When George W. Bush declared a “War on Terror” in the wake of 9/11, right-wing parties in every Western nation immediately won a great victory. Ever since then, they have been able to appeal to the need to fight this war on terror in order to get votes. This has given them a big advantage over the left-wing parties, but now the left wing has its own equivalent of the War on Terror: climate change.
George W. Bush and his Republican Party knew full well that there would never be an end to terror, because there will never be an end to the human nature that impels sexually frustrated young men towards political violence. The Middle East will always be violent, because it’s in their nature to be, and even if they weren’t someone else would be.
Somewhere in the world, there will always be violence and terror, and this means that the War on Terror is an endless war. It is a battle that can never be won. No matter the circumstances, right-wing parties will always be able to use the violence somewhere in the world to justify increasing military spending and cracking down on civil liberties.
This has given them a permanent advantage over the left wing – until now.
If there’s one thing that can be said for certain about Nature it is that she is ever-changing. And she always will be – for over four billion years, Nature has thrown up an ever-shifting set of environmental conditions and admonished her children to adapt or die. There is absolutely nothing we can do about this, because Nature is infinitely stronger than even our collective will.
At any given time, somewhere in the world, there will be people suffering due to the whims of Nature. Somewhere in the world there will be droughts, somewhere else there will be floods, and in other places there will be storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, typhoons and tsunamis.
What the left wing has recently caught on to is the fact that, insofar as we have a moral obligation to fight climate change, this obligation will never and can never be discharged.
If the political class is at all capable of persuading the people they rule to submit to further taxation in the belief that the money will be used to “fight climate change”, they will be able to do so in perpetuity, because the climate will always change.
Because it’s a law of Nature that the climate will always change, no matter what humans do or don’t do, the left wing will always be able to use climate change as a justification for increasing government reach and cracking down on civil liberties. In this regard, the left wing has a weapon that matches the power of the right wing’s War or Terror. Any time anything bad naturally happens as a result of freak weather events, the left wing will be able to use it as an excuse to turn the screws.
This is how we have ended up with politicians like Jacinda Ardern saying that climate change is the “nuclear free moment” of our generation. The Labour Party knows that it can thump the drum of climate change forever, and therefore there is greater scope for long-term gathering of political capital if they prioritise this issue rather than issues like cannabis law reform (which will be soon be solved and moved on from).
Ten years, twenty years, fifty years from now, the left wing will still be prattling on about climate change.