We at Cliscep have sometimes tended to become obsessed with the particular insanity of the Guardian and its Sunday counterpart the Observer. But there’s another serious British media source whose climate articles make the Graun’s coverage seem the epitome of moderation – namely the Independent – a moderate left-of-centre ex-newspaper which now exists on-line only.

August 24th they had an article by XR activist Niko Vorobyov titled “So What if Extinction Rebellion protesters are hypocrites – stop being petty and start thinking big” in which the author claims that “hypocrisy is a distraction, and a lazy way to delegitimise the movement,” and admits to having travelled round the world from Cuzco to Cape Town, and having “partaken in recreational drugs, whose environmental impact is well documented.”

You can call me a jet-setting junkie” he boasts, “Hell, I wrote a whole book about it.” And there’s a link to his book in case you haven’t already ordered your copy. Niko boasts about having contacts with “drug lords, cartel leaders, and street dealers” all over the planet. Since recreational drugs are one of the few products that can be economically transported across the world without fossil fuels – in sailing boats or in the cadaver of an unfortunate “mule” whose cocaine-filled condom sometimes unfortunately explodes in her rectum en route – Goodreads is probably right in its assessment that Niko’s book is a “brilliant and enlightening” revelation of “how drug use is at the heart of our history, our lives, and our future.” This XR spokesman boasts of how he is in contact with the kind of people who will remove your members slice by slice and post them to your family if you get in their way. Climate sceptics be warned.

A week later, September 1st, the Independent had another attractive article by another XR activist – Nuala Gathercole Lam – titled: “So What if Extinction Rebellion isn’t popular? We’re protesting to bring about change and it’s working.”

[So what is it with “So What if XR…” as a title? Is it an invitation to despise and ridicule them? If so, congratulations for a successful marketing ploy.]

..in which she compares her movement to Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights Movement and the Suffragettes and Chartists whose protests led to the establishment of universal suffrage, rather avoiding the point that they protested in order to extend people’s freedom to do something (vote) while her protests aim to stop people from doing things (drive round the M25, travel abroad, eat meat.) It’s true, as she says, that Martin Luther King was unpopular with a large section of society at the time of his protests, but revered afterwards. Possibly because he gave people something they wanted, namely votes, political power and dignity. Whereas all XR is offering is blood, tears, toil, sweat, tofu, and unaffordable heat pumps.

Then, 4th September there was an interview by Harry Cockburn with “former XR strategist Rupert Read” titled: “Beyond XR: Could government failure at COP26 fire the starting gun on a brave green future?”

Beyond XR.” I like it. Out with old fashioned chanting red-robed dervishes supergluing their bottoms to the roofs of tube trains in the rush hour. In with – what exactly?

In with a new movement launched by philosophy lecturer Rupert Read, who acknowledges that XR is “not on a growth trajectory” and “the numbers are clearly much lower than during the October 2019 rebellion.”

“We do have to notice that XR is not exponentially growing, and sometimes XR says ‘You need 3.5% of the population to be actively involved to actively succeed.’ Well, XR is orders of magnitude short of that…”

Really? “Orders of magnitude short of that” brings us down to less than 0.035%, or 350 parts per million, (which is uncannily close to the proportion of CO2 molecules in the atmosphere.) Which would be about 20,000 maximum in the British population. Apparently XR is also having its members removed slice by slice.

Rupert’s cunning scheme is to form a group to the left of the Green Party (of which he is an unsuccessful parliamentary candidate) but to the right of XR, which he hopes will be a “radical flank to the Green Party but a moderate flank to Extinction Rebellion, a little more careful than Extinction Rebellion is sometimes being, so as not to alienate people.” Rupert’s movement is called Greens CAN, for Climate Action Network.

Rupert doesn’t seem to realise that Climate Action Network already exists, claiming to be the world’s largest climate network, with a blog updated as recently as late July. (No comments.) When CAN was a solely British project (honorary president: George Monbiot) it claimed to have eight million supporters, (by totting up the 2 million membership of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, plus the National Trust, Women’s Institutes, etc.) British CAN died several years ago. Monbiot was presumably too busy wilding the woods of Wales with wolves to bother about leading his millions of followers in climate action. If Rupert thinks he can galvanise the twitchers of the RSPB and the lovely cream tea-serving ladies of the National Trust into gluing their bottoms to motorways I think he’s sorely mistaken. (And so would they be, if they tried.)

