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The Royal Society of Arts succumbs to the Dark Greens

My wife is a fellow – she finds it useful to work there occasionally and attend events – at the Royal Society of Arts. I know Anton Howes, the RSA’s in-house historian (his writings on the Industrial Revolution are excellent, and he’s known to groups like the Adam Smith Institute).

(Here is Anton’s substack

In issue three, 2023, in what the RSA calls “The Planet Issue” of its quarterly magazine, are articles asserting how serious the climate “emergency” is, and in one article, (the print edition, I cannot find the web version, which makes me wonder why not) it has a piece by Tom Hardy, entitled “Tropes of Deception”.

Hardy is a member of Extinction Rebellion and co-founded of MP Watch, a constituency network “monitoring climate denial in parliament and MPs’ commitment to net zero”.

Hardy’s RSA article refers to the Global Warming Policy Foundation (involving the likes of Benny Peiser and Conservative MP Steve Baker, among others) and other supposedly nefarious “Tufton Street” organisations. As Hardy writes: “Their agenda: to deny the scientific reality of climate change at the behest of those vested interests whose bottom line requires a repudiation of net zero and renewable energy technology.” (So that’s a “no” for nuclear power then, or an endorsement?)

In what I think is the most unpleasant part of the article, Hardy refers to the “Editor’s Code of Practice” of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPOS) and refers to what the GWPF does, and how its reports are used by journalists. Hardy also writes about “cherry picking details from authentic research”. (Coming from a deep Green, this claim of cherry picking is a bit rich, given some Greens have admitted to mistaken alarmism.) Hardy suggests that IPSO would, if he had his way, drop the hammer on journalists quoting alarmist sceptic organisations without, at least, lots of disclaimers.

The whole piece, which includes swipes at the Daily Telegraph’s business journalist Ben Marlow, and the writer Matt Ridley, finishes with the line that IPSO must be “empowered” and be “free of political interference” (translation: the wrong kind of interference, as he defines it) and be a “priority of the next government”. (How very reassuring.) Hardy does not state what this might mean precisely, but one might reasonably infer that he wants to squash the ability of journalists to source anything other than alarmist content around human-caused global warming, or face some sort of consequence to their careers and publications.

What’s striking is Hardy assumes the case around a climate emergency is beyond any scientific doubt, that debate is over, that any attempt to challenge alarmism must be squashed, including by using so-called guardians of press “independence” to punish journalists that are naughty or foolish enough to cite sources such as the GWPF. This is a religious mindset, of the very worst kind. And it is being laid out in the elegant surroundings of the Royal Society of Arts.

I suppose there are several things that might have prompted Hardy to take this line, and for someone at the RSA to be complacent enough to print him. Hardy’s possibly worried that the deep Greens are losing public support. Hardy’s right to be concerned. For starters, as has occurred over the anger at London mayor Khan’s extension of the ULEZ rules on cars, regulations in the name of Net Zero are causing real political anger. The antics of Extinction Rebellion, Just Stop Oil, Greta Thunberg and others are also riling a population that has had enough with relentless nagging, taxes and rules. This isn’t just a UK issue. Look at Dutch farmers, for example.

There’s also the transparent bias that is alienating important parts of the electorate: if we get a hot summer, then the UN, for example, talks about “global boiling”, but goes mute when a snowstorm halts windmills in Texas, for example. The public aren’t stupid, and they can see the imbalance.

There’s also the whole COVID-19 aftermath and its impact on those claiming to follow “The science” (the definite article is a red flag). That episode has weakened trust in official organisations’ pronouncements on science, particularly given the dishonesty about masks, and the attempts – which eventually ended – to halt questions about China’s culpability and the role of a lab In Wuhan.

