Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Reaganomics, Bogan Xtianity and Climate

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-12-30

US environment policy statements from 30 years ago might explain much of climate policy today.

Even back in the Reagan years, at the start of the rise of the political influence of the xtian right, policies and statements of senior politicians explicitly supported the idea that environmental destruction is ordained by god and even a desirable policy outcome.

James G. Watt, Secretary for the Interior (what we would term Minister for the Environment) under Reagan, explicitly took every anti-environmental stance possible, even those thought impossible, such as wanting all undeveloped land in the US open to resource-strippers such as loggers and miners.

One statement from him is enough to explain his policies:

"I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns, whatever it is we have to manage with a skill to leave the resources needed for future generations."

This might be a bit ambiguous, but in the context of his encouragement of resource-stripping, his avowed fundy xtianity of the "rapture" type, and other things I remember reported in the early eighties along the lines of making Jesus return by cutting down the last tree, and we see what his true views were.

Together with StarWars, a system that would only work by destroying Soviet and Chinese missiles before they left their silos, it seems that wiping out every living thing on the planet was a stepping stone to the ultimate end desired by the key supporters of the political right in the US.

Since then, the same regressive xtian lobbyists have increased their power across most of the western world, they have become on average even more unsophisticated in their beliefs, but much more sophisticated in their political tactics.

Even in Australia today, both major parties are actively pandering to bogan forms of xtianity, and those bogans who might not be regular worshippers but accept statements of vocal self-styled xtians who are no better than radical imams sowing division and ignorance, merely because the speaker claims to be Christian.

Bogan xtianity finds it both too difficult to think through the reasoning, and the lifestyle changes too inconvenient, to listen to the theologically sophisticated xtians who talk of the responsibility to be "good custodians of their god’s creation".

The boganizing of xtianity is clearest when we remember the xtian cleric thankful for divine causation of fatal Victorian bushfires as retribution for humanizing of abortion law.

Such statements are a bit too blunt to be uttered by the more high-profile purveyors of the bogan (especially cashed-up-bogan) "prosperity gospel", but there is doubtless silent assent with views against rational utilitarian policy, especially long-term sustainability policies that would moderate any profligacy of materialiast pleasures.

Those who look to a different plane of existence and the ending of our world, absolving themselves of responsibilities here in the real world other than sensual pleasure, should have no say in policies for this real world.  They are not full stakeholders in the physical world, anymore than shareowners of one bank are stakeholders in another bank’s operations, except to wish disaster.

The antipathy of Australian politicians from both major parties to teaching of ethics in schools is explicit pandering to bogan xtianity, Gillard’s antipathy to gay Australians, the lack of progress on euthasia, the attitude to the near-universal scientific consensus on the facts of climate deterioration, the destructive policies of short-term GDP expansion rather than long-term sustainability and adaptation, … merely a new form of dog-whistling to the bogan xtians who form a large proportion of voters who swing between the majors, a dog-whistling more subtle than hansonist xenophobia.

Expect less lip-service to evidence-based policy, even less rational policy on the books, and almost no long-term utilitarian policy implementation, especially on climate and resource sustainability … until we see explicit changes by politicians to weaken bogan xtianity, and encourage more humane, responsible, and sophisticated worldviews.


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