But let’s get back to the Independent and its multiple articles outlining plans to save the planet. Let’s leave aside for now the “9 best vegan cheeses for pizza, burgers, toasties and more,” the “8 best reusable straws for more sustainable sipping,” and the “8 best period pants than won’t cramp your style,” and let’s concentrate on the Science. Under the title: “If the IPCC’s climate report has you overwhelmed, it’s time to make these sustainable swaps,” the Independent recommends “choosing a toilet roll company that makes “eco-friendly rolls” in its “guide to becoming a more conscious consumer in response to the IPCC’s stark warnings.”

Did you know that an estimated 27,000 trees are cut down every day just to make toilet paper? And that that represents thousands of green jobs that could be gladdening the hearts of Boris and his Green voters, if only they were British trees? But (still according to the Independent) it takes approximately 160 litres of water to make a single roll. The Independent recommends a brand of bog roll recommended by Who Gives a Crap, at £36 for 48 rolls. But that’s nearly 8,000 litres of water and Gaia knows how many trees cut down. Can’t Independent readers control themselves and just Hold It In?

The same article goes on to recommend Nudie Jeans, Awake Organics Moon Goo Natural Deodorant, the Keepcup Thermal Reusable Stainless Steel Cup and the Anker Powersolar Three Port Solar Charger. And that’s just for their readers who have been overwhelmed by their reading of IPCC AR6 WG1. Wait to see what’s in store when they’ve read WGs 2 and 3.

But back to Nuala’s article: “So What if Extinction Rebellion isn’t Popular? The SchutzStaffel wasn’t Popular, but They Got Things Done” (or words to that effect) which begins:

How can it be that Extinction Rebellion was named the number one influencer on climate and just a few months later rated the most disliked disruptive protest group globally? Perhaps it’s less bizarre than it sounds…

This claim is backed up with a link to this document: “COP25 Key Topics and Influencers Shaping the Climate Change Debate” by Sam Jackson, Senior Insights Analyst at Onalytica.

Onalytica, as its name suggests, combines analysis and onanism in innovative ways in order to: “Improve Thought Leadership; Fast Track Perception Change; Increase Demand Generation, and Reach New Audiences.” (All worthy aims shared by us here at Cliscep.) But Nuala is mistaken in thinking that there’s something bizarre about XR’s unpopularity that requires Senior Insights Analyst Sam’s onalytical skills. The malaria-bearing Anopheles mosquito is the number one influencer of health in Africa, but widely disliked because of the 2 million deaths it provokes each year. Rupert and the prancing red-robed chanters of XR can console themselves that there’s always someone more disliked and despicable than oneself.

9 Comments

  1. Workers’ reactions to being prevented from going to work by the pony-tailed morons can never be forgotten.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Extinction Rebellion are (measurably) the cult wing of Catastrophic Climate-Change Culture (CCCC). In irreligious nations, there is huge frustration among activists that the great majority of the population is apparently unconcerned by the potential impacts of climate-change. Yet within these countries there are large numbers of people wanting ‘action on climate-change’, which supplies XR and other orgs with membership. In religious countries there is no such frustration, because just about everyone is very much concerned by the potential impacts of climate-change. And too there are very few people actually wanting ‘action on climate-change’ as gauged against other priorities; hence there is far less supply for membership of XR or other activist orgs (such as Children’s Strike for Climate). So, through both ‘push and pull’ so to speak, from both ends of the religiosity spectrum, we expect high XR activity in irreligious countries and low activity in religious countries. This is the case (in the second chart). We can see all this because strong cultures interact, and in the case of CCCC and religion, they both compete and co-operate simultaneously. It is this simultaneous aspect that causes the *apparent* paradox that concern is highest in the very countries where there is the least desire for action.

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  3. “But Nuala is mistaken in thinking that there’s something bizarre about XR’s unpopularity that requires Senior Insights Analyst Sam’s onalytical skills.”

