energy -- and that's just one example of the sort of energy savings we could achieve if we weren't tied down to capitalism.

            "You could say I've lost my belief in our politicians/ They all seem like game show hosts to me" -Sting

            by Cassiodorus on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 08:37:05 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Industrial farming has lots of problems (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LakeSuperior, dskoe

              but productivity (per acre, per man hour) isn't one of them.

              •  Productivity is better on small farms. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cynndara

                Ecology is worse on them too.

                "You could say I've lost my belief in our politicians/ They all seem like game show hosts to me" -Sting

                by Cassiodorus on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 01:42:06 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Actually (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Cassiodorus, Bob Guyer, maggid

                Industrial farming is highly efficient in terms of manpower, but  in terms of product per acre no better than that achieved by experimental efforts using IRON AGE tools and techniques.  In terms of land use, it's incredibly wasteful, both in the immediate per-acre productivity measures, and in the long-term deterioration of soil/environment.  Also, it is only economically efficient so long as labor costs are high, because the costs of equipment and fuel are astronomical, and of course environmental costs of the manufacturing and energy use and transport are all shifted onto the public as opposed to being added to the price of the already pricey equipment.

                •  Can't argue on the other issues (0+ / 0-)

                  but it beats organic farms on productivity per acre as well as per man hour:

                  http://www.nature.com/...

                  Here we use a comprehensive meta-analysis to examine the relative yield performance of organic and conventional farming systems globally. Our analysis of available data shows that, overall, organic yields are typically lower than conventional yields. But these yield differences are highly contextual, depending on system and site characteristics, and range from 5% lower organic yields (rain-fed legumes and perennials on weak-acidic to weak-alkaline soils), 13% lower yields (when best organic practices are used), to 34% lower yields (when the conventional and organic systems are most comparable). Under certain conditions—that is, with good management practices, particular crop types and growing conditions—organic systems can thus nearly match conventional yields, whereas under others it at present cannot.
        •  People wanting stuff ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cynndara

          ... as opposed to people wanting benefits is also part of capitalism ~ billions are spent in ensuring that desire for benefits is translated into effective demand for stuff.

          Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

          by BruceMcF on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 11:56:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozsea1, Bob Guyer

          That's the short answer.  The fact is that cooperative systems compete with capitalist organizations in every facet of business IN CAPITALIST ECONOMIES without notable customer dissatisfaction.  The only thing that gives capitalism an edge is, in general, the support of the state through special tax treatments, contracts, write-offs, and other freebies written into legislation by their paid hacks (a custom common since the 16th century).  We still have community-funded banks, mutual insurance companies, electric coops, coop groceries, agricultural cooperatives, etc.  Many of these are not small and operate in some of the wealthiest areas or serving reasonably well-heeled customers.  It's the bitterly poor who are usually left with no recourse except the most predatory of capitalist "services", because those individuals and communities have never had the capital even in common to band together and create organizations that require formal capital resources.  However even the poorest communities usually have one or more solid community resource banks in the form of a church.

          Non-capitalist systems are viable and have been viable since humans started living in units larger than nuclear families.  What is not viable without active coercion (i.e., the State's "monopoly on force") is capitalism, which has been a parasite of government privilege since its inception in the 17th century.  I suggest you study the history of the slave trade, the Bank of England, the Reformation and Restoration to understand the matter more thoroughly.

      •  Not necessarily. Co-opting it would be better, (0+ / 0-)

        repurposing most of its assets. And really no more difficult than just abolishing it.
         ;-)

        Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
        ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

        by FarWestGirl on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 12:25:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah. Communists are so enviro-friendly (0+ / 0-)

        Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

        by Anne Elk on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 01:50:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  There will be a nuclear war before that. (0+ / 0-)

        We spent half a century in 'better dead than Red' and we won't have a leadership cadre born entirely outside the Cold War motif for another couple of decades.

        We're kind of locked in for the duration.

      •  Socialism no more likely than capitalism (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril

        to conserve resources.

        Keep in mind that government is responsible for over-subsidizing fossil fuels, for paying farmers to grow food no one needs, for propping up ethanol, for building a transportation system and cities that depend on cars, for subsidizing oversized housing (through the mortgage interest deduction).

