FAZ Commentary Warns Of “Growing Impatience” Among Democracy-Hostile Scientists “Intoxicated by Knowledge”

Increasingly alarmist climate scientists, media members and politicians are openly challenging democracy, saying the people-represented system needs to be done away if there is to be any hope of averting major climate damage.

Nico Stehr at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung here describes the growing dissatisfaction not only among the Tea Party or the UKIP, but also among climate scientists and others. He writes:

Among climate scientists, climate policy-makers and the media one detects a growing impatience with the virtues of democracy when it comes to the robust findings on global warming.”

Stehr, who believes the planet is indeed headed for a climate catastrophe, writes that the lack of political action on the climate issues is increasingly being blamed on the ineffectiveness of democracy. For a growing number in the media, politics and science, democracies are no longer able to meet the climate challenges the world allegedly faces.

These democracy-hostile critics warn that should we continue on as usual, we will quickly run into a catastrophe that will even “put the survival of man at risk“. The underlying message is that democracy needs to be suspended if we are to save ourselves.

Stehr cites David Shearman and Joseph Wayne Smith in their book “The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy“. Who write:

We need an authoritarian form of government that can implement the consensus of the science on greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Enemies of freedom”

Other names Stehr cites are James Hansen and Hans-Joachin Schellnhuber, But Stehr is wary of the approach and cites philosopher Friedrich Hayek who warned of the danger of becoming intoxicated by the belief that knowledge can allow the control of human activity, a trap academics often fall into. Hayek was not surprised that: “People who become intoxicated by the progress of knowledge, often become the enemies of freedom.”

For Stehr, it is no surprise today that in Paris “doubts over the functionality of democracyare going hand-in-hand with the further escalation of apocalyptic consequences of climate change for humans.” Stehr finds it ironic that it has come down to:

Democracy can be rescued only by getting rid of democracy.”

Steyr writes that one major problem that the critics of democracy have is their deficit in understanding the role of science in society.

Under the climate catastrophe scenarios and solutions put out by alarmist climate scientists, there is no alternative to an authoritarian approach. If a slow moving democracy gets replaced by an authoritarian regime capable of implementing the “needed” measures, then naturally course will find itself under an autocracy. And should democracy indeed take the actions necessary to curb the alleged problem, then here too it will find itself under an autocracy. Ultimately the choice is between a consensual autocracy or a non consensual one. With alarmist climate science view, submission is the only option.

More democracy, not less, is the solution

Stehr ends of his commentary by stating he believes the solution is not to restrict democracy, but rather to expand it and “the global opportunity to have an impact, and to extend and multiply knowledge from individuals, groups and movements that deal with environmental problems.”

31 responses to “FAZ Commentary Warns Of “Growing Impatience” Among Democracy-Hostile Scientists “Intoxicated by Knowledge””

  1. Andy Pattullo

    Apparently the lessons of history are being forgotten as usual. Were the nations of the former Soviet Union a pristine environmental paradise after decades of Soviet rule? Is China the paragon of environmental stewardship we wish to emulate? Are the many despotic and undemocratic small African nations now reaping the rewards of responsible environmentalism?

    1. DirkH

      The lessons of history are remembered exactly: Propaganda 101, as invented by Edward Bernays and described in his 1928 book Propaganda.

      I see the Warmunist Apocalypse as just another fear hoax (like nuclear war, nuclear winter, Waldsterben, swine flu, bird flu, Ebola, Aids, and lately, we’re all gonna die from meat, egg, milks); drive the populus into panic so they rally behind a strong (cult) leader who promises to save them in exchange for their freedom.

      The lickspittles at the media are only too eager to fan the panic, hoping to sell more of their lies. A propos media – Der SPIEGEL is a bit blue in the face ( http://www.welt.de/wirtschaft/article149511803/Warum-der-Spiegel-erstmals-Stellen-streichen-muss.html ), will fire a fifth of employees til 2018 (but, that’s only the first draft – beatings will continue until morale improves.)

  2. RoyFOMR

    “People who become intoxicated by the progress of knowledge, often become the enemies of freedom.”

    Knowledge is knowing that tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    1. GP Alexander

      Your description of the tomato: Pure Gold!

  3. Curious George

    Knowledge is undoubtedly toxic – if you just know how things are, any suggestion to the contrary is hostile.