    I think their analysis is unlikely to come to the conclusion that countries such as the UK simply aren’t worried by climate-change, yet are nevertheless relatively replete with people virtue-signalling their desire for action (per the orange trend in the first chart above). In practice, the more that ‘action’ impacts people’s lives and other priorities, the more that same orange trend both loses gradient and shrinks down the Y-axis. Even in principle putting climate-change above all other priorities, shrinks support in say the UK, to about 8% of the populace; when it comes to in practice losing petrol cars and boilers and paying money into the bargain, it’ll likely be down at 1 or 2% max. For any but the most fervently culturally convinced, who are generally tiny minorities, virtue-signalling only occurs in volume when its price is (very) low.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “For any but the most fervently culturally convinced, who are generally tiny minorities, virtue-signalling only occurs in volume when its price is (very) low.”

    …and this is why those who have to pay a price, even just being late for work never mind losing their gas boiler, pull the avid virtue-signallers off the top of railway carriages, per Joe Public’s link above.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ANDY
    I’ve just finished reading “Religion Explained; the Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought” by Pascal Boyer, who is described by Wiki as a “cognitive anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist.” I intend to write about it at length, in relation to Climate Hysteria as a religious cult, but here’s a taster, which is relevant to the XR phenomenon.

    In a section on violent religious fundamentalism (and he points out that there’s violent Hindu, Christian and Buddhist fundamentalism as well as the Islamic kind) Boyer considers and rejects the argument (usually made by opponents of the religion in question) that it’s all about the religion in question taken to an extreme conclusion, and the opposing argument (made by believers) that it’s nothing to do with the religion, but simply a power play by fanatical groups. He accepts that part of the explanation lies in the movement’s rejection of modernism and a desire for a return to a (mythical) original purity of belief, but sees the extremism directed not so much at the infidel, but at the backslider within the community in question, and not just because he isn’t living up the ideals of the belief system, but because he’s not paying the price for his backsliding.

    The fact that the modern world allows one freedom of choice without cost means that defection from the group has no negative consequences and therefore become very likely. It’s not so much about attacking the infidel enemy as about ensuring solidarity within the threatened group. (Hence the Taliban freeing American prisoners but threatening to chop the hands off their own compatriots.)

    It’s fun seeing how this applies to XR: their willingness to make enemies by inconveniencing the public, even justifying stopping ambulances from getting sick people to hospital; the “So What if..” titles to two of the articles mentioned above; the emphasis on group action with no interest in its efficacy; the lack of interest in their supposed opponents or in identifying the sources of the threat they’re supposedly fighting (e.g. Chinese emissions.)

    The very fact that they don’t care what we think of them, or whether their beliefs are based on fact, or whether their methods work, adds to their fascination, I suppose.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Geoff:
    “I intend to write about it at length, in relation to Climate Hysteria as a religious cult…”

    Great! I look forward to it!

    “He accepts that part of the explanation lies in the movement’s rejection of modernism and a desire for a return to a (mythical) original purity of belief, but sees the extremism directed not so much at the infidel, but at the backslider within the community in question, and not just because he isn’t living up the ideals of the belief system, but because he’s not paying the price for his backsliding.”

    Rejection of modernism may be an issue for older cultures (and the mainstream religions are very old), but this is just because their perception of ‘pure’ is tangled with ‘old’. All cultures have their perceived ‘pure’ behaviours (which in fact evolve although ardent adherents always claim such purity is a ‘sacred’ constant, this claim itself being one of the cultural memes). But all cultures are indeed in-group definition and reinforcement systems (hence necessarily defining an out-group too), so imo Boyer is right about part of the purpose of fundamentalist or Jesuit wings. They act as enforcers within the culture itself, bring waverers or the less convinced up to scratch by shaming or whatever other means, and by ‘self-identifying’ with the narrative in (more) extreme ways. And indeed cultures take great care to ensure paid commitment from members, in terms of emotive dues typically, which is what joining rituals are all about (some of the children’s strike gigs are clearly joining rituals). Plus cultures take a very dim view indeed (so to speak, of course they are not sentient or agential), on false joiners or backsliders that are seen not to be paying their dues to the cultural narrative. And so yes too, to the extent that related actions to shore up solidarity are highly hypocritical to the supposed purpose of the culture (although bear in mind the cultural purpose is always a lie anyhow, but less obviously so outside the fundamental wing), and oblivious to how wider society sees said (bonkers) actions. XR are very much the new enforcer wing of catastrophic climate-change culture, and the youth enforcer wing is Greta’s Children’s Strike Weekly.

