Germany’s much ballyhooed Energiewende (transition to renewable energy) was supposed to show the whole world how switching over to green energy sources could reduce CO2 emissions, create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, provide cheap electricity to citizens, and heroically rescue the planet.
Ten years later, the very opposite has happened: Germany’s CO2 emissions have been increasing, electricity prices have skyrocketed, the green jobs bubble has popped, and tens of thousands of jobs have disappeared. Worse: tens of billions are being redistributed from the poor to the rich.
Other countries around the world have noticed and are thus having serious second thoughts about industrializing their landscapes with green energy systems like wind, solar and biogas. Germany has proven that green energy does not work well after all.
The methodological core of liberty-averse thinking is rationalism. The hallmark of rationalism is an exaggerated trust in the powers of reason to command and control human affairs.
Rationalism is probably the most popular intellectual attitude in the West - not surprisingly for it is thoroughly intuitive, and indeed useful and appropriate in many applications of everyday life and even in more arcane activities such as engineering or the natural sciences dealing with relatively simple types of order.
Rationalism is rooted in the tradition of anthropomorphic reasoning, which seeks to explain phenomena by analogising them to situations that man is used to and capable of handling successfully.
Instead of ascribing order to a transcendental creator, modern rationalism shifts responsibility for any kind of admissible order to the human mind.
There is an entire array of reasons enticing us to take this stance, which I will not go into here - but first and foremost, rationalism is a view point that is unacquainted with modern methods for comprehending orders of higher complexity. These methods could only be discovered when the evolutionary paradigm emerged, which opened the human mind to the possibility to self-creating order, i.e. the kind of orde that does not depend on personal authorship and synoptic mastery by a single intelligent originator.
The importance of cybernetic order is lost on most people, including, I'm afraid, most liberals.
Politics benefits hugely from our cerebral addiction for rationalistic linear causality. It's a great format to make things look intellectually clear cut, easy to comprehend and amenable to direct human control.
In fact, important strands of liberal thinking rely on rationalistic arguments, which Locke for instance takes over from Aquinas highly rationalistic thoughts on natural law. See Natural Ends and Prudential Judgement. The anarcho-capitalists wallow in the crudest rationalism, and the growing fringe of liberals (European sense) who have a hard time distinguishing themselves from anarchists tend to be of a rationalistic bend, unsurprisingly.
On the more mainstream front of rationalism, Keynesianism e.g. is a great relief for the popular mind (and, of course, politicians), because it divests the dismal science of uncomfortable, counter-intuitive features as epitomised in the invisible hand. The Keynesian mindset teaches us that the economy depends on only a few variables that can be handled by government and comprehended by any but the most obdurate minds.
Similarly, reducing the world climate to one factor - CO2 - is one of the great political feats that has been highly successful for a long time as it neatly panders to our rationalistic addiction.
Liberals make a big mistake in not arguing that theirs is the ecological world view. But even if they understood this all-important point, they are not likely to make much of a difference in a world with an insatiable demand for easy solutions geared to the control freak in us.
The folly of command and control is inextinguishable as it feeds on perhaps the most favourite among the patterns for which the human mind is on the lookout.
I have been arguing along these lines for years, and have never ever made a convert to my position. It is simply astounding how well insulated the rationalistic modern mind is against truly ecological thinking. So much for the age of ecological awareness.