As someone whose spot on the political spectrum is somewhere between “Tory imperialist” and “warmongering neocon,” I have been encouraged by the apocalyptic and militant rhetoric from Democrats on climate change.
For example, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called climate change “the existential threat of our time.” Sen. Bernie Sanders labeled it an “existential crisis.” In fact, nearly all of the Democratic presidential hopefuls have described global warming as an existential threat.
This “existential” crisis rhetoric has also been mentioned by other prominent Democrats, such as Sens. Ed Markey and Chuck Schumer. The charming and media-savvy Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called it a “direct existential threat.” “The last time we had a really major existential threat to this country,” she added, “was around World War II.”
From the late Latin “existentialis,” “existential” literally means “relating to existence.” By labeling climate change an “existential threat,” what these Democrats mean is that climate change has the capacity to wipe out the human race, or at the very least our way of life. After all, according to the United Nations, we have only a dozen years to act before we reach the point of no return. Among these circles, the belief is if we don’t act in time, the world will shortly devolve into a post-civilizational dystopian hellscape full of misery, rapine, banditry, and ruin. You know, like a “Mad Max” film.
The problem is the United States isn’t the world’s leading emitter of carbon dioxide. Even if we bring our emissions down to zero, it would only eliminate roughly 15 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Not enough to avoid annihilation, and not even enough to offset the rising emissions of the rest of the world over the next decade. Now, we could probably force our NATO allies, the rest of the European Union, and the British Commonwealth to follow our lead. Likewise with Japan and South Korea.
However, that would only eliminate another 20 percent or so of emissions. Surely, the world’s largest emitter, China, is not going to be so easily persuaded, nor will rising economic power India, the world’s third-largest emitter. Nor will a recalcitrant Russia, the world’s fourth-largest emitter and a country whose economy is almost entirely dependent on natural gas production.
If we can’t persuade, we’ll have to invade. Taking a cue from great neoconservative forbearers and liberators like George W. Bush and Danaerys Targaryen, we are going to have to engage in a little pre-emptive war-making if we are to save the planet. The United States will have to invade and occupy these countries, eliminate carbon dioxide from their societies and, in the case of Russia and China, free these people from brutal dictatorships.
Launching simultaneous land wars on the Russian steppes, the Indian subcontinent, and mainland China isn’t going to be easy. Invading and occupying these great masses of land and pacifying these great masses of peoples (in the unlikely event they don’t greet us as liberators) will far overtax our military as presently constructed. The only way we can ever bring these great civilizations to heel in fewer than a dozen years is through the reinstitution of the draft and the total mobilization of American society towards a war footing.
Now, many might oppose a full-scale draft, but again, we are assured this is an existential threat, the first since the Second World War. In 1940, the United States instituted the draft to prepare to defeat the global menace of Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Fascist Italy. We kept it in place for over a generation to check the global menace of international communism. Surely we can reinstitute it to halt the global menace of life-threatening climate change.
Progressive children already believe they are “fighting for [their] lives” by marching in protest against climate inaction. I say give them what they want and let them actually fight for their lives. These children should be filled with patriotic zeal and fervor, knowing that they would be making a true difference and could be the first kid on their block to get a confirmed kill in the name of saving the planet. Progressive parents should be proud to send their sons and daughters by the tens of millions across the globe to kill an enemy standing in the way of human progress.
Clearly, the urgency of our present crisis calls for something drastic. Perhaps millions of American youth will die ridding the world of the climate menace, but what a noble sacrifice. These heroes would be the first to tell you their lives are a small price to pay to ensure the continued existence of humanity on planet Earth.
Timothy Benson is a policy analyst with The Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.