    I wouldn’t go as far as to say that in the modern world there are typically no longer any consequences of backsliding or leaving a culture. Even in developed countries ‘cancellation’ of people, as it is now called, is never so harsh as when someone previously considered to be in-group, bails out or betrays a cultural narrative in some way. And there is some purpose in fundamentalist actions beyond pressure on the culture’s own waverers. Surprising though it may seem such actions also attract raw new recruits, as well as generating much horror or dismay in wider publics; exactly the kind of recruits who are most programmable as they’re likely troubled or emotively vulnerable at the time, and hence see fundamentalist acts as a cure-all for their woes.

    “It’s fun seeing how this applies to XR…”

    Yes. Or at least I’d be having lots of fun if it wasn’t so serious for our society 0:

    “The very fact that they don’t care what we think of them, or whether their beliefs are based on fact, or whether their methods work, adds to their fascination, I suppose.”

    Yes again. I do indeed find some of the more blatant expressions of cultures fascinating. The XR Red Brigade is a highly visible example, or retired middle-class citizens who know absolutely nothing about climate or policy, super-gluing themselves to trains. Or gangs of young children shouting “F@ck Theresa May” while adults applaud them. Or struggle sessions in the context of Critical Race Theory, or looking at the slides for Stonewall’s diversity program. They all have an eeriness about them; a sense of mass humanity volunteering to donate their brains to the mysterious and communal other, a sense of the stampeding herd.

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  7. Thanks for this wonderful entertainment Geoff. Made my eyes water with laughter.

    Andy: I like your “For any but the most fervently culturally convinced, who are generally tiny minorities, virtue-signalling only occurs in volume when its price is (very) low.”

    Vancouver BC has aspirations to be “the greenest city in the world” and has taken virtue signalling to a fine art. City council unanimously approved declaring a climate emergency in 2019. Staff then spent months developing proposals to reduce the city’s carbon pollution by 50 per cent by 2030, including the idea of parking permits a policy that would have put a $45 yearly fee on overnight street parking across Vancouver, along with a $500 or $1,000 fee on new high-emission vehicles that park on the street.

    Most of the public feedback was so negative that the Mayor (who, by the way, was once arrested for his actions opposing the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion) chickened out and voted against the proposal. Simple reason – elections next year!

    So the price of this virtue signalling was too great for most citizens and too high a cost for the career of the “green” mayor of Vancouver who might have lost his job next election.

    https://subscriptions.cbc.ca/newsletter_static/messages/metromatters/2021-10-08/

    Liked by 2 people

  8. We can laugh at XR now, but history would suggest that as they get less popular they get more extreme. That way, often enough, leads to terrorism and the like.

    The sort of people who formed the (Baader-Meinhoff) RAF and the Red Brigades of Italy are exactly the sort who populate XR. Since they allegedly love humanity but actively hate most people, like most Marxists, the step to “saving” the planet by blowing up people is a short one to take.

    The only saving grace is that most of them are wildly impractical people, so their efforts are likely to be not very effective.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Interesting point CD. The problem with history is that it ‘would suggest’ all kinds of things, depending on the reader. At a wedding reception celebrating my niece’s big day on Saturday I sat next to a woman who has run charitable work in Cambodia for over 20 years and is currently back in the UK due to family reasons – though still running a team of around fifty. She says that in her view almost all Cambodians over 45 have PTSD because of what they suffered and witnessed in the 70s. And if it came to it climate extremism feels to me more like the Pol Pot variety than the Hitler one. There is the demonisation of the enemy, and the normal epithets, after all, but not on racial lines.

    BUT … I’m not saying history suggests it’s going to get that bad. Just that we should take care, as you no doubt feel too.

    Like

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