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Discussion Point IV

After global warming, what will be the next hysteria?

66 comments to Discussion Point IV

  • Nick M

    An ice-age, obviously.

  • bob

    I beg to differ. After this last pointless hissie-fit, it has to be asteroids or cosmic radiation. The world is not scary enough!

  • K

    It will probably be something like the Bird Flu Pandemic.

    The following is an excerpt from Brangelina’s coming alert to the American people:

    “Gee, we don’t want to face another Bird Flu Crisis do we? It will be far worse than last time; you know, the one that killed tens of millions, or was it hundreds of millions, around the world in 2006.

    We have strong reason to believe a super form of this flu is about to develop. The only possible course of action is to nationalize US medicine and have it run by the WHO.

    The UN will notify the US government as to what funds they require.”

    If not the flu, then:

    “Wake up America. Our neglect of New Orleans after Katrina has made it certain the entire state of LA will sink into the sea. Ray Nagin can prevent this with one hundred billion dollars and your support.”

  • I’m afraid that global warming has a lot of staying power because it appeals to different folks. One is ludites, then there are the anti-capitalists, then there are the people who want to be able to cleanse their guilt through recycling, and of course the folks who want to live how life used to be, “one with nature”.
    Whatever the next thing, it has to use these, plus others to get a wider reach.

  • veryretired

    Resource depletion.

    This crisis will require stringent controls on wasteful industries and excessive lifestyles, higher taxes to discourage use, and, probably, some form of rationing in which public purposes will outrank mere private use.

    If those responses to the crisis sound familiar, they should. Every crisis, for some odd reason known only to those possessing the secret knowledge of “higher consciousness”, requires almost exactly the same set of solutions.

    The villains are always individual greed and corporate excesses, and the solution always includes collective action directed by a benevolent political leadership class, and the clearly required increases in state powers needed to overcome the emergency.

    No matter what the problem may be, the purveyors of subtlety and nuance will always prescribe the same medicine.

    As I said, it’s just the oddest thing.

    One could almost believe that all these endless crises are merely pretexts being used to justify repressive legislation.

    Sometimes I just wonder….

  • Zeppo

    Skunk. Absolutely deadly stuff, it turns people into raving lunatics, you know.

  • joel

    Well, I am not certain if there will be any or many more crises.

    Afterall, the demographic that perceives these crises is fast dwindling: Educated Caucasians.

    I just don’t notice poorly educated Caucasians worrying about this crisis. And, I don’t believe Africans or Asians of any educational level bother with this nonsense.

    However, possible candidates for the next crisis include:
    1. A resurgence of the “internal barbarism” threat, which was popular back in the 1960’s. This will be linked to my main point above.
    2. Global cooling.
    3. Some sort of pollution issue.
    4. Over- or underpopulation.
    5. Nada. They all we be kept on drugs to calm their mood by a benevolent government.

  • Charles

    Unsistainable rates of consumtion of solar radiation.

  • Chris Harper

    Different levels of hysteria.

    Global catastrophes are few and far between, Global Warming is the first on this scale.

    Next level was nuclear MAD, but that is out the door now.

    There is potential Nuclear Pollution, to be caused by all those power stations than GW scares will cause to be built. There is disease, to be spread by easy and cheap travel, there is heat pollution, to be caused by switching all power generation over to fusion, another genetic modification scare when the next generation of GM products starts appearing, there is the dehumanising cyborg scare when tech and biological really start integrating, the nano scare, incorporating the grey goo scare – This one will be really big in Europe amongst those who will look back with nostalgia on their glory days of GM activism.

    How about the fuss over our polluting the pristine environment of the moon or the asteroids when private space ventures really take off and we don’t have to go through the bottleneck (choke hold?) of government space agencies? I really look forward to hearing the logic behind why we shouldn’t ‘pollute’ space.

    And don’t forget, from ‘their’ point of view, ‘we’ are already going through an hysteria of our own. After getting all hysterical over the ‘so called’ communist ‘threat’ ‘we’ are now also getting hysterical over the way a tiny percentage of militants are claiming ownership of that Great Religion of Peace, the majority of whom love us to bits and just want to live in harmony and don’t want to see Sharia imposed on a single square inch of the rest of the world and anyway if they are upset it is all ‘our’ fault anyway and what about the crusades a thousand years ago and this would never have happened if we had not spent hundreds of years oppressing the poor darlings through vicious colonialism (how long? When?) and anyway it’s all Americas fault anyway and if women want to be deprived of education and shut away in the home and wear black bin bags and have their clitoris and labia minora excised at the age of five then that is their right and I believe in multiculturalism so we should just accept young women being killed because they mix with non Religion of Peace boys because they are just tarts anyway because their behaviour proves that and the honour of the men in the family is worth more than any womans life anyway.