  4. GP Alexander

    It is all falling into place as intended. Just read Zbigniew Brzezinski’s book, “Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era”

    The folks at COP21 really want a planet run on the principles of Scientism (with themselves as rulers) rather than by democracy.

  5. John F. Hultquist

    “… democracy needs to be suspended …”

    Translation: Hung by the neck until dead.

  6. K. Naranek

    President Dwight Eisenhower foresaw the potential for something like this and its dangers in his January 17, 1961 Farewell Address:
    “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

    Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

  7. sarastro92

    Climate science is so different from other controversies in science. For example, there is quite a bit of disagreement about the efficacy of mammography and of prostate screenings. Few people question the main proponents pro and con. We still sort of trust the medical people in the discussion aren’t on the take from vested interests.

    Climate science enjoys no such privilege. The misdeeds and academic malpractice are too glaring to be hidden. The actors themselves are seen as corrupt, unlikable and untrustworthy. Climategate exposed how vile these people are, and then the exoneration by their academic pals made things even worse.

    And lastly people are especially riled when the proponents only offer pain and penury as a payoff to decarbonize the economy. People do react to genuine emergencies in extraordinary ways. But when they sniff a con played out by bad-faith actors, they want no part and will resist.

  8. NoFreeWind

    Yes but, the problem with the pollution in China is their communism leads to corruptions which leads to pollution.

  9. Timo


    It is Nico Stehr and not Steyr. You can delete this comment if you want.

  10. Harry Dale Huffman

    All sides of the debate keep using that word “knowledge”. I do not think the word means what they think it does, because they apply it to false assumptions and empty speculations too long masqueraded as knowledge. Scientists have been increasingly miseducated with false scientific dogmas for over 150 years. See my comment on that Friedrich Hayek quote at bishop hill.

  11. sod

    [-snip: other readers have pointed out that you are almost always off topic. This blog is not a vehicle for you to misuse to vent off on other issues. In the future you will have to stay on topic if you wish to have your comments appear. – PG]

    1. sod

      Pierre i did actually not post on topic, because sometimes i got the impression that you do not want me to point out that an article is bad.

      But i can do that of course.

      Stehr writes:

      “Auch die Wissenschaft erlebt heute einen Meinungsumschwung”, claiming that there is a change TODAY. But his sources are just plain out horrible.

      „The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy“ is a book written nearly 10 years ago.


      And so is „The Vanishing Face of Gaia“:


      What Eric Hobsbawm said to the topic, i can t say, but he is also dead since 2012, so it is unclear what he thinks about TODAY.


      I also have some doubts about your characterisation of Stehr:

      “Stehr, who believes the planet is indeed headed for a climate catastrophe,”

      Stehr is working closely with Hans from Storch who does not believe in catastrophic climate change (either a lukewarmer or even a sceptic)

      he is a author of the Hartwell paper, which is seen by many in climate science and politics as a tool to delay action against climate change. (notice that “access to electricty for all” is the first point in the summary of that paper, a position that is often taken by people posting on this blog, hardly by climate alarmists!)


      That leaves a comment by Hnasen:

      “Der amerikanische Klimaforscher James Hansen fügt ebenso ernüchtert wie ungenau hinzu, dass beim Klimawandel der demokratische Prozess nicht funktioniere. ”

      But that is obviously not a call for a change away from democracy but simply an analysis of the situation. In war and terror, democratic processes also do not work very well. Hardly a reason to get rid of democracy.

      So here is my on topic challenge: Who can provide links and citations of climate scientists demanding to abandon democracy TODAY.

      1. DirkH

        “But that is obviously not a call for a change away from democracy but simply an analysis of the situation. ”

        Yeah right. The UN cronies (and their fellow travelers at CFR, Chatham House, Bilderbergers etc.) would *NEVER* demand a world government.

        If you ignore all documented history since the founding of the Fabians.

      2. Manicbeancounter

        SOD 4,

        Unless you can show that political and ideological views are something that people hold as long as teenagers think the latest pop groups are “the best thing evver”, then views held 10 or 20 years can still be held now.

        A more recent example is from a Tyndall Institute event held at the Royal Society in December 2013. Institute Prof. Kevin Anderson still holds these views – see his profile.

