Perhaps when the history of our times is written, ours will be called The Era of Narcissistic Catechisms. To understand why this is the case it is enough to consider the fortunes of two green movements.
On the main stage of global affairs this week we have the much touted UN climate change conference in Copenhagen. Standing with 15,000 delegates representing green activism groups and politically correct scientists the world over are international celebrity leaders like Nobel Peace Prize laureates Barack Obama, Al Gore and Desmond Tutu and their fellow celebrities and Oscar and Grammy winners Al Gore, Leonardo Dicaprio, Sting, Cate Blanchett and Daryl Hannah.
These celebrities are wholly committed to the proposition that manmade global warming is the greatest threat to mankind. They are similarly convinced that if the developed countries don't ante up $10 trillion dollars and pass them on to the less-developed countries, we will kill Planet Earth.
And we shouldn't balk at the price tag. As Deutsche Bank's climate change guru Kevin Parker told the New York Times, the cost is nothing when compared to the "cost of inaction." That cost, in his view, entails nothing less than "the extinction of the human race. Period."
Parker's alarmism would probably have a depraved ring to it in all circumstances. But when placed against the backdrop of the hacked emails from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University, it sounds like the rabid ravings of a psychopath.
Posted on the Internet two weeks ago, those emails exposed how for over a decade prominent climate scientists have apparently falsified data to advance popular belief in manmade global warming. Among the group's various tactics, they intimidated and misled journalists. They massaged data to conform to their predetermined conclusions. And they sought to block scientists whose research led them to conclude that it is impossible to determine what role if any human activity has had in determining global temperatures from publishing their findings in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Despite the fraud exposed at the heart of the global warming movement, Western celebrity leaders remain ready to tax their countries into the pre-industrial age in order to mitigate the dangers of global warming. The EU and the US are committed to taking radical action that is liable to derail the global economy by regulating and taxing their most productive sectors out of business in order to contend with a threat that may not exist.
And if the planet is in fact getting hotter, it is far from clear that the radical steps they intend to adopt will have any impact on how hot the world becomes. Even assuming that the problem is real and that the remedies on the table are sound, they will have to be universally implemented to work. And no one has the ability to ensure that will happen. After all, to take just one eminently foreseeable example, the US will not go to war with China or even seriously threaten China - which owns the US debt - to compel Beijing to lower its CO2 emissions. So no matter what happens at Copenhagen, it is clear that all the global warming activists' fervor and radical plans will do nothing to save the planet from the global warming they so fear.
And yet, in spite of the inescapable futility of their plans, these global warming activists remain willing to take steps which the Times acknowledges, "will entail profound shifts in energy production, dislocations in how and where people live, sweeping changes in agriculture and forestry and the creation of complex new markets in global warming pollution credits."
SOME 4,600 KM away from Copenhagen, another green movement took to the streets this week. In Iran tens of thousands of anti-regime protesters from the green movement for democracy again risked their lives to demand freedom.
Writing of the protests in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, Amir Taheri reported that the protesters' demands are now openly revolutionary. What started as a protest movement against a stolen presidential election on June 12 has morphed into a full-blown movement aimed at overthrowing the regime. Protesters are holding placards calling for "Death to [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei," "Freedom Now," "Iranian Republic, not Islamic Republic," and "Abandon Uranium Enrichment, Do Something about the Poor!"
Unlike global warming, there is no doubt that the specter of a nuclear-armed Iran constitutes a grave threat to international peace and security. There is also no doubt that the most effective way to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is to replace the current genocidal jihadist regime with a peaceful, liberal and democratic government.
As unlikely as it may seem, at the very moment that freedom in Iran has become most urgent requirement for the world as a whole, the Iranian people have taken to the streets to demand it and are willing to pay with their lives to achieve it.
In the face of this miraculous turn of events, the international community has nothing to say. Whereas the West's celebrity icons line up to get their pictures taken next to posters of polar bears, no one stands with the Iranian people.
As he received his Nobel Peace Prize Thursday, Obama did not protest the mullocracy's repression of its people. He did not offer to give his prize to fellow peace prize laureate Shirin Ebadi. The Iranian human rights activist's prize was confiscated by regime goons last month.
