Oil Change International

Exposing the true costs of fossil fuels

The Norwegian Murderer, Climate Denial and Watermelons

Sixteen years ago I wrote a book called Green Backlash, that looked at the growing backlash against the environmental movement worldwide.

One chapter, called “Culture Wars and Conspiracy tales”, looked at the warped view of many of the conspiracies of the right wing and far right.

The book examined the many ways in which environmentalists were being demonised by the political right. One of these was the deliberate attempt to push the conspiracy that environmentalists were “communists” – like watermelons, green on the outside and red on the inside.

If you read the mad rantings of conspiracy theorist, Lyndon LaRouche, or the frothing pamphlets of many in the Wise Use movement or the twisted logic of the armed militia – it was all the same:  That environmentalists were communists who had somehow concocted the threat of climate change to impose an authoritarian world government.

The most amazing thing over the last few years is that as the science that climate change is occurring has got ever more stronger, the conspiracy that climate change is a conspiracy has got ever more stronger too, peddled by the growth of the internet and the bile of the right wing bloggers.

There is no doubt that over the last fifteen years there has been a deliberate attempt to demonise and attack the environmental movement and other progressive causes and movements and undermine the consensus on climate change.

And that is the problem with conspiracy theories and hatred – you combine the two and the end result is often disastrous.

Green Backlash quoted Howard Halpern, the former President of the American Academy of Psychotherapists, who wrote in the aftermath of the Oklahoma bomb in April 1995, where conspiracy theorist Timothy McVie, blew up a federal building killing 168 people. Halpern wrote:

“Social psychologists and demagogues have long known that if ordinary citizens are to be provoked to violent actions against individuals or groups of fellow citizens, it is necessary to sever the emphatic bond with those to be attacked by painting them as different and despicable”.

“We are unlikely to harm a friendly neighbour because she has strong views about equal rights for women, but if we call her a “femi-Nazi” she becomes the “other” – evil, dangerous, hated. We are unlikely to harm the couple down the block who are active on behalf of protecting endangered species, but if we call them “environmentalists wackos” they become the other – weirdoes who must be vilified and suppressed as enemies … When our shared humanity with those whom we disagree is stripped away, it becomes acceptable to blow them up”.

This is exactly what happened last week in Norway. In the mad warped and deeply disturbed mind of terrorist Anders Breivik, it became acceptable to blow his fellow Norwegians up due to primarilly their failure over immigration.

But it also comes as no surprise that Breivik believed in many of the classic right-wing conspiracies, In his 1,500 rambling “manifesto” there is a section entitled “Green is the new Red – Stop Enviro-Communism!”

He wrote “The neo-communist agenda uses politicised science to propagate the global warming scam in order to implement their true agenda; global Marxism.”

Breivik added: “You might know them as environmentalists, enviro-communists, eco-Marxists, neo-Communists or eco-fanatics. They all claim they want to save the world from global warming but their true agenda is to contribute to create a world government lead by the UN.”

Although Breivik’s conspiracy theories are completely bonkers, the trouble is that that are gaining mainstream traction in America.

The other trouble is where he gets his evidence from.  He cites the known and rabid climate sceptic Christopher Monckton. He also cites the entrenched climate denier and columnist James Delingpole.

And here in lies the problem for the deniers, and the conspiracy theorists who peddle alarmist propaganda filled with bile and hate. Words have consequences. And sometimes that ends up in violence. It is no coincidence that climate scientists in Australia and Britain now commonly receive death threats.

But still they peddle this nonsense. In November, James Delingpole will tour Australia touting his book  “Watermelons?—?The Environment Movements True Colours.

And so the conspiracy continues…

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