There are several points the GWPF might want to comment on, given the attacks on it in the pages of a body as supposedly prestigious, and “royal”, as the RSA. (I note, as above, that a web version of this article is unavailable.) First, the RSA is clearly all in for climate change alarmism; it is publishing incendiary and bullying material from hardline ideologues that use disruption of ordinary people’s lives to make a case; ER has shut down the publication of a newspaper it does not like; the RSA has, in this specific edition of the RSA magazine, not provided any opportunity for a different point of view to be aired. Where, for example, are the references to the views of Michael Shellenberger, Bjorn Lomborg, Roger Pielke, Alex Epstein, former Obama advisor Steven Koonin, and many more? I guess they’re all evil and just in it for the money.

Samizdata regulars are, I know, unsurprised by all this. The RSA has, like English Heritage, the British Museum (assuming it has anything left in it), the British Library, and countless other supposed bastions of education and learning, been given the Gramsci treatment (the “long march through the institutions”). There may be people who continue to enjoy the place, with its lovely 18th century architecture, agreeable surroundings and networking parties over a glass of bubbly. Alas, champagne appears one of the few compensations from a body that appears intent on foisting shrill agendas. It may still do some good, which is why people such as Anton Howes can work there, but one has to plough through a lot of crap to find it.

There are many reasons why, as a radical classical liberal chap, I focus a lot of my attention on this issue. Because what the likes of ER want is to suppress, even kill, human flourishing. They are prepared to call for coercion; they applaud the disruption of people’s lives, and have shown an utter contempt for a free press. They’re bullies, and are beginning to realise that people are fighting back.

26 comments to The Royal Society of Arts succumbs to the Dark Greens

  • lucklucky

    “Radical activism, like nature, is intrinsic to us as Fellows of the RSA.”

    So the RSA is an extremist organisation?

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    So the RSA is an extremist organisation?

    It may be today. I don’t know how long that slogan has existed. What seems rum to me is that this a “royal” body, carrying the imprimatur of the British state.

    As we know, King Charles, during his long spell as the Prince of Wales, championed environmental causes, so maybe the RSA thinks it has big ears watching its back.

    Also, I’d argue that radical activism and a body that is about the arts aren’t easy bedfellows.

    Anyway, I am urging my wife to quit.

  • JJM

    Here in Canada, I have found radical activism in the arts to be an excellent way to save a considerable amount of money.

    I haven’t visited the National Gallery of Canada (admission CAD20 [GBP12]) or the Art Gallery of Ontario (admission CAD30 [GBP18]) or a number of similar venues in quite some time. Even my theatre-going has become much more circumscribed.

    Why on earth would I routinely pay anyone to harangue me and demean me?

  • bobby b

    ” . . . as a radical classical liberal chap . . . “

    Just a side point, but I spent much of my life never suspecting that these words could ever go together.

    Now I know better.

  • Kirk

    All of these people are of a type; the busybody Karen, only weaponized and emboldened by the fact that they haven’t ever had the living sh*t slapped out of them in public.

    You can draw a line down history, from the aristos in France and the UK who thought to “run the world” straight through to the WEF types performing pagan ritual in Geneva. They’re all of the mentality that they know best, and that they ought to be running the world. Woodrow Wilson was one of their sort, as were nearly all of his adherents. If you hear someone speak out in favor of the technocrat, the anointed managerial classes? That’s who these people are; they all think that they just “know better”.

    If put to the test, they actually don’t. They have the fervor of religious belief, but the source of it all? Inside their own minds, upon which they project the world and reflect their own gloried imaginings right back out. They’re always right; nothing they do can fail, and if it does? It failed because the rest of us are at fault, not them. These are the people who made Communism what it was, the true believers. Generations ago, they were the charming people that did unto the Cathars and the Vendee in later years. They believe; the rest of us die for their beliefs.

    Objective truth is alien to them; you don’t have to provide evidence or reproducible experiment for them, and if you do manage to present either of those that contradict them, they’ll ignore you while piling the faggots around your feet.

    There’s a certainty to these people; they don’t doubt themselves or their beliefs; the “other” is always, always evil. They live in a moral tale, wherein they are the good guys, wearing the white hats, and everyone else is cast as either insignificant bit players or actual outright Satanic minions, in league with all the forces of Hell. They can’t conceive of anything else, really.

