Blog Archives

PASSING GAS IN THE TWOER WHILE THE EARTH IS BURNING UP

by Tom McBride

IS IT OK TO WRITE ABOUT FARTS WHILE THE PLANET BURNS Tom McBride  If climate policy and science fail and the weather in seventy years or so is a hot mess of extremes all over, then Montaigne becomes the perfect philosopher for climate collapse. This is not because he has any special insight into the conditions outside. Indeed, he might even have fled from them in his own lifetime of five hundred years ago. Although in his younger years he got around a lot, even to Rome, and while he rode on horseback to his various magisterial posts in France, before he was forty he famously retired to his aristocratic tower in the countryside to write down his thoughts. He   Read on »

DOES THE CLIMATE CRISIS NEED A SOCIAL CONTRACT?

by Tom McBride

DOES THE CLIMATE CFRISIS NEED A SOCIAL CONTRACT?  Tom McBride  Thales thought everything was made of water. Thomas Hobbes thought nearly everything was made of fear. He no doubt saw it as the prime human emotion. Fear was to Hobbes what Pride was to medieval theologians: the chief of its class, first among un-equals, in terms of deadly sins (theologians) or human emotions (Hobbes.  When in The Leviathan Hobbes said without a social contract human life would be “nasty, brutish, and short,” he was appealing to our fears. Who would not be scared to think their lives wold be so brutal, with the only redeeming feature being brevity? This is some distance from the existential condition of dread, angst, or anxiety. Hobbes traded   Read on »

DOES THE PLANET EARTH NEED A FINAL SOLUTION?

by Tom McBride

DOES THE EARTH NEED A FINAL SOLUTION?  Tom McBride  From a forthcoming book, The Surveillance of Icebergs: Great Philosophers and Climate Change.  Philosophers of existentialism would start with two simple facts. We were tossed upon the Earth without any choice in the matter. And we are all condemned to die. Our births are contingent. Our deaths are necessary. There is nothing we can do about either of these facts, and they form a huge chunk of what Simone de Beauvoir calls our “facticity,” as opposed to our “transcendence.” We are transcendent in that we can choose to die when we wish, if we wish to choose, and we are transcendent in that we can contemplate our death and its meaning, while   Read on »

THE SURVEILLANCE OF ICEBERGS: Time for a Check-Up!

by Tom McBride

WHO WILL KEEP THE ICEBERGS UNDER CONSTANT SURVEILLANCE? Tom McBride From a forthcoming book, The Surveillance of Icebergs: Great Philosophers and Climate Change      Life may be a tale told by an idiot, but the climate crisis is a tale told by experts. Suppose your body were the planet and it was getting uncomfortably hotter. You could always go to a guru and just say “cookie” a hundred times to ward off evil spirits, but you would likely consult an expert. This expert would study your body, monitor it with care, figure out what is wrong, and prescribe a treatment. This would entail some technology or other—perhaps pills, maybe surgery, or perhaps a sophisticated mandate for lifestyle change. Foucault termed   Read on »

WHAT FRANCIS BACON CAN TEACHER US ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE…..

by Tom McBride

WHAT CAN FRANCIS BACON TEACH US ABOUT THE CLIMATE CRISIS?  Tom McBride       Those who think there is a climate crisis believe in what is called “climate science.” But those who resist the very notion of a climate crisis dislike climate science and climate scientists as elitist alarmists. They see nothing terribly wrong, and every time there is a polar vortex in the northern hemisphere they say, “see: what did I tell you?” One could always turn to such people and say, “Well, you also see that wall over there, but in fact, it’s mostly just molecules and empty space.” This, however, is to invite more head-scratching and opposition.       Yet even those who applaud and credit climate science may have vexed   Read on »

WILL THE PLANET DROP DEAD LIKE A RUBBER BALL?

by Tom McBride

ARTH DIE BY BOUNCING LIKE A RUBBER ALL?  Tom McBride  Professor John Passmore explains David Hume’s theory of induction with the following story. A small child is always given a nice gift of soft furry toys, such as teddy bears and little baby elephants. He sometimes drop them, and they land with an almost inaudible sound. Then one day the lad is given a rubber ball instead of a soft,, wooly, stuffed thing. He drops the rubber ball, and to his astonishment, it bounces up      He is gobsmacked. According to Hume, he could not have predicted this bounce because he had never had any experience of rubber balls before, and according to Hume as well,we gain knowledge of things only   Read on »

CAN GEN Z SAVE GOD—AND THE PLANET, TOO? Tom McBride

by Tom McBride

The climate change narrative is a tale of impending catastrophe. There are three main actors: greenhouse gases, floods & fires & famines, and Generation Z. The latter is young and scared furious about the world they will inherit and insist that something be done to reverse the heating of the planet. Yet a prominent environmental lawyer said not long ago that even if every environmental law were perfectly enforced, it wouldn’t be enough to reverse the growing concentration of carbon dioxide in the upper atmosphere. Tony Blair has observed that only by cutting back national economies can our current climate change be arrested, and no nation wants to go first and alone.  What can help? What can motivate humankind to   Read on »

WILL COVID-19 CLOSE THE GENERATION GAP: A Marist Mindset Memo

by Tom McBride

Dear Boomers and Millennials: We must shed the coronavirus of division and complacency among us. This is your Hopeful Leader speaking. You have been apart, for Millennials feel that capitalism has worked for Boomers but not for them, and that Boomers have gotten the lion’s share of capitalism’s benefits. Meanwhile, Boomers don’t know wy Millennials would rather look at their smart phones than look at them. But that was all before Covid. After Covid the two generations—you young and old alike—can come together. The Generation Gap will have passed, along with the virus itself. What can I say, and how shall I lead, in order to make this come about?  First, Covid has taught us that Evil is no respecter   Read on »