        The free market wastes and pollutes, and so does central planning. Capitalism and socialism, on their own, are no better than the other for the environment.

        What would work is instilling the right values into whatever system we have. We pollute and waste because society has collectively agreed to stay blind and indifferent to climate change. Change the values, and we'll find ways to make our existing systems cut climate pollution overnight.

        Besides that – before we fix the climate, we have to smash capitalism? That's quite the precondition for an environmental problem that is now an emergency. We've spent entirety of human history disagreeing over how to best organize our governments and economies. We're not going to come to any final decisions before the decade is up.

  •  With the amount of polar melting already (7+ / 0-)

    The methane has already begun its cycle. Our best bet is to act individually with the knowledge that getting hotter is inevitable and to adapt accordingly.

    Expecting those that are acting out of avarice to control themselves is fruitless and that includes our already bought and sold political class.

    •  Remember -- (6+ / 0-)

      "Those that are acting out of avarice" do so because we work for them.  Capitalism is based on the accumulation of the surplus produced by wage labor.

      "You could say I've lost my belief in our politicians/ They all seem like game show hosts to me" -Sting

      by Cassiodorus on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 06:18:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Horace Boothroyd III

        And by driving more than 50% of the workforce out into the independent market willy-nilly, it's cutting its own throat.  The unemployed are learning to make-do and do for themselves out of sheer survival; once learned that lifestyle tends to be self-perpetuating.  Those people are no longer customers for corporate goods, no longer taxpayers to the corporate-serving government, and often avid and wily consumers of public goods and benefits.  By working for trade on the social rather than the monetary economy, they live untaxed by either government or business rentiers, contributing instead to the "grey" and "black" economies that pay little or nothing towards the maintenance of the capitalists.
         

    •  Humans will adapt (5+ / 0-)

      mostly by dying off.  Forget accepting warming.  Start by accepting that many of your grand kids are going to face nasty premature deaths.

      Frankly, I don't think there's a damn thing that is going to avoid that.

  •  On the Other Hand the US Military at Least In (9+ / 0-)

    past times has been characterized as a blend of authoritarianism and individual creativity. Any number of WW2 vets for example all the postwar years I was growing up had stories of how one buddy or another was able to work around and outside the box to get a job done, and how in general their armies were consequently more flexible and adaptable than the German & Japanese units they went up against.

    I can affirm from my racing sailboat days, as skipper my ultimate authority was absolute; yet I fostered input and debate at all times it was supportable, and I made my best marks regionally and nationally when all the brains on the boat were helping me solve the problems.

    Reality has positioned an absolute authority over us, something that's not even debatable. The planet cannot accept one single new net molecule of atmospheric carbon, not anywhere, not any time, not at any pace, without increasing the injury to life and property everywhere.

    A global governance authority that recognizes an immovable boundary to civilization does not necessarily have to be similarly authoritarian in all dimensions internally to civilization in working together within that boundary.

    Reality is telling us the time for patience is already past.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 06:28:55 AM PST

    •  And Gaia (0+ / 0-)

      has already administered a few gentle love-taps to remind her children that they can be punished for breaking the rules.  Ultimately, Reality will take care of itself.  That's why I think our job should be building "lifeboats" at this point.  The results of systemic human stupidity will be self-correcting, but we might want to take steps to make sure that correction isn't a 100% wipe-out.

  •  I hear Stalin's great-grandson is green. (4+ / 0-)

    He'd love to be the dictator.

    Warren/3-D Print of Warren in 2016!

    by dov12348 on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 06:50:46 AM PST

  •  Some dictatorships have been progressive. (5+ / 0-)

    The ancient Greek term "tyrant" was not an insult. There were plenty of "good" tyrants. Athenian democracy even got its start via a good tyrant who overthrew the aristocracy.

    The problem with dictatorships is that the variance is so great. There have been some wonderful dictators, but there have also been some terrible ones. But if we have to make dramatic changes, then a dictatorship may be the only way to do it.

    For an example of what can be done under a progressive dictator, see this diary by KAMunston.