    I suppose the amazing thing is that we’ve kept their sort out of power for as long as we have, but the sad fact is that the next century or so will see their defeat or their victory, one way or another. The self-anointed have the courage of their convictions, you see, while the rest of us recognize that the world has some slight ambiguity to it, still.

  • DiscoveredJoys

    I’ve used this quote several times:

    “What the political left, even in democratic countries, share is the notion that knowledgeable and virtuous people like themselves have both a right and a duty to use the power of government to impose their superior knowledge and virtue on others.
    ~ Thomas Sowell”

    The ‘right and duty’ aspect echoes some religions who gained enough earthly power to impose their will on others. Some political parties have made the step up from policy to prosecution. Activists of various stipes appear to be blind to the consequences of their fervour. Allow the prodnoses power and their minions, the jobsworths, will be only too willing to use bureaucracy to force the unbelievers into boxes of the jobsworths’ choosing. And there is nothing outside the boxes that is permitted.

  • Stonyground

    “Their agenda: to deny the scientific reality of climate change at the behest of those vested interests whose bottom line requires a repudiation of net zero and renewable energy technology.”

    That’s some projection going on right there. The climate alarmist are currently denying the scientific reality that non of their doomsday predictions have ever come to pass and at last people have started to notice. Of course the alarmists don’t have any vested interests funding them and backing them up at all do they?

  • Paul Marks.

    As John O’Sullivan (former adviser to Margaret Thatcher and now at the Danube Institute in Hungary) pointed out long ago – any institution, public or private, that is not consciously fighting the left, and to fight them one must understand why leftist doctrines are WRONG (factually wrong and morally evil), will end up controlled by the left.

    “But I just want to be in a neutral organisation” – sorry, but there is, in the long run, no such thing. Either an organisation is fighting to defend civilisation against the left (against the left hand path – the broad and easy road that leads to Hell) or it will end up part of the left in their “long march through the institutions” leading to the “Cultural Hegemony” of the left. Just as there are “no neutral men” there are, in the end, no neutral organisations – either they “go with the flow” (the flow of evil) or people make a conscious free will decision to fight against evil, including the evil that each of us has within ourselves.

    As for “Extinction Rebellion” its founder is more interested in destroying the family and the rest of “capitalist society” than he is in the C02 is evil theory, and this should surprise no one – as this has never been about “saving the environment”, it has always been about destroying what is left of the West.

    Repeat – this has never been about “saving the environment” (the C02 is evil theory and the rest of it) – it has always been about destroying what is left of Western civilisation.

    As for elected politicians who vote for such things as the Equality Act of 2010 or the Energy Act of 2023 and then say they are horrified when officials carry out these laws to crush liberty and undermine what is left of Western culture and civilisation – there is nothing polite to say about such puppet elected politicians.

  • Stonyground

    “That’s who these people are; they all think that they just “know better.

    If put to the test, they actually don’t. They have the fervor of religious belief, but the source of it all? Inside their own minds, upon which they project the world and reflect their own gloried imaginings right back out. They’re always right; nothing they do can fail, and if it does? It failed because the rest of us are at fault, not them.”

    Weren’t most of us like this when we were teenagers? We thought that we knew everything because in reality we knew very little, it being ignorance that breeds such over confidence rather than knowledge. Gradually though we learned that everything isn’t quite as simple as we thought it was, we become less sure of things that we thought were hard facts. It seems that Kirk is describing never grew out of that teenager overconfidence.

  • Fred Z

    Kirk: “the next century or so will see their defeat or their victory, one way or another”

    No, I don’t think so.

    They will never lose, because they are persistent. They will never win, except maybe short term, because, while stupid, they are persistent. Their persistence might give them a short victory, their stupidity will end it.

    We will never lose because we are clever. We will never win, except maybe short term, because, while clever, we are lazy. Our cleverness might give us a short victory, our laziness will end it. Indeed, that’s what’s happening right now, our short victory from the fall of the Axis to the present day was a short dream of reason.