    Deep breath.

    So when it comes to hysterical scares, we are clearly all guilty.

  • nicholas gray

    White guilt repatriations. Before the white man, other peoples, and all females, lived in harmony with each other. They only learnt violence through the bad example of the white man. Having thrown off Original Sin, we must now adopt White Sin, which means that all Caucasian men are automatically guilty for what some of their ancestors might have done.
    We will finish repaying only when all non-whites are completely satisfied.

  • ArtD0dger

    I vote for some form of technology run amok, perhaps hostile AI or nanotech “gray goo.” It’s perfect — the proposed remedy will be urgently centralized regulation and control of technical development, and unverifiable claims about the future can be used to evoke the precautionary principle. And it’s just plausible/true enough to bring a lot of credentialed people into the fold to make dire “scientific” pronouncements.

    But I don’t think global warming has run its course, so the niche may not be available just yet.

  • DocBud

    “One could almost believe that all these endless crises are merely pretexts being used to justify repressive legislation.” I think you’re spot on, veryretired. These crises substitute for the endless war between Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia in 1984. They are the external enemy that no decent or sensible could possibly object to fighting. “You’re not changing your lifestyle to combat global warming, that’s just plain evil, please tell me you’re just selfish and lazy, not a (in hushed whisper) denier.”

    The thinking is that noone can stand up and oppose legislation designed to combat global warming or the war on terror. If any dare, then accusations of standing up for pollution or suicide bombers can be made. That is why global warming sceptics are so virulently attacked, often in the most personal manner, for if listened to they threaten to undermine the justification for all the social and behavioural engineering that is currently taking place in the name of the environment. The emporer has no clothes but we’re not suppose to notice because only decent, enlightened people can see the clothes whereas the evil, polluting morons cannot see them.

  • Zeno

    5. Nada. They all we be kept on drugs to calm their mood by a benevolent government.

    What a Brave new world you’re describing.

  • Julian Taylor

    Excess human population – gives environmentalists a great soapbox to stand on (cause of global warming, depletion of natural resources etc.) while being able to accuse anyone who suggests an answer of being an inhuman maniac who thinks genocide is the key.

  • konshtok

    and the whiner is:….


    specifically estrogen “like” pollutants in the water

    It’s perfect for both regulation and extortion from companies
    and it’s like totally going to freak people out
    and the science …

  • Robert

    We’ll all be dhimmis living under the Islamic super-Caliphate (how does one say “super” in Arabic?), I don’t imagine anyone will care much.

  • The discovery that baseball caps and hoods cause cancer…

  • Kit

    The World Wildlife Fund has just started a campaign about “virtual water” and suggesting we have water credits to ration our virtual water use.
    I’m sure you are wondering what is virtual water. It is the amount of water required to make something e.g. glass of wine = 150lt of water and a glass of brandy = 3000lt of water.
    So expect to see the virtual water content on product labels in the near future.

  • Terry Wrist

    Remember that asteroid the astrophysicists said would just miss the Earth in some 30 years’ time? Well think about it. That’s what they would say, wouldn’t they?
    Just so you don’t run out of things to worry about.

  • bt

    Next scare?
    Heavy metal pollution – for example the mercury in low-energy light-bulbs.

  • Actually it is useless trying to predict what the bastards will do next, because they have dedicated their entire lives, minds, ingenuity and energies to formulating any and all means of fostering guilt and the desire to apologise in us, their victims.

    They may be more or less organised, it’s hard to say, but this persecution is both macro- and micro-managed, from media brainwashing of entire demographics to the virulent neighbour who is prepared to invest years in making us feel crappy about ourselves(if they only could).

    When you tell one to ‘fuck off’ it is very amusing as they usually suffer a hatred melt-down which ends in actual tears.

  • Nostalgic

    I think Kit has the answer – water.

    Or possibly China gaining control over the world’s resources.

  • Joel:

    Afterall, the demographic that perceives these crises is fast dwindling: Educated Caucasians.

    Define “educated”.

  • I have to say that I agree it will be a return to the “population bomb” thing. We have fewer children so we don’t stress the planet.

  • “The discovery that baseball caps and hoods cause cancer…”

    From your mouth, to God’s ear.

    We should all be so lucky.

  • Gravity shortage.

    Those damn Americans are using too much gravity. Can’t they learn to share, like that nice Mr. Cameron.

