Climatism and Virtual Virtues

Following an alert posted by Lubos Motl, I upgraded my windows operating system from #7 to #10, since the grace period is ending August 1. And it went quite smoothly in retrospect, but with much anxiety in the process. It seems that Windows Defender latest version doesn’t play as nice with other anti-malware programs. Also some head-scratching as to the usage of cpu by strangely named programs that may or may not be malware. And there are the inevitable hiccups and tweaks needed to restore operations as before.

It occurred to me in this process that the internet and the associated tools have become for us a kind of utility, like electricity. When we flip the light switch, the room should light up. And when we boot up our home computers, we expect to be on line and wired in. Any upgrade introduces uncertainty into that dependency, and is uncomfortable.

It also reflects on how much we modern urban dwellers exist within a cocoon of man-made structures, both physical and cyberspace. Extrapolating from our daily experience, it is a small step to thinking that the larger environment beyond our cocoons, if not entirely man-made, is at least hugely subject to human influence. And from that premise comes the climatism faith: the belief that mother Nature is being ruined by humans burning fossil fuels, that the planet will burn up, glaciers will melt, cities and islands will submerge, etc. etc. etc.

For centuries those who farm or otherwise make a living from the land or ocean have accepted and adapted to the uncertainties of weather and variable harvests. They are among the most skeptical concerning man-made climate change.

But the majority of university educated urban dwellers are converts to climatism, and participate more or less in a range of Virtual Virtues; i.e. Supporting abstract causes to protect Nature from humans. Some examples:
Save the Arctic: Support Greenpeace.:
Stop Rising CO2: Support
Save Animals from extinction: Support WWF.

These and other variations of “fighting Climate Change” give the illusion of “making a difference”, and thus feeling good about doing good. It is truly not about Science any more, it is about being Virtually Virtuous.

Footnote: In his lifetime, Marshall McLuhan foresaw the rise of the Global Village along with the return of tribalism, pre-conditions for the present obsession with climatism. Quotations:

“All media are extensions of some human faculty-psychic or physical.”

“The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village.”

“The world is now like a continually sounding tribal drum, where everybody gets the message…. all the time.”

“Our technology forces us to live mythically.”

“Politics will eventually be replaced by imagery.  The politician will be only too happy to abdicate in favor of his image, because the image will be much more powerful than he could ever be.”

“The more you create village conditions, the more discontinuity and division and diversity. The global village absolutely insures maximal disagreement on all points. It never occurred to me that uniformity and tranquility were the properties of the global village. It has more spite and envy. The spaces and times are pulled out from between people. A world in which people encounter each other in depth all the time. The tribal-global village is far more divisive — full of fighting — than any nationalism ever was. Village is fission, not fusion, in depth all the time.” (McLuhan “The Hot and Cool Interview” 57–58)

That full interview is the best summary of McLuhan’s views and is here.

Climate Lemmings (h/t Beth)



  1. Richard Mallett · July 24, 2016

    What was the motivation for installing Windows 10 when, for the past 35 years, I have always waited for the new operating system to arrive with the new hardware ?


    • Ron Clutz · July 24, 2016

      Apparently, I don’t change hardware as often as you do.


      • Richard Mallett · July 25, 2016

        My laptop is running Windows 7 quite happily.


      • Ron Clutz · July 25, 2016

        Mine runs better on Windows 10. So there.


      • Richard Mallett · July 25, 2016

        Whatever floats your boat 🙂 It would not be worth the effort for me. Besides, there will probably be teething troubles for Windows 10 for the next year or two, until the major hardware users have a sufficiently large user base.


      • Ron Clutz · July 25, 2016

        Maybe so, that’s why I waited a year. The feedback from users looks ok.


    • Peter Lawrance · July 26, 2016

      Well if you will use Windows, I feel pity for you. Windows seems always to have been a cause for anxiety or tedious waiting. At least Macs have always tried to be user friendly.


  2. joekano76 · July 24, 2016

    Reblogged this on TheFlippinTruth.


  3. Blackswan · July 25, 2016

    Ron – You’re so right about our new attitude to electronic communications … any glitch plunges us into an aggrieved sense of isolation.

    McLuhan’s perceptions are really thought-provoking. The following quote seems to have it in a nutshell …..

    “In the past, the effects of media were experienced more gradually, allowing the individual
    and society to absorb and cushion their impact to some degree. Today, in the electronic
    age of instantaneous communication, I believe that our survival, and at the very least our comfort
    and happiness, is predicated on understanding the nature of our new environment, because unlike
    previous environmental changes, the electric media constitute a total and near-instantaneous transformation
    of culture, values and attitudes. This upheaval generates great pain and identity loss,
    which can be ameliorated only through a conscious awareness of its dynamics. If we understand
    the revolutionary transformations caused by new media, we can anticipate and control them; but
    if we continue in our self-induced subliminal trance, we will be their slaves.”

    Good article – thanks.


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