Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Illusion of Green Fascism

In their latest campaign to prove that anyone who cares about the environment is a dangerous, misanthropic radical, Jones & Co. are scraping the barrel in search of extremists. Paul Joseph Watson came up with Charles Manson, and now he's trumpeting the brainfarts of an obscure radical from Finland, Pentti Linkola. Representing the far end of the environmentalist spectrum, Linkola actually does believe in things like human culling, fascism, and eugenics. He's an epic douchebag. And that's why he's not much of a threat to humanity as a whole: He'll never have a large enough following to implement any of his batshit crazy notions of how the world should be run.

The average environmentalist (including the ones that could be considered hardcore) is repelled by guys like Linkola. And the feeling is mutual. A year or two ago I attended a talk by Derrick Jensen, a California environmentalist who subtly promotes the bombing of dams to save the wild salmon. During the Q & A, nearly everyone asked him if it was not better to spread environmental responsibility by example (peaceful activism, recycling, and whatnot). He dismissed these people as "lifestylers" who would never made a real difference, tossing off comments like, "Composting wouldn't have stopped Hitler." Most of the small audience walked out of that room feeling that Jensen was a mentally unbalanced man. They may still read his books, but I don't think they'll be dynamiting a dam anytime soon.

The truth is, your typical environmentalist does not actually want to return to a pre-industrial, agrarian way of living. They want to keep their iPhones and their hybrid cars. The daffy siren call of folks like Linkola might snag their attention momentarily, but in the end they're not going to adopt any ideology that compromises their own comfort and security. They're not into power trips. They just want the world to be safer, healthier, and better.

Every belief system has its extremists. To pick them out of the crowd and hold them up as poster children is not only misleading, it's downright deceptive. You will not be likely to find a Linkola or a Jensen among the hippies at your local farmer's market. Not everyone who talks about conservation, alternative energy, or global warming is a threat to democracy. Jones is doing to environmentalists what he insists the New World Order is always doing to him: Falsely aligning him with violent extremists.

8 comments:

Paul said...

SME,

Its no secret I definitely agree with much of what you have to say about Alex Jones. However, I was struck by something in your first paragraph in reference to Pentti Linkola. You say of him, "He's an epic douchebag. And that's why he's not much of a threat to humanity as a whole: He'll never have a large enough following to implement any of his batshit crazy notions of how the world should be run."

Couldn't that be applied to Alex Jones? I'm hard pressed in life outside the internet to find anyone who knows who he is. The movement that he was instrumental in popularizing the 9/11 truth movement exists at the fringes of society and no matter what any of them say isn't making any in roads. Is he not the guy sitting in the back of the bus with a garbage bag full of photo copies ranting about alien mind control? I guess he isn't considering he has a radio show but he is a fringe figure.

I'm just wondering what your response would be to someone leveling such a charge. I'm not sure I have much of a response other than Alex spreads misinformation, he does so passionately and in a way that makes people react with fear and that simply cannot go unanswered by people who care about critical thinking and good public policy.

I personally though would love to see what would happen if someone called Alex's show and brought up the point that he is demonizing environmentalists in the same way he claims the NWO demonizes him.

Josh.S said...

If you put him in the general population of the world as a whole..no, he's not that well know. But if you scale it down, he's huge. Jones is the biggest name in prettymuch anything conspiracy related..oddly enough it's not because of his amazing info. Not to mention if you try comparing Jones to Linkola, he is. Fans says he's huge in Finland but, honestly I have no idea.

http://www.infowars.com/the-obama-deception-number-1-on-u-s-google-trends/

I'll admit I didn't read the full article, but if in a two hour span his listeners can reach number 1 (of course I don't know specifics, how long it lasted, anything) in Google Trends, it at least says something.

Also, it's not as if Jones focuses on a single topic. His insane drunkard flailing at anything and everything allows him to reach a wider audience. Anyone who may doubt something but is on the fence, can easily be pulled over to the insane side. His claims can infect people just because they're so easy to latch onto with no proof or research. It's like a germ.

Jones claims he's a "founding father" of the Truth movement, he's not. The "movement" started in France, just a week after the attacks, it was mentioned in the French newspaper Le Monde. Six months after it happened Thierry Meyssan released "9/11: The Big Lie" Jones said he predicted the attacks, but his predictions were vague at best and not surprising considering the '93 attack.

Also, his callers are most always screened, a few times people have gotten through, but were cut off before they could say much.

S.M. Elliott said...

Jones is definitely small potatoes in the grand scheme of things - the vast majority of my friends have no clue who he is or why I would devote a blog to his ravings. But as Josh points out, he's like a demigod in the conspiranoia world. You can't dip a single toe into conspiracy culture without being influenced by Alex Jones and/or his guests. Information from Prison Planet and Infowars leaches to the rest of the Net like contaminated groundwater. Chris Matthews, Nightline, CNN, and Fox have picked up on his popularity (which unfortunately might increase it). Now that the economy is screwed and unemployment is up, Americans are turning to just such charismatic fringe characters for succor and *solutions*. His influence will still be fringe, but it will have an impact on at least one person you know.

Russell said...

What a blatant straw-man by Jones & Watson. Using Linkola to represent environmentalists is about as "fair" as using Fred Phelps to represent Christians. Good grief, I hadn't even thought of Linkola for years!

Somewhat off-topic: Is it just me, or does AJ look to have aged about 10 years in the past 12-18 months?

S.M. Elliott said...

He already looked pretty rough - I can't believe he's only in his 30s. Continuous rage must age a person like crazy.

Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate that the man- made- global warming hypothesis has been distilled down to a 'Cap and Trade' proposed legislation...to incur trillions of dollars in losses and further deindustrialize the USA, all for the sake of a possible reduction in global temps of less than one half of one degree, on average, by the end of the 21st century, 90 years hence....while other developing nations continue to pollute without such a restriction. This is an anti American, anti human impoverishment scheme to make Maurice Strong cackle until he pops, while Al gore stuffs his pockets with small pieces of green paper

pudding said...

S.M.,

Just started reading your blog and I am really enjoying it. The debunking that you offer is necessary, and hopefully it will show some of the "awakened" that they are being misled by Jones constantly.

I don't think any of us should be underestimating Jones' influence, especially at a time when the right wing is angry and organized. I believe that S.M.'s point that "he will have an impact on at least one person you know" is true and alarming.

S.M. Elliott said...

@ Sept. 25th Anon: It does indeed suck that some corporate vultures are taking advantage of our ecological problems to make money, touting worthless green solutions and worthless alternative energy ideas like ethanol and nuclear power. But that's unavoidable. There are always going to be opportunistic predators ready to pounce on anything that can be exploited for profit. We can't go on polluting and pillaging the planet just to spite them, though. We have to fight for viable solutions.

Thanks, pudding. In tough times, the American public always turns to people like Jones, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, et. al. Confusing, solution-free rhetoric becomes tremendously appealing and conspiracy theories flourish. I can't stand idly by and watch it happen. I don't oppose the people themselves, but I oppose the irrational ideas that are clouding America like a fog right now.

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