    But, we’ll be back.

  • WindyPants

    It’s for protection. Join the pitchfork wielding mob to stop the nutters lobbing Waitrose’s finest cream of tomato at the Turners.

  • FrankS

    Exploiting and promoting the baseless alarm over CO2 was hard for would-be revolutionaries to resist because it would clearly lead to the collapse of industrialised societies. The blatant loopiness in the RSA is just a part of it. Net Zero is neither necessary nor desirable, and it is most definitely not affordable. It remains attractive to revolutionaries.

  • jgh

    Hold on, this is the Royal Society of *ARTS*. If they want to go banging on about climate change, **** off and join Greenpeace.

  • NickM

    Today’s Guardian had something about how we should learn from “Bidenomics”. Basically state funding for “Green” stuff. And it “works”. Of course it “works”! They have gamed the system to make it so! (Apologies to Captain Picard). It is twisted and wrong. I’m a Quaker warden and they’re greener than cucumbers. They looked into Greening up the building (which is somewhat over 300 years old*). Even they baulked at the idea of GBP45,000 as an expression of piety to Gaia. It is ludicrous and evil. Ludicrous because it patently, obviously is, toss. Evil because, apart from anything else, it kicks the poor. Can’t afford an electric car? Then it’s the bus for you my friend! Green is also frequently delusional. Those lovely eco-wagons are gonna have batteries made in the PRC. Do they have ecological safeguards? Of course not! Do they push a Green agenda internationally? Obviously they do! If I was head honcho in Beijing that’s what Machivellian Nick would be doing because the Greens of the West just ignore what happens in China. Yes, the country that built a record-breaking number of coal power plants in 2022 just so they could make lovely Green stuff for Jonathan Porritt an his ilk** to make sweet, sweet love to. From one perspective, “Useful Idiots”. From another “Vainglorious Twats”.

    *Yes, American readers. It was built when George Washington was in short pants. Obviously this adds extra to the cost due to the complexity of a building that old and which has seen many modifications and changes of use over the years. But… the same applies to an extent to everyone. Yes, it will boost the economy but in a way only the most Keynesian would approve of. I mean even J M Keynes thought it a good idea for government to spend billions on like windows rather than window-dressing.

    **Or bobby b’s ilk. Or is that elk? Inquiring minds don’t want to know.

  • jgh

    *Because* our local Meeting House was built over 200 years ago (a comparative youngster) it is *already* “green” as back then they hadn’t forgotten – or deliberately ignored – how to build buildings that passively stayed warm in winter and stayed cool in the summer.

  • Paul Marks.

    FredX – Kirk is correct, but it will not be as long as he thinks.

    The left will either be defeated soon – or the West will collapse. It has come to this – to a crises, win or lose, no more messing about.


    The policies attributed to Mr Biden (of course that puppet does not make up these policies himself) are designed to destroy the United States of America – to compete a process that started many decades ago, for there is a lot of ruin in a great nation, it takes a long time to destroy a great nation.

    The process is intentional – deliberate The American establishment want to destroy America in order to push their dream of world “governance” in which America would be subsumed and such things as the Bill of Rights utterly destroyed.

    As for the United Kingdom – is it even worth talking about the United Kingdom at this point?

    Liz Truss was betrayed, the Energy Bill (with its not so subtle totalitarian, total control, agenda) was passed – what is the point of considering the situation further?

    In the case of America we can at least dream of “the right” coming to power (a rather unlikely dream in this age where elections are blatantly rigged – but there we are) and destroying the Administrative State (getting rid of the ugly FBI building and turning the site into a public garden – that would be a good start) – but in the United Kingdom “the right” are already in Office. In Office – but not in power?

  • Paul Marks.

    I have spent my life in politics – if I had my life again I would not have got involved in politics at all, I would have been a university librarian somewhere and kept my mouth shut about my political and cultural opinions, then I would not have to be in the “bullet in the brainpan – squish” situation that I am in, but there we are. And I have seen many disgusting things in politics – but nothing as bad as some of the things over the last few years.