    •  Feh. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kevskos, Andrew F Cockburn, kyril

      That's an example of a dictator that did more to pander to the public than the other dictators.  The whole nasty regime stayed in place.

      "You could say I've lost my belief in our politicians/ They all seem like game show hosts to me" -Sting

      by Cassiodorus on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 08:12:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm pretty sure if somebody would just give me (4+ / 0-)

      the chance

      There have been some wonderful dictators
      I'd be one of them!
    •  David Runciman's "Dictator Envy" article (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril

      seems relevant here.

      We don’t actually want to live under a dictatorship – we still have a horror of what that would entail – but we do envy dictators their ability to act decisively in a crisis…

      The irony of dictator envy is that it goes against the historical evidence. Over the last 100 years, democracies have shown that they are better than dictatorships at dealing with the most serious crises that any political system has to face. Democracies win wars. They survive economic disasters. They adapt to meet environmental challenges. Precisely because they are able to act decisively without having to square public opinion first, dictators are the ones who end up making the catastrophic mistakes. When dictators get things wrong, they can take the whole state over the cliff with them. When democratic leaders get things wrong, we kick them out before they can do terminal damage.

      Yet that is little consolation in the middle of a crisis. The reason we keep succumbing to dictator envy is that it requires steady nerves to take the long view when things are going wrong.

      http://www.theguardian.com/...

      "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

      by TheHalfrican on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 04:21:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Democracy is very good (0+ / 0-)

        when you have significant margins of time and wealth to jawbone every issue to death while the factions play their little political games.  It is useless at dealing with crises, and every democracy in history has gone down or at least temporarily suspended the democratic process in the face of crisis.  Read about the actions of our "democratic" governments, especially that of Britain, during WWI & II if you need details on the "suspension" idea; check out the sad devolution of ancient Athens for the former.  Democracy is far from the most common form of government throughout the human experience, and every attempt prior to the last two centuries (and many since) ended up self-destructing.  If you want to argue that "this time it's different", I suggest you examine the history of economic booms and busts over the last four centuries as well.

        The better news is that even the most rigid dictatorships and monarchies have always involved a balance and interplay between multiple individuals and factions; there is no absolute power, even in official autocracies.  In fact, ostensible autocrats are often people who operate in constant vigilance not to offend too many powerful opponents lest they wake up gasping with a dagger literally in their chest.  Absolute power is a mirage, often indulged primarily for propaganda purposes.  That said, yes, when a dictator makes a Big Mistake, there are fewer corrective mechanisms and more chances that disaster will ensue.

        And no, actually, I don't want to be King.  I thought I did when I was young, until I seriously studied the subject.  I'll deal with assassins any day (I was once a Palace Guard), but please, not a State Dinner!

        •  You're talking about Cincinnatus tho. (0+ / 0-)

          A democracy making a reasoned judgement to -temporarily- streamline things in times of severe crisis. I don't see that as "useless". More like....shrewd & flexible. Dictators aren't flexible.

          Of course the rub with THAT is your Reichstag Fire/Chancellor Palpatine scenarios....but I digress. :D

          "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

          by TheHalfrican on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 06:51:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  there is going to be a lot of change and damage (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terrypinder, WarrenS, ybruti, FarWestGirl

    that's going to happen no matter what.

    however, we can build energy factories that create water and scrub carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

    we have the technology now.

    -You want to change the system, run for office.

    by Deep Texan on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 07:05:13 AM PST

    •  Of course, what we're supposed to do (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassiodorus, shaharazade, cynndara

      with all of that sequestered CO2 poses certain, shall we say, technological and logistical challenges too.

      Then, too, there's the law of unforeseen consequences.  Sure, let's pump some kind of reflective dust into the atmosphere to tamp down the temperature; who knows what side effects will result?  We still haven't even gotten to the point at which we can predict the severity of a hurricane season, let alone come up with a quick fix to worldwide climate change.

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 08:02:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  he might be referring to turning that (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Deep Texan, Odysseus, ybruti, FarWestGirl

        scrubbed CO2 into fuel, which is possible with available technology, but has certain energy requirements that would likely be unacceptable to a great deal of Daily Kos based on a few recent diaries. At least that's how I read it.

        Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility (not an original but rather apt)

        by terrypinder on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 08:10:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  right. we can do it now. (0+ / 0-)

          at great cost.

          -You want to change the system, run for office.

          by Deep Texan on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:27:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And no one (0+ / 0-)

            is willing to pay those costs.  If they could, without completely destroying the economy-as-we-know-it.  I suggest reading an old blog post I discovered a while back on Do The Math:

            The Energy Trap.

            This describes how the costs of efforts to move past fuel shortage and carbon buildup are built up by the very fact of that fuel shortage and increased greenhouse effect so that the  longer we wait, the more unaffordable the solutions become.

      •  there are different options (0+ / 0-)

        we have the technology today.

        it's expensive, but we have it.

        -You want to change the system, run for office.

        by Deep Texan on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:25:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I find it hard to believe (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo, Cassiodorus, FarWestGirl

          That we have a large enough, ready made energy source for the scale of the project.

          Do you have any links to an analysis of this machinery?  And when you say costs, it's not simply money, how much energy and where exactly will the energy come from?  And how do you construct the machines to do this?

          Personally, I think terraforming and putting back the forests we destroyed is one small hope, though that idea needs to be analyzed too.  Could that possibly bring down the CO2 levels is a short enough time frame?

          The details matter here.  You can't just say "we have it".  I don't believe that.

          Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

          by yet another liberal on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 10:17:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Expensive (0+ / 0-)

          can mean: "We can afford to do it if we scrimp, but we don't want to scrimp that much," OR

          "We can afford it if we stop paying the rent, in which case we'd be out on the street and therefore there wouldn't be any point in it any more," OR

          "We have the technology, but we can only pay for it if we give up eating and breathing in order to do so, in which case we're DEAD."

          At the moment, most of those technologies are edging from the first case and into the second.  In another decade, they'll be more like the third.

      •  Heat is actually less of a problem in the long (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozsea1

        term than ocean acidification is. And that is a byproduct of mostly atmospheric CO2 dissolving in the ocean.

        There is a great deal of energy in the ocean and atmosphere, we should probably look into redirecting a portion of that energy into carbon sequestration. If we could find a reasonable way to transform more atmospheric carbon into carbon fiber or nanotubes, for example, we could have enough to start building with it. A space elevator would be very cool, but I'm sure we could find many uses for structural carbon aside from racing cars and bicycles.

        Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
        ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

        by FarWestGirl on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 12:35:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Honored by the non-callout callout (8+ / 0-)

    but you didn't read my last comment very carefully.  Last sentence, anyone?

    And besides, those who make a habit of reading my comments know what I think of "hope."

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 07:26:44 AM PST

  •  no, we can't do it democratically. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dom Segundo, cynndara, YucatanMan, mwm341

    not an endorsement of a "green dictatorship" which isn't going to happen either.

    I just accept that by 2300 there probably won't be any more civilization as we know it and it's really our own fault. As long as there's an anti-science right that denies everything outside of their poor interpretation of their bible and an anti-science left that leans Luddite the democratic process is simply going to be stalled.

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility (not an original but rather apt)

    by terrypinder on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 07:32:32 AM PST

  •  Truly a horrible idea. (4+ / 0-)

    Communism was supposed to be forced socialism as I recall. And that worked out so well.

    The reality we are faced with is a dying world. And there are those who will deny the ship is sicking with their last breath.

    "The next time everyone will pay for it equally, and there won't be any more Chosen Nations, or any Others. Poor bastards all." ~The Boomer Bible

    by just another vet on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 07:33:09 AM PST

    •  As I argued -- (4+ / 0-)

      What happened in the "revolutions" was all-too-often that the means of remolding took over.  Lenin recognized just before his death in 1924 that his police state had duplicated the one the Czars had; Mao's idea of restructuring started from the notion that nobody was to question his authority.  It was only much later that the patrons of "actually existing socialism" recognized that this would be a problem.  The Nicaraguan regime after the 1979 revolution, for instance, was democratic.