No Hollywood directors have announced plans to produce a feature film about the Iranian anti-regime protesters. No college students have marched on Washington or Brussels to demonstrate their solidarity with Iranian university students who are being arrested by the thousands and killed by the hundreds by the regime for their crime of demanding freedom.
ON THE face of it, the international community's willingness to commit economic suicide to solve a problem that is probably not that serious and may not even be a problem on the one hand, and its unwillingness to take even the most symbolic action to help others solve a problem that is both real and urgent, makes no sense.
To understand what possesses the international community - that is, the US and the EU - to act in this way it is worth considering the EU's moves regarding Israel and the Palestinians this past week.
Apropos of nothing, this week the EU felt it necessary to pass a resolution accepting the Palestinian positions on every single issue in their conflict with Israel. As far as Europe is concerned, Israel must withdraw from all of Judea, Samaria and large swathes of Jerusalem, and turn a half a million Israelis into internal refugees. Israel must open its borders with Hamas-ruled Gaza. And it must accept the legitimacy of a Hamas-Fatah government. Aside from that, Israel should agree immediately to hold negotiations with the Palestinians in which it will agree to all these positions.
The EU knows that there is an Israeli consensus that opposes these positions. It also knows that successive Israeli prime ministers have ignored that consensus. Israeli leaders handed over Gaza and the Palestinians responded by electing Hamas to lead them. They offered up Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria in 2000 and received a five year terror war. They offered up Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria again in 2008 and got the missile war from Gaza.
The Europeans know that their positions will not bring peace. If anything, their positions will bring further bloodshed by convincing the Palestinians that the Europeans have their backs. And they know it.
So what possessed them to act as they have?
The truth is that the EU resolution was not a policy statement. It was a catechism. The Europeans felt the need to declare their fealty to the dogma that says Israel is responsible for its conflict with the Arabs. They don't have any intention of resolving anything. All they wished to do was make a public declaration of faith.
Historian Bat Ye'or has dubbed this quasi-religious creed Palestinianism. Palestinianism is a convenient creed for Europe. If the source of all the radicalism and terror in the Islamic world is Israel; if the Islamic fanaticism that greets Europeans on the streets of their cities is simply a function of Israel's size and bad attitude, then there is no reason for anyone in Malmo or Amsterdam or London to consider that they might have to stop appeasing Islamists.
In a similar manner, the beauty of global warming hysteria is that it is a Western affair. No one expects non-Westerners to do anything. Africans don't have to quit hunting elephants. Arabs don't have to quit drilling oil. Only Americans and Europeans have to change their way of life. For Western narcissists who believe that the world revolves around them, global warming is a comforting creed.
Just as Palestinianism, as a quasi-religion, has its original sin - the creation of Israel - and its heretics - the neoconservative warmongers who point out the inconvenient reality of Arab intransigence and fanaticism - so climate change activists have their own pseudo-religious practices and rituals. Their original sin is industrialization. Their fiery prophets threaten them with hellfire and eternal damnation if they do not repent and change their ways. And they have their mortal foes. They are the heretics, the non-believers, the doubters who point out that over the past decade global temperatures have declined and that scientific facts are not determined by majority vote.
This returns us to the green protesters in Iran. These courageous freedom fighters have the unfortunate distinction of fighting a regime the Western narcissists would like to like. After all, the mullahs share their hatred for Israel and the West.
Much to the narcissists' dismay, the Iranian green activists are forcing them to recognize the inconvenient truth that not all bad things in the world are the product of Israeli aggression or Western imperialism or the industrial revolution. Indeed if anyone were to notice them, the Iranian democrats would provoke a crisis of faith among the Western narcissists.
So they are ignored. Western celebrity leaders and their followers say nothing as Iranian students demanding freedom are shot and killed on YouTube. They do nothing but posture as the regime builds atomic bombs and tests medium range ballistic missiles. They do nothing but preen as the regime transfers 500kg warheads and guided missiles to Hizbullah and deploys terror agents throughout Europe and Latin America.
Many have claimed that jihadists like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who seek to destroy Western civilization in the name of Islam are madmen. So what do we call Westerners who won't lift a finger against him but voluntarily embrace the destruction of their own way of life to avert what may very well be an imaginary crisis?
Perhaps this is not the Era of the Narcissistic Catechism. Perhaps this is simply the Era of Madness.