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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Eco-fascists of the world unite you have nothing to lose but your dignity!

I have always had a bit of a jaundiced view of David Suzuki. He is without a doubt a man of great intelligence, but there was always something about Suzuki that suggested that no matter how impressed others were of him, he always even more impressed with himself.

I have a university buddy who once wrote a book where he ended up spending quite a bit of time interviewing Suzuki. This colleague, who shall remain nameless, started out quite a fan but over time came to see him as being “an egocentric primadonna.”

Of course this friend had been impolitic enough to mention that his Grandfather had helped set up the internment camps where Canadians of Japanese descent had been imprisoned during the Second World War.

David Suzuki spent his early years in such a camp, so this bon mot of historical trivia probably went over as well as someone mentioning at a bar mitzvah that their grandfather used to be a prison guard at Auschwitz.

These internment camps are a dark and shameful period in Canadian history. Thus it makes Dr. Suzuki’s recent comments about throwing politicians in jail for not doing enough about global warming all the more shocking.

As reported by a University of Toronto student newspaper, Suzuki stated that government leaders who aren’t acting quickly enough to save the environment “should go to jail for what they’re not doing right now … What our government is not doing is a criminal act.”

This bit of eco-fascism was no mere slip of the tongue. A few weeks later at McGill University, Suzuki again equated government inaction on the environment with a criminal act and again was reported to have told students to find a legal way to throw politicians in jail for ignoring climate-change science.

It is worth keeping in mind that Suzuki is a geneticist turned broadcaster and not an expert on climate change. He apparently is no expert on the fundamental tenants of living in a democracy either.

The fact is that many people have passionate views about many things. It can be the environment, religion, politics or who their favorite hockey team is. But when people go from being passionate to fanatical that is when our rights as citizens quickly get trampled underfoot.

And while Dr. Suzuki apparently dreams of setting up prison camps for anyone who doesn’t agree with his views on global warming there are far too many Canadians whose parents or grandparents fought and died for freedom, or who came to Canada as refugees from some oppressive totalitarian hell hole to ever meekly submit to Dr. Suzuki’s dystopian vision.

Moreover in making such fanatical statements, Suzuki has not only undermined his own credibility but all those who are advocating legitimate legislative change to help reduce global warming. Perhaps it is time the good Doctor went back to counting fruit flies at the genetics labs at UBC.

Michael Geoghegan is a consultant with offices in Vancouver and Victoria BC. He can be reached via his website at


Dan said...

"Eco-fascists"? Isn't this the kind of name-calling that deniers whine about all the time? Google climate deniers and you see tons about them crying about being in the same box with Holocaust deniers, how outrageous this is, etc., etc.

Mike Geoghegan said...

You missed the key point of my column: "Suzuki has not only undermined his own credibility but all those who are advocating legitimate legislative change to help reduce global warming."

This isn't about whining or denying but upholding the right of people in a democracy to hold differing opinions and also our right to hold public figures such as Suzuki to account over such outlandish anti-democratic statements.

colonos said...

There is absolutely nothing outlandish about calling for legal proceedings against people who deliberateley not only ignore, but actively repress data about climate change, when that data suggests that civilization is in imminent danger and that human suffering will be immense.

It is outright mad (world domination disorder, perhaps?) to say otherwise - if not rendering the planet unsuitable for most forms of life - knowingly - is a crime, then what is?

Like an unjust law is no law at all, neither is an unjust act fine, just because there is no law for it (yet).

Law is an articfulation of co-evolution between people and their environments and need to reflect what we know, such as the facts about climate change. (Do a Google News search for tropical glaciers, for instance). Another example of law's required co-evolution with human creativity is Free Software (which requires a rewriting of copyright law).

However, you might well be right that Suzuki is full of himself and I would also consider him a liberal pedestrian climate change activist - and that is why his comments deserve to be heard - they are unusual coming from the elite, but they are of course universal truths in the landless and indigenous movements: let's bring the oppressors to their own justice in their own courts of law.