      "You could say I've lost my belief in our politicians/ They all seem like game show hosts to me" -Sting

      by Cassiodorus on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 08:29:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  All leftys should read Disillusionment in Russia. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, just another vet

      Emma Goldman, baby. Should be required reading in school. There is a strong, and imho dangerous historical misperception on the left that no-one could have seen the horrors of Communism/Stalinism/etc coming, that there were no real alternatives for the Left, all sorts of excuses.

      Lies. Fact is, Emma and many other types of leftists at the time saw through Marx's bullshit and the deeply cold, detached inhumanity built into his theories. They saw through it when these theories were brand new. Good intentions and same enemies aside, they knew that THIS approach was gonna ultimately lead to bad, bad places. Even then, they were willing to suspend such objections in the face of the Russian Revolution, help out, and hope for the best.

      Didn't take them long to realize there was no hope w/ Lenin....it was already full-blown Animal Farm by 1920.

      Dictators are always stupid, delusional bullies. No exceptions. Lenin actually asked Emma when he could expect the Communist Revolution to sweep America. Her response was shocked disbelief at such a naive assumption.

      "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

      by TheHalfrican on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 04:37:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Dictators are always stupid, delusional bullies" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        just another vet

        Sorry, t'ain't so.  Dictators are human.  The two best known in this century, Stalin and Hitler, mostly met your criteria.  But so have many monarchs and "democratic" leaders.  Many dictators have been fairly decent human beings.  Neither Castro nor Chavez were stupid.  Napoleon was smart as a whip.  Cromwell was only occasionally delusional and not stupid either.  Even Hitler was quite clever outside of his personal delusions, and Stalin, while a brutal street thug, was canny as a fox.  Benito Mussolini was a brilliant politician.  Augustus Caesar was a snake, but no one EVER accused him of stupidity, and while ruthless, he was more a politician than a bully and not a whit delusional.  Ptolemy I Soter was intelligent, rational, witty, wise, kind, and generous.  Janos Hunyadi was one of the most astute political leaders in Europe in  his time.  Dictators are a mixed bag, just like hereditary monarchs; like monarchs, the excellent ones have the freedom to perform to a high caliber and the really rotten ones (think Commodus, Edward II, Caligula) tend to die early of an unexpected allergy to sharp pointed objects.

  •  Republished to CCSOS. If I may add... (5+ / 0-)

    ...dictatorships have historically tended to engage in very, very wasteful and inefficient projects and policies.

  •  Of course, the TransPacific Trade Agreement (10+ / 0-)

    Obama is negotiating will make countries (i.e., taxpayers) liable to corporations if actions are taken to address Climate Change that adversely affect those corporations' short-term profits...

    So we've got that going for us.

    Trust, but verify. - Reagan
    Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass
    The 3rd Way has squandered our Resistance for a pocket full of mumbles, Such are promises All lies and jests; still a kossack's about the horse race And disregards the effects...

    by Words In Action on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 08:30:46 AM PST

  •  A worldwide summit with the best minds and (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    unfangus, ybruti, FarWestGirl, melo

    freshest ideas, along with green billionaires and others with political clout, needs to convene now with as much fanfare and ballyhoo as possible. Use the media. Use the social media. Get the world's youth involved. Start a people's movement. I think it can snowball, and I think it can be the best kind of participatory democracy. I see a lot of willy-nilly running about with no organization.

    I have two minds: one says that we're past the tipping point and have to ride out the damage and "adapt" (although I grieve for the tragic coming suffering and extinctions of our animal and plant life), and the other says that there can be some hitherto unimagined faster healing of the planet that we can see now.

    I'm doing my small, admittedly modest part right now trying to restore parts of my regional environment. Helps me to feel a measure of personal power against this onslaught.  

    "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

    by Wildthumb on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 08:42:12 AM PST

  •  It took about 4 comments for this discussion (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus, petral, mwm341

    to lapse into irrelevance. Thanks anyway for the diary.

    The power of the Occupy movement is that it ....realizes a fundamental truth about American politics… there is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs.

    by orson on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:19:01 AM PST

  •  Well put. (7+ / 0-)

    Not down with a dictatorship no matter the stripe. Nor a violent revolution that would (probably) be necessary to bring one about.

    I am down with supporting things that work to alleviate climate change.

