Environmentalism and Psychology: A Marriage Made in Hell

October 7, 2011 07:14

Liberal socialists love the environmentalist movement because they see it as an attack on capitalism, profit and private property—things from which they personally benefit, but inexplicably and irrationally detest.

by Michael J. Hurd, Ph.D.

People who disagree with my political perspective sometimes tell me, “You shouldn’t comment on social or political matters. That’s not appropriate for a mental health professional.” The people who say this are always liberals, and never non-liberals, i.e. never libertarians, Objectivists, conservatives or anything like that. (Proving my point, once again, that most liberals simply cannot stand dissension.) You can better believe these same people never question or criticize the comments and official positions of organizations like “Psychologists for Social Responsibility.”

Surprise, surprise: This organization has come out for legislation to limit or eliminate the activities of industrialized civilization for the sake of “the environment.”

Since most mental health professionals are politically irrational to begin with, it’s interesting to take a few moments to critically analyze their particular approach to the subject. These mental health professionals call for the usual things all environmentalists demand: Cuts in carbon dioxide emissions, increased arbitrary authority by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to selectively stop any activity it deems improper, elimination of coal and nuclear production, and increased taxes to pour confiscated capital into a “green economy” to produce technologies that are presently not profitable because they don’t work and people don’t want them.

The great majority of psychologists, psychotherapists and the like, whether or not they’re concerned with “social responsibility,” are not experts on meteorology, geology or science. But, in a way, that makes sense, because environmentalism is not based on science either. It’s based on politics.

Al Gore, the self-proclaimed guru of the whole climate change movement, is a retired career politician who now makes millions in profits over fear stoked up about the environment, and who, by all reports, lives a lifestyle more lavishly dependent on carbon emissions than most could ever hope for.

This group of environmentalist psychologists rationalizes its recommendations as follows: “The psychological responses to those effects can also be devastating. Many Americans are already anxious about what climate change portends. The greater risk is that millions of people will develop severe and persistent anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, aggression, and other troubled behavior if the U.S. does not quickly lead the way to dramatically reduce carbon emissions.”

One wonders: What will the emotional state of Americans become when air conditioning and heat become too expensive? When the food supply is threatened as business tries to keep up with impossible government-mandated standards for carbon emissions? When flying on airplanes becomes too expensive to make vacations possible, and when driving becomes a luxury that fewer people enjoy at all?

Outlawing or restricting carbon emissions is like outlawing breathing. Life as we know it will seriously deteriorate and perhaps even end for the more economically vulnerable.

Liberal socialists love the environmentalist movement because they see it as an attack on capitalism, profit and private property—things from which they personally benefit, but inexplicably and irrationally detest.

Conservatives who oppose the Obama Administration’s “cap and trade” legislation (an effort to tax all of business for the “privilege” of using carbon-based energy), do so on economic grounds. They argue, for instance, that the tax will bankrupt what’s left of American business and capitalism and risk turning America into a third-world country.

They are right, of course, but most people do not yet grasp what that would really mean. Life as we know it would be over. Some of us would starve or die from the reversal of modern civilization.

Imagine going back in a time machine to the 1950s; or the 1920s; or the 1800s. Is that what people want? I don’t think so, but that’s the kind of thing that the environmentalist legislation will lead to if it’s ever enacted.

In fact, it’s already being enacted through executive fiat in the EPA, exactly as Obama promised if Americans dared to vote out the Democratic Congress in 2010, as they did in huge numbers.

Even if “cap and trade” allows some carbon-based activity, it only allows it for the politically approved and connected. This means that the only businesses and enterprises that survive will be ones that are run the way government would run them. Now what kind of world do you think that will be? Ask anyone who lived under Communism, or anyone today who lives under fascism.

How good is all this for stress?

Will the prospect of ending life as we know it tend to alleviate problems such as depression and anxiety? Or will the terrible suffering engendered by environmentalist policies make these diagnoses irrelevant, because mental distress will be the least of the problem for those who are still managing to survive in far less comfort than before?

The psychologists’ “Letter to Congress” goes on to say: “Without such action, the impact of heat waves, extreme storms and floods, droughts and water shortages, food production problems, lessened air quality, sea level rise, and displacement from homes and communities is likely to pose significant mental-health challenges to millions of Americans and billions of others worldwide. The resulting stress and increase in mental illness would, in turn, be likely to harm interpersonal relationships, make people less able to work constructively or do well in school, and ultimately injure the day-to-day functioning of our society and our economy.”

Now wait a minute. The environmentalists claim that droughts, water shortages and other disasters will occur even though their claims depend on the prediction of weather that is
months, years, decades and even centuries into the future. It’s a well-known fact that meteorology, for all its advances in recent years, still cannot give us a precise weather forecast a week in advance. So how can we be so sure what the weather and temperature
will be in coming decades and centuries?

According to data on the last ten years or more, temperature is dropping. Furthermore, ten or even fifty years are almost nothing in the life of earth and the study of climate change.

Science and common sense tell us that you cannot forecast global climate change based on a few years at a time. Climate change occurs over centuries and even millennia.

Environmentalists are shrieking that the sky is falling, and if we don’t pass Obama’s legislation before the end of 2011, life will be over in another year or two (or maybe five). Yet we read reports that scientists who identify factual data undermining the theory of climate change and global warming are having their data banned or deleted.

No surprise there.

Basically, we’re being told that we must trade-off possible disaster for certain disaster. In other words, because temperature might rise over coming decades and centuries (with just as much, or more, evidence pouring in to suggest it won’t), we must shut down industrial/technological civilization as we know it. In order to prevent suffering and harm (that isn’t necessarily even coming) we must impose suffering and harm on millions of people who currently inhabit the planet and are accustomed to a certain quality of life based on carbon emissions.

All in the name of … mental health?!?

Trust me: Psychology has done enough damage to the human cause with its theories of Freudianism, behaviorism, subjectivism, group dynamics and now biological determinism.

Add to all that the toxicity, irrationality and deceit of environmentalism, and it’s almost too much to bear.

Dr. Hurd has a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Psychology, Saybrook Institute, San Francisco, CA, November 1991. Degree awarded With Distinction. Master’s of Social Work (M.S.W.), Clinical, The University of Maryland at Baltimore, May 1988. Bachelor’s of Arts (B.A.), Psychology, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, May 1985. Distinguished Psychology Student Award, Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude. Dr. Hurd blogs at DrHurd.com

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