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Jordan Peterson interviews Alex Epstein, author of “Fossil Future”

I urge people, when they get the time, to give this interview of Alex Epstein a view. Epstein is the author of “Fossil Future”, an absolutely brilliant explanation of the case for Man’s use of substances such as coal, oil and gas, and he does so within a context of a pro-human philosophy that has human flourishing, and its rightness, at its base. In other words, he argues that it is not the job of Man to submit to any kind of “Higher Order” of nature – other than to of course understand the laws of nature and the scientific humility that requires – but to master it, thrive and be happy. (Nature to be commanded, must be obeyed, etc.) This cuts against much of the underlying view of many Greens, who argue that nature is intrinsically benevolent (in fact it is red in tooth and claw, and often very unpleasant). And Greens will further argue, such as Bill McKibben, that Man, despite being from the Earth, is somehow anti-natural. I think McKibben even described humans as akin to a disease (his language seems to imply it, such as here), but you don’t hear him saying that about other creatures or species. Man has a nature: he must think, project forward with imagination, to speculate on what is possible, to experiment, learn and transmit knowledge. That’s natural if you are a human. So Epstein has done the heavy lifting of getting into the very guts of what is wrong with the Green worldview, and given a radically different perspective.

Far too often, those who criticise Green ideology dismiss it as “religion” and leave it at that. But many people are religious, and argue that without it, there’s no compass or chart to steer by. So is dismissing Greenery as religion much of a knock-down? After all, it is easy to see when many of the established religions in the West have fallen into decreptitude (with some exceptions) how the vacuum has sucked in enthusiasm for Gaia, and all the rest of it. And some of it has taken a more nihilistic, Man-hating form.

What I like about Epstein is that he understands that only a full-throated, proud assertion of human flourishing and achievement, grounded in reason and empirical evidence, not revelation, is the answer to much of where the Green movement is coming from. Sure, we can point to the absurdities of Net Zero, the hypocrisies of Hollywood activists on Learjets going to Davos, but that is a sideshow to the core issue.

Anyway, give this interview a view. Jordan Peterson does good interviews; I actually prefer them to his monologues, although maybe that is because his Kermit The Frog weepy Canadian voice starts to grate after a while.

12 comments to Jordan Peterson interviews Alex Epstein, author of “Fossil Future”

  • Paul Marks

    The CO2 in coal, oil and natural gas was originally from the atmosphere – “emissions” return this invisible and inert gas to the atmosphere.

    As for temperatures, one problem is that the United States government now systematically distorts historic temperature figures – not a “conspiracy theory” (any more than rigged elections are a “conspiracy theory”), compare the actual temperature readings (the records have not been destroyed), to the internet graphs government agencies present – the fraud is obvious.

    Mainstream journalists appear to be uninterested in this fraud. They just write endless articles assuming that the graphs they are shown are correct – when a little research would show them that they are fake.

    The same is true for election fraud (one is shown articles, with links to official sources – and no actual research on the ground), for the Covid injections – where mainstream media says “safe and effective” because official sources say “safe and effective”, and even (in the United Kingdom) horrible “developments” which are often economically useless (just generated by the funny money of the banking system – hello yet more distribution sites for imported goods, all hail the Credit Bubble) if not dangerous (such as houses built on flood planes), but which the media say are “good for the economy” – because official sources say they are “good for the economy”, thus England is being destroyed with the only criticism being “do it more – do it faster!”.

    Whether it is C02 emissions, Covid injections, or (in the United Kingdom) “developments” (funded by the Credit Bubble banking system and destroying farm land), the function of the media is just to repeat the official line – never to do original research.

    This is even reflected in internet sites such as “Wikipedia” where finding out something for yourself is considered evil (“original research” is a reason for removing something) – everything must be linked to an official media source, even if the official media source is obviously wrong (saying that 1+1=37, water is dry, ice is hot, and so on).

    One can directly quote (in context – not out of context), say, Thomas Hobbes saying X – but if an official source says he believed the opposite of X then that (the official source) is what is “correct” and may not be challenged.

    So, for example, if the American government says that 1921 or the early 1930s were a time of great cold, when they were actually a time of great heat – then it is the American government, not the temperature figures, that are “correct”. Ditto one can get rid of such things as the Medieval Warm Period or the Little Ice Age – simply by official sources producing graphs (the graphs are sacred – they may not be disputed).

    “Look the graph shows it was colder then” – the graph, not the actual temperature figures before they are “adjusted”.

