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Student op-ed: Scrap democracy to save the planet from climate change

For progressives, democratic government and the rule of law are — rightly — sacrosanct concepts. Foreign Islamic fundamentalist terrorists must be given full habeas corpus, and “undemocratic” concepts like the Electoral College and even the United States Senate should be scrapped or modified.

That is, unless something comes along that is equally sacrosanct as democracy.

It might come in the form of Donald Trump and his white male supporters, or that progressive conviction of convictions, climate change.

With regards to the latter, the University of South Carolina’s Joseph Will says democracy should not be “deified” nor questioned in order to save our blue-green orb from catastrophic global warming.

“Certain scientists and climate activists have long been calling democracy into question, voicing concerns over its alleged inability to effectively deal with the kind of existential threat posed by climate change,” he writes in The Daily Gamecock.

James Hansen, an influential climate scientist and activist since 1988, has argued that democracy doesn’t work with regard to the present issue. Likewise, another noted climate scientist and activist, James Lovelock, has argued that democracy must be abandoned in order to efficaciously deal with climate change issues. They are not alone in their democrophobia, and the U.N. report gives credence to their concerns.

For my part, I too question democracy’s ability to deal with our present dilemma. If we take this U.N. report seriously, then drastic measures that may be very unpopular will have to be taken. Is there any guarantee that, if we leave these issues up to popular vote or turn them into partisan campaign topics, that the proper measures will actually be taken?

People are irrational, and given the rather abstract and distant threats posed by climate change, many may very well choose to protect their short term comfort over the long term health of the planet.

Will goes on to (naturally) chide the Republican Party for its “party dogma” and “self-immolative” short-sighted actions based on not accepting scientific evidence. (Just don’t bring up human sexuality and gender!)

If the GOP and other climate apostates will not capitulate to the Church of Climate Change Immediate Action (see the recent UN report), then democracy should be suspended.

“[T]he health of the planet is not something that can be left to the gamble of the ballot box,” he concludes.

Read the full op-ed.

MORE: Prof: Trump supporters ‘greatest danger to democracy’

MORE: Prof: Trump should be banned from Twitter for climate views

IMAGE: Blue Sky Image/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 18 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.