  • Millie Woods

    H2O – that’s what. The UN has already started on that and here in Canada – the country with the world’s largest fresh water supplies – the alarmists are having their second go at trying to make turning on a tap a guilt trip of the most heinous sort. Then the anti-American contingent is doing the usual foaming at the mouth bit alleging that the US has plans to invade to take over and seize every droplet while we natives all beg through parched lips for succour.

  • h2o273kk9

    True story. While watching a debate on TV Ontario about organic farming, the usual suspects went into tangents about global warming, sustainability, fair trade, etc.

    Basically, it was about globalization and the environment.

    Then I was hit with “the nutrients in the food have been depleting precipitously for several decades.”

    Another commenter countered that (I paraphrase) “studies have shown that this may be more due to the way measurements have been made, the varying strains of food used in the measurements over time, and besides, organic farms over 100 years old have shown the same depletion.”

    At this point I mentally noted that the rebutall would most likely be “those studies are funded by agrobusiness.”

    Sure enough…

    Adding the population bomb (hunger) and now energy derived from food into the current hysteria driven climate and this kind of “resource depletion” may be the next battleground.

    It’s just like global warming. Imprecise understanding of the past vs. a modern trending variable that will literally affect every person on the planet.

    First you control the energy supply then you control the food production. Am I being paranoid?

  • Jacob

    Killer algae.

  • jacob

    Forgot the link, here it is:
    Killer algae

  • Ernie G

    Gravity shortage.

    Those damn Americans are using too much gravity. Can’t they learn to share, like that nice Mr. Cameron.

    Taylor, you’re on to something here. Obesity is not as huge an issue as Global Warming now, but it has possibilities. An excessive number of people are “gravitationally gifted”. For example, McDonald’s is causing too many people to use too much gravity. This additional gravity might cause an asteroid to veer from its path and strike the earth. We have to ban the Big Mack NOW or we’re all gonna die!

  • Hardatwork

    Definitely a food chain scare.

  • Ernie, there is a logical contradiction in your theory: if people are using too much gravity, then there should be no additional gravity to steer the asteroid, but, conversely, a lack of gravity…Ah, screw the logic, ban the Big Mac now!

  • Its not just the gravitational effects of Big Macs that our enviro friends are going to be upset with. Think about all that water flowing downhill, untaxed and unregulated, even worse those infernal yankees use some of it to generate electricity, which they use to make more Big Macs.

    As part of the Bush Administration’s evil plot to steal the world’s gravity from it rightful owners they plan to build a base on the Moon, where they can charge innocent left wing billionaries for access to low gravity sex.

    The neocon cunning plan unfolds.

  • I like the one about the falling nutrient levels.
    I saw that episode of Star Trek TNG too.
    Now if we could find a way of putting all the pinko Provence-aspirers into a long-term trance to live out their lives in a fantasy world while being fed liquid food through a drip, we could keep all the good, real food for ourselves and start to use some serious gravity.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Lack of clean water supplies in places like China. This is already becoming quite a serious problem and affecting things like the price of rice. (Stock tip: go long of Brazilian/other soft commodities like wheat, corn and soy)

    Nano-tech. If this stuff becomes significant enough to make it onto the BBC 6 pm news, some Luddites will get the vapours about it.

    Funnily enough, I don’t see hysteria about the impact of religious revivalism and fundamentalism. But who knows, we could get hysteria about new cults or religions springing up. That one led to the child-abuse hysterias of the 80s and early 90s, if folk recall. Never discount the impact of how hysterias affect children, such as hysterias about vidios, music, etc.

  • joel

    >Afterall, the demographic that perceives these crises is fast dwindling: Educated Caucasians.

    Define “educated”.

    Posted by Alisa at March 25, 2007 11:21 AM

    “Educated” here means a four year degree in some soft science or non-science major (communications, psychology, international studies, woman’s studies, art, music.) Even math majors might be included, since I know some wackos who are math majors, too.

    These people are smart enough to learn, but not smart enough to understand what they learn. They don’t think, they feel. They believe what makes them feel good. Their intellectual growth stopped somewhere in college. They carefully screen out information they find uncomfortable. They may not believe in God, but they hold equally irrational beliefs, which they believe are beyond refute. They choose their friends from among people with similar views.

  • Joel: good, we are on the same page:-)

  • Mike Borgelt

    The dreadful, inexplicable world wide economic depression.

    Few will link it to the restrictions imposed to stop global warming.


  • sbkilb

    Soylent green is people!

  • h2o273kk9

    Simian supremacy?

