But also, Death by Woke: Congratulations are due to Mother Jones for (what we assume to be) Kevin Drum's cover report.
In hard copy, Drum's essay will appear in the January/February issue. On line, Drum has now posted it under this headline:
We Need a Massive Climate War Effort—NowCongratulations to Drum and to Jones for this lengthy essay. We'll also state what's merely obvious:
There's a very good chance that no such massive effort will ever take place. Speaking for several future experts, we congratulate Drum for the anthropological approach he takes at one point:
DRUM (12/17/19): Fifteen years ago, UCLA geography professor Jared Diamond wrote a book called Collapse. In it, he recounted a dozen examples of societies that faced imminent environmental catastrophes and failed to stop them. It’s not because they were ignorant about the problems they faced. The 18th-century indigenous inhabitants of Easter Island, Diamond argues, knew perfectly well that deforesting their land would lead to catastrophe. They just couldn’t find the collective will to stop. Over and over, human civilizations have destroyed their environments because no one—no ruler, corporation, or government—was willing to give up their piece of it. We have overfished, overgrazed, overhunted, overmined, overpolluted, and overconsumed. We have destroyed our lifeblood rather than make even modest changes to our lifestyles.We humans aren't wired in ways which let us stave off future catastrophes of this type. Anthropologically, the problem isn't that it's too late. The actual problem is that our species wasn't built for circumstances of this type.
That's one basic part of the problem. The other part of the problem is The Problem—the vast tribal division which currently afflicts our society (and others.)
Climate change is like everything else. Members of our different tribes have been told, and have believed, vastly different sets of facts about the situation.
This is The Problem which lies beneath all other current problems. This brings us back to the afternoon reports we said we'd deliver this week.
Those reports will all deal with what has long been derided as "political correctness." Going back several decades, that's a term we've never used. We've always felt that the term delivered vastly more heat than light.
In recent years, however, we've come to feel that our failing liberal/progressive tribe is succumbing to a related phenomenon. We'll call it "Death by Woke."
Death by Woke! It's a phenomenon in which perfectly valid, important concerns are treated in such ridiculous ways that members of the other tribe view us with understandable scorn and disdain.
Sometimes it's the spectacular dumbness with which members of our tribe approaches these valid, important concerns. Sometimes it's our tribe's deep desire to scold the others—to tell the others that they're deplorable, which seems to suggest that we aren't.
However we might conceive it, we've seen Death by Woke rushing forward in recent years in much the way Katherine Boo once viewed the phenomenon she described as Creeping Dowdism.
Boo issued her warning about Creeping Dowdism in the Washington Monthly in 1992. You can't see her lengthy essay on line. We'll guess that The Monthly came to see that Dowd was so well-connected that they probably shouldn't "show their work.".
Whatever! Within a few years, the Dowdism stopped creeping and started to gallop and surge. Eventually, it ate much of upper-end journalism whole.
Creeping Dowdism ate the mainstream press corps alive. The silliness of the modern New York Times is the fruit of that revolution. It seems to us that Death by Woke is advancing in much the same manner.
Congratulations to Drum and Jones for a voluminous discussion. But, reporting from the future, our own anthropological sources tell us the situation suffers from a version of "too little" even more than from a "too late."
Our very limited human wiring leaves us very poorly equipped for the challenge Drum describes. Meanwhile, within our own tribe, Death by Woke is making it harder and harder to imagine a time when we can get the tens of millions of Others to pay any attention to a single thing we say.
According to the future experts with whom we consult, our tribe has played a significant part in this. Tomorrow, we'll plan to return to recent mainstream examples of the onrushing killer disease known as Death by Woke.
We need a massive effort now? Thanks in part to Death by Woke, we'll guess that simply can't happen!
Fuller discourse on method: Much of our own current reporting is drawn from the work of Future Anthropologists Huddled in Caves, a disconsolate group of future scholars which reports to us from the years which follow the global conflagration they refer to as Mister Trump's War.
They report to us through the nocturnal submissions the haters refer to as dreams. Cassandra often seems to be present. The nature of the "war" to which the experts refer has never been fully described.