Year 2, Month 7, Day 10: Go Directly To Jail. Do Not Pass Go. That’ll Be Two Hundred Dollars.

Matthew Kahn, a “guest blogger” at the Christian Science Monitor, embodies much that is deplorable in our culture in these paragraphs in a June 24 article titled “Is There A ‘We’ In Climate Change? Or just an ‘I’? “:

How will individuals, as moms and dads, as consumers, choose to live our lives given the world we have unintentionally created by producing so much GHG emissions? Vice President Gore embraces a “collective” solution that “we” must band together.

A more realistic vision is that people will differ with respect to their ability and willingness to “perceive important and complex realities”. Those who do have these skills will be more likely to thrive in the tough days ahead and they are likely to make $ as entrepreneurs as they anticipate the others’ future suffering.

Well, by Bald-headed Christ, that sounds pretty un-Christian to me. Unless you’re talking about the modern Corporate Jeebus, in which case it’s entirely consistent with what I’ve observed.

Sent June 24:

Matthew Kahn’s response to Al Gore is built around an erroneous framing. Rejecting the former VP’s suggestion that the struggle against global warming requires collective action, Mr. Kahn offers the reassuring thought that people with better survival skills and adaptive capability are “more likely to thrive in the tough days ahead,” and furthermore, can make substantial profits from the suffering of others! Apparently the preservation of thousands of years’ worth of culture is an inadequate motivator; to persuade people to take climate change seriously, they need to know there’s money to be made and suckers to be fleeced!

Effective responses to climate change must be both individual and collective, and greed shouldn’t be part of the recipe. Remember the filling station owner who tripled his prices after 9/11? There’s an example of individual entrepreneurship for you; such attempts to exploit others’ misfortune exemplify the worst aspects of our shared humanity.

Warren Senders