Boisvert Critiques Klein

The Breakthrough site has a critique of Naomi Klein by Will Boisvert that makes some compelling points, the egregious “Bishop Hill”‘s enthusiasm notwithstanding.

I am expecting a review copy of Klein’s book in my mailbox any day now, so I will withhold comment. I am guessing that I will share some of Boisvert’s critiques without being so quick to dismiss the whole package.

That said, support Klein or oppose her, the following passage of Boisvert’s resonated with me:

She nods at “problems when policy makers ram through industrial-scale wind farms and desert solar arrays without local participation or consent,” [287] but considers said problems readily solvable. So another contradiction: while Klein relies on Blockadia to eternally shout “No!” at lucrative fossil-fueled projects, she expects it to say yes to solar arrays that blanket the countryside—as long as there is proper consultation. This is far from a consistent or realistic political program. Comprehensive decarbonization must be planned and organized on a national and international scale. For it to proceed on the deadlines Klein wants, a great many clean energy projects must be rammed through in short order. If any offended local activist can block them, if indigenous groups can claim veto rights over whole continents, then things will grind to a halt. Extreme local intransigence will eventually be over-ridden, but the pervasive effect of Blockadia, if it takes hold, will be to slow progress at every turn. The result could be the opposite of the green mantra: acting globally while thinking locally.

That’s exactly my biggest complaint with everybody, left, right and center, on sustainability issues.

If the Breakthrough gang gets off this dime, I’m going to start leaning in their direction.

What we need isn’t a litany of “good” and “bad” things. (I was sort of blindsided in the 90s when hydro suddenly became “bad”.) What we need is objectively enforced global constraints. The only way to get there is a treaty. Therefore, what we need is a treaty, and what the marching in the street ought to be about is not a return to some fictitiously responsible tribalism but an advance to an actual, real, enforceable global treaty.

Comments:

  1. I haven't read Naomi Klein's book yet, but will probably try to do so. What I do find disappointing is that the norm is to completely dismiss or completely accept what someone says depending on whether they're on your "side" or on the "other side". It is a deeply unsatisfactory way to assess the merits of what someone has said.

    [ +1! -mt]

  2. So another contradiction: while Klein relies on Blockadia to eternally shout “No!” at lucrative fossil-fueled projects, she expects it to say yes to solar arrays that blanket the countryside

    Comparing apples and oranges! Also, it depends on the countryside. Plus, Blockadia aint just cranky activists, protesting everything that's ugly... Do I see evil spirit behind this allegation of contradiction?

    Anyhow, wind farms are worse!
    Just kidding...
    Recently I was driving on an Autobahn thru a gigantic field of wind mills between Austria and Hungaria. An apocalyptic view for some. But it's just flat land, and still is being farmed as before. Plus, the Autobahn featured greened bridges for animals! This is effective and sustainable land use. The opposite of fossil-fueled destruction and pollution.

  3. Ugh, forget Boisvert. He's too political. The following (loc. link) is standard anti-green kindergarten script. Polished up to sound serious. As, from Very Serious Poeple for Very Serious People. But the essence I have heard too often at Barvarian redneck beer tables:

    To make a useful contribution to changing everything, the Left could begin by changing itself. It could start by redoing its risk assessments and rethinking its phobic hostility to nuclear power. It could abandon the infatuation with populist insurrection and advance a serious politics of systematic state action. It could stop glamorizing austerity under the guise of spiritual authenticity and put development prominently on its environmental agenda.

  4. Yes we have no bananas. Sorry, couldn't resist, but the hatred of progress is fanned in the furnace of cleverness by a fantastic edifice of lies. How big fossil could be regarded as state of the art beats me, but they are succeeding. It's hard to argue they know what they are doing, as we all have families, even elderly singles like myself. And as noted, the arguments from the left are far too often focused on each other rather than noting the single-minded promotion of lies that need to be exposed to the light of truth and reality.

  5. Just got her book in the mail. Somewhere mt was complaining it was too "political". Couldn't find the thread. How to search for comments on planet3.org?

    Who else is reading?

    mt:

    That’s exactly my biggest complaint with everybody, left, right and center, on sustainability issues.

    Keep in mind you're embedded in a fake democracy that knows no real "left". (E.g. Germany would be socialist compared to U.S.A. We were spared much of the Reagan/Thatcher devolution. Naomi Klein's Canada only recently succumbed to fossil capitalist plutocracy.)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.