We’ve seen that kind of thinking before. Authoritarianism.
Forget democracy, human freedom and free markets. These concepts, which have made today’s human prosperity and long lifespans a reality for humans, wherever and whenever they have been given the chance to work, are upsetting a small but very elitist group of individuals who view these concepts as a threat to their world view.
The English edition of Der Spiegel has a recent interview with Prof Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. In this interview Schellnhuber announced that he would unveil his “Master Plan” for transforming society – one no doubt that suits his world view. In Schellhuber’s view, human society needs to be scaled back and managed by an elite group of “wise men” who know what is best for the rest.
Schellnhuber’s contempt for today’s organisation of western soctety is illustrated by his statements. For example Der Spiegel stumps Schellnhuber with a simple question: “Why is it that your messages haven’t been all that well received until now?” Schellnhuber responds:
I’m neither a psychologist nor a sociologist. But my life experiences have shown that the love of convenience and ignorance are man’s biggest character flaws. It’s a potentially deadly mixture.”
Oh the contempt. So we are all too comfortable and ignorant. It’s time for “wiser men” to think for the rest of us. Your message, Mr Schellnhuber, has not been well received because it is anti-democratic and authoritarian. Your kind of thinking is a threat to the principles of Germany’s Constitution and so belongs under government observation.
Schellnhuber indeed has a very poor understanding of history. History teaches us a different lesson – that it is not the combination of love for convenience and ignorance that is man’s greatest flaw, rather it is the combination of towering arrogance and ignorance that is man’s greatest flaw. That is the real threat to society. Schellnhuber also denies climate history and concocts his own fraudulent version to warrant an authoritative intervention.
The belief that the planet needs to be dictated by a higher authority is what makes people like Schellnhuber so dangerous to democracy. Their impatience and frustration with democracy, and their claim to have superior knowledge, remind us of others who have led us down very dark paths back in the 20th century.
These people are convinced they are all-knowing. Der Spiegel asks: “Do you feel that the government’s abrupt change of course in relation to its energy policy is adequate?” Schellnhuber replies:
No. It can only be the beginning of a deep-seated shift. The German Advisory Council on Global Change, which I chair, will soon unveil a master plan for a transformation of society. Precisely because of Fukushima, we believe that a new basis of our coexistence is needed.”
A master plan for transforming society drafted by a climate scientist, a person who admits having no background in sociology. This plan no doubt will be asserted by authority, and not democracy. Schellnhuber and others have indicated many times that democracy is flawed and is a nuisance. It’s getting in the way of solving the “world’s crises” (like zero temperature growth over the last 15 years).
Well, here is a little history lesson for the all-knowing Herr Schellnhuber and his bunch, who are frustrated with democratic principles and individual freedom, on where this type of contempt can take us if left unchecked:
This is where people were turned into numbers. Into this pond were flushed the ashes of 4 million people. And that was not done by gas. It was done by arrogance. It was done by dogma. It was done by ignorance. When people believe they have absolute knowledge with no test in reality, this is how they behave. This is what men do when they aspire to the knowledge of gods…Every judgement in science stands on the edge of error, and is personal.”
I’ve brought up this Ascent of Man clip before, and am bringing it up again, and will continue to bring it up in the future. Watch the entire following series Ascent of Man, Knowledge or Certainty:
Ascent of Man – Knowledge or Certainty