Just a few days ago I was a guest at a splendid dinner in Essendon, Melbourne. The company was in glowing spirits as the merry band plied themselves with cocktails in expectation of the meal. Being of a more cautious nature, I stuck to beer and wine.
At some point, the conversation turned to Global Warming and almost straight away one of my table companions – a mathematician of unusual abilities – forcefully declared his disbelief in Global Warming and all that was being demanded of us in its name.
“And why is that?” I asked, expecting the mathematician to deliver a disquisition, way above my head, about how the evidence for Global Warming just did not “add up.”
“I don’t believe in it,” he said, “because anything that makes a totalitarian demand for our complete submission and consent must be wrong. I know it’s untrue from first principles.”
There was a brief silence around the table – not because something scandalously unbelievable had been uttered. Such was par for the course. It was because the guests were all absorbing the profundity of what had been said. Only the bogus demands complete obeisance and intellectual surrender before it, otherwise the falsehood at its core might be discovered.
We quickly recovered ourselves and the conversation moved on to the absorbing practical question of whether a Peruvian “pisco sour,” made under Australian skies, could qualify as “authentic.”
It was 36 hours later, when I had returned home to Canberra and had opened the newspapers that I realised what an astonishingly timely and penetrating remark had been uttered at that dinner table.
What I found on Monday morning this week was that Vaclav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic, will be in Australia during July this year as a guest of the Institute for Public Affairs and that he will speak at IPA functions in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth & Brisbane.
I also discovered that Australia’s political leaders seem reluctant to meet with him. So far, Premiers Ted Baillieu of Victoria and Colin Barnett of Western Australia have found their diaries much too full to accommodate so distinguished a person.
Vaclav Klaus, you see, is a doubly bad boy. He is not only a tireless critic of that appalling monster and enemy of human freedom, the European Union (EU), but he is also equally fearless in his scepticism about anthropogenic Climate Change. In 2007 Klaus published his Climate Change manifesto Blue Planet in Green Shackles.
That two Liberal Premiers have so far declined to meet with Klaus might only mean that their diaries for July are already full. Equally, it might also suggest that the Premiers have judged it politically inexpedient to allow themselves to be labeled Climate Change “deniers” for having met with Klaus.
If that were the case, it would illustrate the insidious, creeping spread of deference out-of-fear to Climate Change ideology. When people - especially our political leaders to whom we entrust great matters - are spooked by widespread ideological fervor into giving up their freedom to meet with critics of the common opinion, then we face an expansion by stealth of a totalitarian political movement.
Let us make no mistake about this: the Gillard Government has made itself the friend and ally of Green fascism. Without mass intellectual self-surrender, led by the political and cultural elites, the Federal Government would find it politically difficult, if not impossible, to implement the mischievously misnamed “Carbon Tax.”
This is the tax, remember, that not one of Australia’s coal-producing competitors – including the deeply hypocritical European Union (EU) – have imposed, or plan to impose, in their own jurisdictions.
The final report of the “Garnaut Climate Change Review,” which aims to put Australia right out in front of its international competitors, has been received as an oracle. In reality, it is a monument to intellectual capitulation.
For here is one of this country’s leading Climate Change gurus, Professor Ross Garnaut, and he claims that, far from being true on the balance of probabilities, as he once thought, the science of Climate Change is now true beyond all reasonable doubt. Get this: Professor Garnaut makes an astonishing act of faith at the very point in history when debate over this primitive, infant “science of Climate Change” is only just beginning.
The fragility of a new born hypothesis must not, however, get in the way of the rising spirit of premature certitudes and vaulting rectitude. The Green totalitarian foot soldiers recruited from the ranks of Australia’s well-healed middle class went marching last weekend in our capital cities. In a reversal of historical experience, the “masses” rose up in favour of a tax.
When you see an army of high-minded, fashionable folk marching in support of a tax, you know that something is deeply wrong in your society.
When I saw images of the green-tinged crowds thronging complacently behind the “Carbon Tax” banners, the title of Hayek’s famous book sprang to mind: "The Road to Serfdom."
*Gary Scarrabelotti is Managing Director of the Canberra-based consulting firm Aequum: Political & Business Strategies.