    Ditto election results, Covid injections, and-so-on.

  • Paul Marks

    “Ah, but Paul – if your job depended on repeating the official sources, that is what you would do as well”.

    Yes – most likely. I am no saint.

  • Paul Marks

    As others have pointed out on other threads – if this was really about C02 emissions then the “Greens” would be campaigning for nuclear power – they are not, because this is NOT really about C02 emissions.

    Just as the “response to Covid” by many governments (internationally) was NOT about “saving lives” – if it has been about “saving lives” they would have pushed Early Treatment (there always effective Early Treatment) instead Early Treatment was systematically smeared. Internationally this was never about “saving lives” – quite the contrary (as the “safe and effective” injections so horribly show).

    It is the same with the price of housing – if the establishment really wanted cheaper housing they would end fiat money and Credit Bubble finance, the whole “Cantillon Effect” economy.

    But that is the last thing they would do – because it would end “The City” and “Wall Street” and the pet corporations.

    Adam Smith said that the butcher and baker would not poison their own customers – but that was when business enterprises had clear owners, who depended on customers – and were also part of the same society.

    What baker would like to sit in the “Kirk” (the church) with the family of a person he had poisoned? And the family, and the rest of the town, would not buy bread from such a baker again.

    Today corporations depend, at least in the short term, on the Credit Money of governments and the banking system (not on customers) and they have no clear owners anyway.

    What does some corporate bureaucrat in The City (or Wall Street) care about ordinary customers? And if they did care – there is nothing that such a corporate bureaucrat could do anyway, if they tried they would be forced out.

    So Disney continues to make rubbish films, and Pfizer continues to make toxic “vaccines”.

    They do not depend, at least not in the short term, on customers – their money comes from governments and the financial system.

    And no one really owns these vast corporations – no one can say “stop, please stop” and make it stop.

    And, yes, construction companies will continue to lecture local people about race and sexual orientation – rather than fixing the roads.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Paul, you know philosophy well: it would be great to read your thoughts on why the Green ideology is what it is, what gave rise to it, and how to combat it. Yes, the points about distorted data and all the rest are interesting, but what I want to get to the guts of is where this phenomenon of being ashamed of being humans and in achieving things has come from. (Plato, Kant, Rousseau?). As an addition, where has this almost pleasurable pursuit of being afraid comes from? Do human beings have some sort of hardwired need to be scared of something?

  • Johnathan — Monster movies. They love monster/disaster movies and want to be the star, or at least get in a few lines as extras. (They don’t seem to care if they’re the hero or the monster. You can see this dichotomy in Godzilla, who is often both.)

    This just kicks the can down the road, because why do they love monster movies? But the human race seems to love working itself into disasters – witch hunts, kill the Jews, kill the Nazis, kill the Catholics, kill the Protestants.

    Just figure a substantial portion of humanity has a psychological auto-immune disease. In terms of evolution, intelligence is quite new. We haven’t worked all the bugs out yet.

  • FrankS

    Alex Epstein is well worth listening to, and his writings are excellent. He thinks for himself. Anyone who does that will soon find the climate scaremongering absurd and destructive.

    Re our vulnerability to being scared, it allows rascals on the climate scare bandwagon to win our rapt attention, and they like that a lot. But surely more and more of us are realising how ill-founded the scares are, and how damaging the policies being installed by those still duped, or still greedy for the personal benefits they can extract from the panic.

  • bobby b

    People want easy explanations and excuses for why they aren’t doing as well as they think they should, why they’re not in charge, why others do better – why they seem to be more victim than leader.

    If humanity is a blight – if evil is truly in charge – then of course good people will not do well. That must be why I’m not rich/not happy/not in charge/not powerful! It’s not me! It’s because humans – other people – are gross and bad and set up metrics that can only be met well through evil!

    So it becomes a double explanation of why my circumstances are disappointing, and why I shouldn’t feel bad about myself.

    This is why Ayn Rand turns so many people off. She lays bare this victimology of, my failures only occur because humanity values evil and is evil, not good.

  • Paul Marks


    It is very difficult – at least I find it so. There is certainly something more than Marxism at work – something beyond the Frankfurt School stuff.

    It is true in the sexual stuff as well – only a few years ago Joseph “Joe – the Big Guy” Biden was saying that marriage was “one man and one woman” now he supports the sexual mutilation of children. Who put those ideas in his senile head? He did not think this stuff up himself.

    The future that Karl Marx wanted is a bit like “The Jetsons” – the cartoon series of a high tech, high living standards future.