    The outrage of the, medically useless, Covid lockdowns, the smearing of Early Treatment for Covid (which could have saved so many lives), the pushing of toxic injections (the injured cry out for justice – and so do the families of the dead), the insane spending of some 400 Hundred Billion Pounds (supported by all political parties), on top of a budget that was already insanely high, the “Green” agenda (pushed by all political parties – but including Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak) and lastly – the betrayal of Liz Truss.

    The lie that the lady “crashed the economy” which was actually crashed by the wild spending of her predecessor as Prime Minister (and the Chancellor who became her successor as Prime Minister) – and the deliberate (planned) sabotage by the Bank of England and a handful of vast Corporations (supported by Credit Money – hello Cantillon Effect) who dominate “the markets” and who operate on the basis of a political and cultural agenda that includes the destruction of anyone who stands against world “governance”.

    It can never be said enough that this agenda of world “governance” (including the Energy Bill in the United Kingdom) is NOT really about the C02 is evil theory – that is just an excuse for what the international elite want to do anyway. Many of the people behind such things as the Rio Conference of 1992 and Agenda 21 (now just called Sustainable Development goals) were clear on that – the agenda of world “governance” by governments and “partner” corporations came FIRST (very many decades ago) – then they looked around for excuses to justify it.

  • Kirk

    NickM said:

    Or bobby b’s ilk. Or is that elk? Inquiring minds don’t want to know.

    Have you ever taken note of the unidirectional nature of all these “slips of the fingers” go, with bobby b? How often they resemble Fruedian slips, rather than honest mistake? Followed by the disingenuous “Oh, I you’re mistaking my sarcasm…”?

    I have, and I think I’m going to continue to take these out-of-hand remarks at face value. There were no “quotation marks” around his characterization, either in text or metaphor. That’s his real opinion, I suspect; those that don’t follow his ideology are “evil”, and he’s just hiding his contempt.

    And, at this point, I’ll preemptively state that I’m being misconstrued, and didn’t really mean to call him out on his BS.

    Once is accident; twice, coincidence. Third time? LOL… Yeah, go buy that saddle.

  • bobby b

    September 18, 2023 at 9:58 pm

    ” . . . and he’s just hiding his contempt.”

    1. “Ilk” was your word. I thought it was funny.

    2. I promise to be clear and direct about my contempt going forward. Not a secret, really. 😉

  • Lee Moore

    Methinks it’s time for another round of the dissolution of the monasteries

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Well, personally, I think that Biden is bringing respect back to politics. After all, if he doesn’t carry out a Government program, people will realize that he’s just forgotten it, not cynically discarded it!
    Q. What should you say to politicians that you find in the gutter?
    A. You should congratulate them for having escaped from the sewer!

  • Sigivald

    those vested interests whose bottom line requires a repudiation of net zero and renewable energy technology

    Isn’t it funny how being funded by vested interests whose bottom line requires Green Energy Schemes And Endless Government Money somehow doesn’t cause a conflict or imply deceit and falsehood?

    If we’re gonna play the “your funding makes you a liar” game, everyone gets dinged, pal.

  • Paul Marks.

    Within 14 months it will be clear whether the United States has any chance what-so-ever of survival – and the West can not stand without the United States.

    So within 14 months it will be clear whether the Western world has any chance what-so-ever of survival – that is what is important, not people insulting each other on this (or any other) comment thread.

  • neonsnake

    Or bobby b’s ilk. Or is that elk? Inquiring minds don’t want to know.

    What/who are bobby b’s ilk, exactly?

  • NickM

    I’m more concerned about his elk. I’d be a-moose-ed to find out more.

    Are you seriously regarding Trump as The Chosen One? God help us! Mind, considering the alternative… It really comes to something when the US Presidency is a toss-up between two senile old duffers. I mean there’s a third of a billion Americans! And those two are the best they can come up with!

  • bobby b

    Hi! My name is Elk. Anne Elk. I have a theory . . .