        Kevin’s research demonstrates how avoiding even a 4C rise demands a radical reframing of both the climate change agenda and the economic characterisation of contemporary society.

        Not recent enough for you? Try If Democracy Can’t Respond to Climate Change, Should We Abandon Democracy? by Daphne Mueller, published in Sept-2015.

        1. sod

          ” views held 10 or 20 years can still be held now. ”

          Yes, they can. But the article gives the impression, that more and more people are thinking that democracy should be abandoned to help against climate change TODAY.

          But some obscure citations from unknown scientists writing 10 years ago do not support that claim.

          In total contrast, the climate conference is one of the most democratic processes EVER, with 200 countries being able to give their opinion and shape the contract. I do not know any other such example!

          “radical reframing of both the climate change agenda and the economic characterisation of contemporary society.”

          I do not see him asking for an end to democracy. Please offer a citation!

          Daphne Muller is not a scientists, but a journalist. Her point still seems to be a different one: Is it democracy, if politics does damage to the people? A legitimate question to ask, methinks. In short, climate policy seems to be driven more by industrial interest, than by the will of the people. But again, she does not support the main claim made by Nico Stehr.

  12. John A

    We could perhaps have used such an arrangement back in the 1970s, when proposed solutions to Global Climate Change included such things as spreading soot over the poles to warm them and iron filings over the oceans to encourage plankton increases to feed fish and whales…

  13. DirkH

    “Intoxicated by knowledge” hmm… KNOWLEDGE? These climate “scientists” show over and over and over again that they don’t know the first thing about modelling (and don’t WANT to know). Knowledge? Surely not scientific knowledge…

    Look up the definitions of Racketeering and RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act).

    “A racket is a service that is fraudulently offered to solve a problem, such as for a problem that does not actually exist, that will not be put into effect, or that would not otherwise exist if the racket did not exist. Conducting a racket is racketeering.”

    Warmunism is a racket.

  14. Skeptik

    Not intoxicated by “knowledge”. Intoxicated by ideology.

  15. Rosco

    All I can say about knowledge is that any model based on the notion that claiming the Sun shines at 1/4 power all over the globe at the same time to produce a minus 18 degree C average temperature is simply ludicrous.

    I know people have been saying this is a simple model and it is for explanation only BUT they teach it in University and all over the web.

    If it doesn’t form the basis for the mathematical models why do they teach it ?

    Because we all know the Sun does not shine 24 hours a day over the vast majority of the Earth.

    Many people who call themselves sceptics strongly defend this model and concoct all sorts of ludicrous defences for it Yet they seem to fail to recognise that their basic model makes the indisputable claim that atmospheric back radiation has EQUAL heating power to the solar radiation !

    Their model indisputably claims this and that is simply absurd !

    K&T et al claim something even more absurd – that the atmospheric back radiation, with a value of 333 W/sqm, has double the heating power of the solar radiation at 161 W/sqm.

    Any person who think this type of nonsense is knowledge is deluded !

    Ignoring the real evidence that Earth’s climate is dependent on the period of rotation – the day/night cycle – as climate “science”, and many “luke warm” sceptics, claim simply denies reality.

  16. David Appell

    Dishonest: you cite 4 people, with no evidence for Hansen or Schellnhuber, and use that to dirty all climate scientists.

    Is there some reason you can’t discuss the couple of people who DO say these things, and leave the other 99.999% out of it?

    Or does being honest go against your ideology?

    1. DirkH

      “Is there some reason you can’t discuss the couple of people who DO say these things, and leave the other 99.999% out of it? ”

      David, you warmunists have always claimed that 97% of all climate scientists AGREE. And those consensus scientists have always eagerly confirmed this, hopng to be rewarded with ample grants if only they obediently toe the party line and never speak up.

      So we treat those 97% of climate scientists ALL THE SAME. Sleep with dogs, wake up with fleas. You are a warmunist movement, and there’s a reason it’s called warmunism.

      It is just a reincarnation of the old Malthusian/Fabian/Technocrat world central planning agenda. You know that, we know that. You, and also the Pan-Europeans, always hated democratic nation state governments.

      Stop denying it, it’s ridiculous.

  17. l.

    Nothing new, a hundred years ago Fascism and Socialism were said to be unavoidable, and that only central planning could work in an increasingly complex world and economy.
    It’s just good old Fascism all over again.

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