    But Greenism is the opposite of that – as shown by the Hollywood film (which failed) that changed the Jetsons into an environmental propaganda piece.

    This tribal collectivism living in primitive conditions – that is what Karl Marx called “Primitive Communism” he did not want that, at least not in his sane moments.

    Who could want it? Life under such conditions is “nasty, brutish and short” (Hobbes was not always wrong).

    The short answer J.P. is I do not understand a philosophy that reacts with anger (yes anger) to things such as nuclear fusion.

    This is not about C02 emissions – this is a hatred of science and technology, a hatred of human progress.

  • My answer to this, the hatred for the good being the good, against the flourishing of human life is the feeling of your own inadequacy.
    You can be rich, very rich wherever you were born in Western societies. If you build your body sufficiently hard, you can become realy handsome. You can be nice and appreciated. It’s for the huge majority of the population a distinct possibility.
    What you must do is to be truly commited, to attein your goals.

    Very few people are willing to do what is necessary. They prefer to hate ,to envy the successfull.

  • Paul Marks

    I have been thinking about what J.P. has asked.

    The first thing is science itself.

    Science is the individual human mind seeking the truth – the objective and universal laws of nature.

    That is what Plato does NOT do – indeed Plato invents “double think” holding that we should teach lies, for example that the planets do not move, whilst navigating on the basis that they do move.

    Aristotle got a lot of things wrong – but he believed in the physical examination of nature and the rational examination of the “data” (the observations) by one’s reason. Seeking after the universal and objective laws of nature – of a universe that makes sense.

    Science is corrupted whenever it becomes a corporate activity – and by “corporate” I do not just mean commercial corporation like the despicable Pfizer – I mean any “body corporate”, including governments and universities.

    The individual scientist must be loyal to the search for the truth – not to some collective group of “Guardians” (Plato again).

    Any collective entity that gets between the individual scientist, including medical doctor, and their search for truth, for the objective and universal laws of nature, is an evil.

    As for philosophy….

    American “Pragmatism”, fashionable long before Marxism became popular in America, denies the very existence of universal and objective truth – it is, therefore, toxic to the very foundations of science – although it pretends to love science.

    The “science” of the Pragmatists is a political project – which is why they LIE, whether about historic temperature figures (if you believed them then you would believe that 1921 or 1934 were cold years in the United States – and you would believe that America did not cool from the 1930s to the end of the 1970s), or declaring that toxic muck was “safe and effective vaccines”, or anything else they can use for their true aim, which is not truth (the goal of science) – but POWER, CONTROL.

    As for the philosopher of the Greens – who he is returns to my old brain.

    Not really Karl Marx, in spite of the terrible harm that Frankfurt School Marxism (which is real) has done, but Rousseau.

    Yes Rousseau – the man who looked at the advances that 18th century Europe had made and was filled with HATRED, upholding the Noble Savage instead (savages are anything but noble).

    Rousseau is often presented as wanting local democracy – ordinary independent famers and craftsman in charge (the sort of Polity that Aristotle sometimes mentioned – and with approval, unlike a “democracy” where the urban mob are in charge).

    But such Cantons existed in parts of Switzerland in the life time of Rousseau – and he did not really like them.

    Why not? Because there was no “Law Giver” – that is why.

    The democracy that Rousseau wanted was fake – with the “Law Giver” really being in charge (the “General Will” not the “will of all” of reactionary farmers and craftsmen) – and the “Law Giver” was to be Rousseau himself, or someone like him.

    That is their vision – a fake “back to nature” without ordinary people really being in charge, but with themselves as “Law Givers” really being in charge.

    Much like Plato’s Guardians.

  • checklight

    “Jordan Peterson does good interviews” Yeah, he’s a clinical psychologist. He knows how to keep his mouth shut and LISTEN. When he finally chooses to speak, he says no more than needed to provoke his subjects to reveal more about themselves to themselves. It’s a brilliant technique.

  • Paul Marks…”The future that Karl Marx wanted is a bit like “The Jetsons” – the cartoon series of a high tech, high living standards future.

    But Greenism is the opposite of that – as shown by the Hollywood film (which failed) that changed the Jetsons into an environmental propaganda piece.

    It’s revealing that both the Soviet Communists and the American New Dealers were very proud of their hydroelectric dams. A lot of today’s ‘progressives’ would like to tear them down.

    See the comments from the Fabian Socialist Sidney Webb about what he called ‘the machine age’…excerpted in my post here: