AGW Climate Change Culture Global Warming History Omniclimate Policy Politics

Hammer, Sickle, And Geoengineering

(many thanks to FM for inspiring this)

Good old Karl Marx had a saying in lots of things, and of course it is possible to find some reference about climate change too. Interestingly, it’s not necessarily what one would expect.

This is an extract from a 1868 letter to Engels:

Very interesting is the book by Fraas (1847): Klima und Pflanzenwelt in der Zeit, eine Geschichte beider, namely as proving that climate and flora change in historical times. He is a Darwinist before Darwin, and admits even the species developing in historical times. But he is at the same time agronomist. He claims that with cultivation — depending on its degree — the ‘moisture’ so beloved by the peasants gets lost (hence also the plants migrate from south to north), and finally steppe formation occurs. The first effect of cultivation is useful, but finally devastating through deforestation, etc. This man is both a thoroughly learned philologist (he has written books in Greek) and a chemist, agronomist, etc. The conclusion is that cultivation — when it proceeds in natural growth and is not consciously controlled (as a bourgeois he naturally does not reach this point) — leaves deserts behind it, Persia, Mesopotamia, etc., Greece. So once again an unconscious socialist tendency!

What does it all mean? One could start by guessing that the reported “conclusion” (explicitly defined as beyond Fraas‘ own grasp) is that “cultivation“, like all human activities, must be “consciously controlled“. Otherwise, desertification (or any other form of disaster) will befall us. Cue State-controlled economy moving into Stalinism, or nowadays a multi-trillion-dollar global programme of action to change everybody’s way of living. All manifestations of the double hell on earth that science-led policy can be.

But let’s dig a bit deeper. The letter is mentioned in a review article of 2000, “Marx and the Metabolism between Humanity and Nature” by Peter Dickens, Journal of Critical Realism, Alethia 3.2 2000 pp 40-45:

[…] the key point here again is that Marx was trying to develop Darwin’s way of thinking. He was once more insisting that, as human beings work on nature to produce the things they need, they change themselves culturally as well as physically. […]

[…] Marx’s adoption of both Tremaux and Fraas in his attempt to upgrade Darwin can now be seen as problematic in a number of ways. More positively, however, it can be seen as a precursor to those current versions of Darwinism and evolutionary thought which emphasise not only the organism but its reciprocal interactions with its environment (Lewontin 1982, Dickens 2000). People finish up making themselves in making their environment. Similarly, the environment is indeed actively made and is not, as Malthus argued, an eternally fixed and morality-enhancing quantity. […]

In other words, a population changes its environment changes a population. This is obviously completely opposite to conservation-fixated contemporary environmentalism. Alas, that’s not what surfaced when Engels moved in on the topic:

[…] Main evidence that civilisation is an antagonistic process which in its hitherto existing form exhausts the land, turns forest into desert, makes the earth unfruitful for its original products and worsens the climate. Steppe lands and increased warmth and dryness of the climate are the consequences of culture. In Germany and Italy it is 5-6°C warmer than at the time of the forests […]

Where is this coming from then? Once again, the underlying mantra appears to be the belief that human reason would eventually come up with enough an understanding of the world as to be able to master it one way or another. Engels again:

at every step we are reminded that we by no means rule over nature like a conqueror over a foreign people, like someone standing outside nature – but that we, with flesh, blood and brain, belong to nature, and exist in its midst, and that all our mastery of it consists in the fact that we have the advantage over all other creatures of being able to learn its laws and apply them correctly

Hammer, sickle, and geoengineering indeed.

Economia Etica Italiano Politica

Marx e Nietzsche sui Comunisti Invidiosi

(a completamento del mio precedent blog: “Socialisti? Comunisti? Invidiosi!“)

(mille grazie ai mie amici M ed E per queste segnalazioni)

Sul tema dell’invidia come la base del socialismo e del comunismo come vengono intesi adesso (e anche: come sono stati implementati nei “Paesi Socialisti”, e nella forma che ricorre oggi sotto la forma dell'”ecologismo verde-rosso”), cominciamo da Karl Marx, che riguardo alle proposte egualitariste come quelle di Babeuf, rispondeva (nei “Manoscritti Economico-Filosofici del 1844“):

Il comunismo rozzo non è che il compimento di questa invidia e di questo livellamento partendo dalla rappresentazione minima. Esso ha una misura determinata e limitata. Proprio la negazione astratta dell’intero mondo della cultura e della civiltà, il ritorno alla semplicità innaturale dell’uomo povero e senza bisogno, che non solo non è andato oltre la proprietà privata ma non vi è neppure ancora arrivato, dimostrano quanto poco questa soppressione della proprietà privata sia un’appropriazione reale

Ecco invece Friedrich Nietzsche nell’Anti-cristo (#57):

Chi detesto di piu’ fra gli agitatori di oggi? Gli agitatori socialisti, gli apostoli del Chandala [da un nome per gli “intoccabili” dell’India], che minano l’istinto, il piacere, il senso di soddisfazione del lavoratore con la sua piccola esistenza-che lo rendono invidioso, che gli insegnano la vendetta. La fonte del torto non è mai diritti disuguali ma la richiesta di diritti ‘uguali’“.

Nietzsche si occupa del socialismo anche negli aforismi 446 e 473 del libro “Umano, troppo umano”.

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Marx and Nietzsche on Socialism and Envy

Follow-up to my earlier blog: “Research Shows Socialism Is About Envy“:

(many thanks to my friends M and E for this)

First a quote from Karl Marx himself. I found it in extended length at the blog called “The Sentinel“:

Marx, in his much neglected Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts warned against […] what he termed “crude communism”. Crude communism “appears in a double form; the domination of material property looms so large that it aims to destroy everything which is incapable of being possessed by everyone as private property. It wishes to eliminate talent, etc., by force . . . The role of worker is not abolished but extended to all men. The relation of private property remains the relation of the community to the world of things . . . This communism, which negates the personality of man in every sphere is . . . Universal envy setting itself up as a power, is only camouflaged form of cupidity which re-establishes itself and satisfies itself in a different way. The thoughts of every individual private property are at least directed against any wealthier private property, in the form of envy and the desire to reduce everything to a common level; so that this envy and levelling in fact constitute the essence of competition. Crude communism is only the culmination of such envy and levelling-down on the basis of a preconceived minimum. How little this abolishing of private property represents a genuine appropriation is shown by the abstract negation of the whole world of culture and civilisation, and the regression to the unnatural simplicity of the poor and wantless individual who has not only not surpassed private property but has not even attained to it. The community is only a community of work and of equality of wages paid out by the communal capital, by the community as universal capitalists. The two sides of the relation are raised to a supposed universality; labour as a condition in which everyone is placed, and capital as the acknowledged universality and power of the community.

Marx was likely talking about Babeuf, but the idea of flattening everybody down to the lowest common poverty has come back into fashion (usually dressed up as “antiglobalization” or “environmentalism”).


And now unto Friedrich Nietzsche, in The Anti-Christ (section #57):

Whom do I hate most among the rabble of today? The socialist rabble, the chandala apostles, who undermine the instinct, the pleasure, the worker’s sense of satisfaction with his small existence–who make him envious, who teach him revenge. The source of wrong is never unequal rights but the claim of “equal” rights.

Nietzsche was of course talking about Christians too, but that I’ll leave to another blog…