  • nick g.

    Ernie, if you shorten the slogan about McDonalds to ‘DIET OR DIE!’, you could patent it!
    As for China and water shortages- they’ll make do with virtual water! This is a nation where people still burn paper money so their ancestors will have some money to spend in the afterlife! And now they’re making paper replicas of Viagra containers, so that ghosts can have orgies! (Reported in today’s ‘Australian’) With that mindset, virtual water is no trouble!
    The next big push could be for Global Tax Harmonisation! No more tax havens! As we will be made aware, Tax havens are the sources of ALL EVIL, and must be outlawed!! You don’t want people being free to minimise their contributions to paradise, do you? Of course not!!! The Termination of Tax Havens- you know it makes cents!

  • Gengee

    Polar Shift

    It nicely leads on from global warming and the decrease in tha amount of potable water available due to the melting of the ice fields. It is catastrophic and thre is apparently some evidence of it happening before in geological time.



  • Jon

    Atomic wedgies. Don’t say you weren’t warned, people!

    … oh, and wet willies.

  • Chris Harper

    Polar Shift


    This cannot in any conceivable manner be blamed on the
    US or Christians or White Anglo Saxon Males. Besides, only things which allow the introduction of repressive legislation will be looked at.

  • nick g.

    The next cause will be Global Tax Harmonisation! As we all know, tax havens are the sources of ALL EVIL!!! Evil individuals try to minimise their contribution to society by moving money around! Shocking, I know!! Only by harmonising all tax rates (upwards) will we achieve Paradise-a-la-Terre! Stop the Tax rats deserting the Ships of State! You know it will make cents!

  • Phil A

    People! Beware!!

    What you really need to beware of are destructive memes. They propagate from mind to mind. Like, say, the “Green Meme”, or the “Jihadist Meme”.

    They wreak untold harm.

  • 1. H2O (that nasty dihyrdoxide stuff). Enforced metering in all houses. Caps on max usage and some law to make us “buy” extra usage on the market…i.e. we all get ripped off.

    2. Cash. Miliband is hell-bent on introducing the Carbon Credit Card which will basically “outlaw” anonymous cash transactions.

    3. I’d say China, but I am sticking to synthetic hysteriae. We will have enough real scares when India wakes up one day and finds China has a blue water facility on the W. African or Gulf coast. We will then suddenly face the prospect of a blockade in £15 DVD players and the DADDY will be the threat to GPS being knocked out of the sky.

    4. There might be a tipping point on alcohol.

    neuearbeit macht frei.

  • DocBud

    “There might be a tipping point on alcohol.” Another half bottle of red and I’ll reach my tipping point. It’s rarely catastrophic (odd curry stain on the carpet, less than amused better half) and everything’s fine again in the morning. Rather like all the global crises we’ve somehow survived over the last 30 odd years.

  • DuncanS


  • John

    Global wealth redistribution.

  • Soylent Green

    Soylent green is people!

    Uhhhh…. Soylent Green is me!

    If the evidence (early days yet) continies to suggest that global warming peaked in 1998, then in about ten years time the new panic will be man-made global cooling.

    I’ve no suggestions as to the supposed mechanism, but then artificially-generated CO2 is a very unconvincing mechanism for global warming. I’m sure they’ll find something.

    And I’m sure we’ll all have to learn a whole new collection of ‘environmentally-friendly’ ways to behave, and there will be plenty of opportunities for new taxes.

    (The trick is to keep the global warming taxes going when the new global cooling tazes come along: that would make the Treasury very happy. But they wouldn’t be that cynical… would they?)

  • Daveon

    Well Bill Joy has been getting himself wound up about technology in general for a decade or more now. So Nanotechnology has a lot of potential. Not only do you have grey goo (technically the least likely), but you also have lung disease from the nano-feed materials (ala Neal Stephenson in Diamond Age).

    The next big thing is probably going to be a major water crisis in China and South America. The South American one looks like the first significant casualty of climate change as the conventional water cycle they’ve had for the last few centuries breaks down. This might be down to human global warming, or it might just be we haven’t be around some parts of the planet in sufficient quantities long enough to know how weird and long term some of the climate cycles are.

    Either way, figuring out a way to handle huge populations without water is going to be interesting.

  • Daveon

    Oh, Vingean style Singularities are always good for a bit of Fear and Uncertainty. So you should include the development of AGI (Artificial General Intelligence, rather than plain old AI which is becoming a tad commonplace), development of hybrid Augmented Intelligences and generally anything which leads to the development of a post-human over-class.

    That’ll get people talking too.

  • When Al-Qaeda explode their nuclear weapon over (delete as appropriate) London/New York/Washington/Los Angeles, the new hysteria will be the enemy amongst us, and why the military dictatorships in the UK/the US, are so necessary in order to defeat them. (It will definitely not be why the bomb went off in one of the two countries causing the slaughter of innocents in Iraq.)

    Strangely, no bearded muslims carrying heavy rucksacks will be subject to abuse by the state, when this bomb almost inevitably goes off, because this will be against their ‘effnic rights. The people who will get it in the neck will be anyone daring to stand against the military dictatorships.

    So watch out, Mr T. They’ve particularly got their eye on you. You trouble-monger, you.

  • Nate

    Water. Definitely water. And for once, they might have a good argument….but will probably blow it way out of proportion into a full blown “scare”. *sigh*

  • Jacob

    “a major water crisis in China and South America.”

    Yeah, with the Yang-tse or the Amazon (not Jeff Bezo’s) in dire danger of drying out in a couple of decades… after which hell freezes.

  • Soylent green is made from Orion slave women!

  • nick g.

    Hey, Chris, have you thought about Humans causing Magnetic Pole Flips? How do we know it can’t happen? Using that computer to link up with Samizdata is contributing to Magnetic Flip-Flopping!!! (And putting carrier pidgeons and postal wankers out of a job!) Humans’ electrical and electronic appliances could be interfering with natural electrical behaviour. In fact, try proving it doesn’t!
    Going back to the candle ages would suit some greenies I know!

  • Patrick

    Possibly Nanotechnology (GMO hysteria x10?) but the carbon-cultists really are outdoing themselves with the current and ever-expanding hysteria, it goes so deep and wide it’s consumed whole scientific areas of study, totally derailed the legitimate elements of the environmental movement, and has created such suicidal economic policy and hyper-power big-gov. motivations, it reminds me of dogmatic power of old; the Popes affected if not dominated every facet of Western civilization for centuries (ending ultimately in a series of very brutal inquisitions), it would seem that the carbon cultists with their absolutist blind-obedience and the quite-revealing hysterical over-reaction to anyone who dares even question their dogma to be something that might indeed present a comprehensive developmental arrest of the Western world for some time to come?

    The best thing to come along will be a protracted “inexplicable” global cooling of the “mini ice age” variety, that’d debunk the carbon cultists dogma faster than the passing of the Hale-Bopp comet debunked the claims of the Heavens Gate cultists. Of course they would revert to the “stop global cooling” BS they produced in the 60’s and 70’s, y’know always due to mankind, naturally. The eco-lies change, the power-grab and thuggish behaviour remains the same.

  • Nick M

    Thaddeus Tremayne runs out of “discussion points”?

  • Daveon

    Yeah, with the Yang-tse or the Amazon (not Jeff Bezo’s) in dire danger of drying out in a couple of decades… after which hell freezes.

    Wasn’t referring to those. Chilie is at most immediate risk in South America, which is on the other side of the Andes to the Amazon basin and in a different climate cell.

    China already has several severe water problems in several regions, and we’ve not even started to see the full impact of the 3 Gorges dam yet. It potentially could make the mess the Russians made of the Caspian look like a minor error in judgement.

  • nick g.

    Jack, what do you mean, ‘When Al-Qaeda’? I think it might be, ‘When the CIA lets one off, and blames AlQaeda’, or ‘When the CIA sells a Russian Nuke to Al-qaeda’. It’s called make-work! When Prohibition ended, they gave the Anti-grog police a new mandate- Cannabis and Kin! Couldn’t just let them loose on the streets.
    New Zealand wouldn’t let the US keep nuclear ships in NZ ports. I wonder if the CIA holds grudges?

  • veryretired

    And the winner is—Killer Algae.

    Gravity Shortage places, while Atomic Wedgies shows.

    (What AW shows is a subject I’d just as soon pass on. Rim shot.)

  • nick g.

    It’ll be Capitalism! Our papers are full of letters with a Capitalism OR The Environment message. the idea that you can enjoy both….. toooooo radical!

  • Sunfish

    Funnily enough, I don’t see hysteria about the impact of religious revivalism and fundamentalism

    We get it over here. It hasn’t gotten to witch-hunt status, but off and on there are dire predictions about how fundamentalist christians are going to turn the US into a fascist theocracy and so on.

    It’s my understanding, though, that the US is about the only really religious country left in the civilized world. Revival may not be much of an issue elsewhere. The last time I was in the UK, religion got about the same press that “Cash for Peerages” gets in Denver.