    Listening to Eric Toensmeier talk about agroforestry's potential to sequester about 70% of the necessary carbon to bring about a reduction to 350ppm... something like an area 2x the size of India is possible for different types of agroforestry systems.

    Then of course come the grassland systems and the potential carbon we could sequester that also accounts of staggering numbers.

    From changing our land management practices alone, it is clear that we are able to sequester carbon very fast. And the practices solve more than just the carbon problem.

    The hard part is bringing about the change in the first place, with an economic system that does not value ecosystem function with monetary renumeration.

    From the speed of uptake of many of these techniques (many spreading by word of mouth, such as Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration [FMNR]), it also becomes clear that a dictatorship is not necessary. What is necessary is for these ideas to be aired in the public.

    It can happen democratically.
    Absolutely.
  •  Nope. (0+ / 0-)

    It can't. It won't. Not democratically. We're fucked, or science will have to pull out a miracle.

  •  Agree on dictators (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sir Roderick

    Disagree on post-capitalism.

    Wanting to remold society according to one's wishes is nice, pleasant wishful thinking.
    I think that anticipating voluntary de-industrialization, which is what it seems you do, is no less wishful thinking than dreaming of a green dictator.

    Radical changes in technology are coming - http://www.youtube.com/... These changes do not require changing human nature or accepting a dictator.

    Science and engineering offer us the best hope for a low or no emission civilization. I have pointed this out several times; you have refused to address the possibility that technology can have any beneficial impact on the problems you describe.

  •  well, we already have a opposite of green (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YucatanMan

    dictatorship.  Are you extrapolating that because that is not working, a green dictatorship will not work?  I think the point is that there is too much Mememe have to have what I want no matter it means to the physical destruction of the planet we are a part of so what if we are subject to its laws of physics and we are going to take everyone and everything with us down to sickness and death and annihilation.

    Sorry, but if stopping that SEEMS like a dictatorship, then OFF WITH THEIR HEADS, and effing save the planet, and quit parsing while we all suffocate under the load of freedom to do whatever crap.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5a6uA76vYDM

    by Portia Elm on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 01:01:16 PM PST

  •  Reminds me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus

    A few years ago, Tom Friedman wrote an op-ed saying that he wished that we could be "China for a day" to enact climate regulations w/o having to deal with the democratic process. I was unnerved by that because no single person should be trusted with full power because, as we all know, people are very corruptible.

  •  Not even the Chinese (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Anne Elk, OrganicChemist

    could break the fossil fuel addiction -- what does that say about authoritarian solutions to global warming?

    "You could say I've lost my belief in our politicians/ They all seem like game show hosts to me" -Sting

    by Cassiodorus on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 01:40:40 PM PST

  •  fracking/insane.. (0+ / 0-)

    it tebble, it hobble; honey lu been shot. - harvey kurtzman

    by renzo capetti on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 02:43:59 PM PST

  •  The man is a genius, I tell you. A genius. (0+ / 0-)
    Wanting to remold society according to one's wishes is nice, pleasant wishful thinking.  In reality, the means of remolding would take over if we could somehow amass the power to realize eco-fantasies of global transformation through dictatorship, and bring us the same crazy world we thought we were trying to transcend.  If we are to change the world to survive global warming, we must have the patience, humility, and expertise of star teachers, and cultivate learning experiences in which the people find out how to direct their own, collective fates.  It can happen democratically.

    Self awareness is one of God's greatest gifts. Don't waste it.

    by SpamNunn on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 02:52:05 PM PST

  •  6 Degrees should be mandatory high school reading (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus

    Nothing else to say.

  •  Dictatorship is why we're in this mess. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus

    Capitalism is inherently a means of concentrating the world's wealth & natural resources in the hands of the 1% at everyone else's expense.

    Global corporate fascism is the 1%ers' means to make sure this keeps happening for the forsee-able future, just as the catastrophic & worldwide consequences of their greed become to big & obvious to ignore.

    We damn well need some economic democracy before it's too late.

  •  Thankyou (0+ / 0-)

    Posted Mr. Robert's TED talk to my Facebook - I think it's a great addenda to the best video on how to reason the decision thru : "What's the Worst that can Happen"

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