A blessed and joyous Epiphany week to all our readers, in these last days of the Christmas season, leading up to the Baptism of the Lord and His public ministry.
And on the public ministry of His current vicar, in a recent address to world leaders – technically, to the Diplomatic Corps accredited by the Holy See – Pope Francis reiterated on the obligation of nations to accept migrants and refugees – which is fine in theory, but, like all theories, must be discerned in practice. I would refer the reader to what thoughts I offered a while back, on thinking through any work of charity.
The Holy Father also continues his concern for the environment – again, fine in theory, for who should want to exploit the Earth? My own concern is with toggling this ecology with the scientifically dubious bogeyman of ‘global warming’ – up there, or down there, with the geocentrism of old, with the exception that the latter had some means of being disproved (with stellar parallax, in 1838, by Friedrich Bessel). As Pope Francis puts it:
Hence, among the issues urgently calling for an agreement within the international community are care for the environment and climate change. In this regard, also in the light of the consensus reached at the recent International Conference on Climate Change (COP24) held in Katowice, I express my hope for a more decisive commitment on the part of states to strengthening cooperation for urgently combating the worrisome phenomenon of global warming. The earth belongs to everyone, and the consequences of its exploitation affect all the peoples of the world, even if certain regions feel those consequences more dramatically.
I would gently refer the reader to my own thoughts on Katowice and the whole climate change phenomenon. Protecting the planet from exploitation, sure; but what this means is another whole question.
Whether the Earth is ‘warming’ or not, and what is causing said warming, is a scientific hypothesis – a shaky one at that – to which we may never have a definitive answer. Even more troubling is the evil ideology that lies behind much environmentalism, keeping in mind as exhibit A the whole Anthropocene project, upon which Paula Adamick waxes eloquent, with its implicit premise that the extinction of ‘anthropois’ – that is, us – would not be a bad idea, bringing the planet back to an Edenic paradise – minus the humans, of course.
The stock market continues its precipitous roller coaster ride – including some deep declines of late – as Apple has lost half a trillion dollars, more than the entire GDP of a whole host of nations. If the upgrading of i-phones is propping up the world economy – and one is not sure what is doing the propping – then we’re all in trouble. As David Warren pointed out recently, much of the stock market is fake, with options traded, bought and sold at near-light speed, often by disembodied algorithms, with the connection to anything human becoming more and more remote. We are awash in electronic ephemera made, packaged and delivered by robots. One never knows when this whole electronic house of cards is going to come crashing down.
And all the while, Canadian debt levels, both individual and governmental, continue to rise to what any previous generation would consider insane levels, leveraged way beyond their means. The slight rise in interest rates is causing many to declare bankruptcy, which just piles that toxic debt onto the rest of us, and future generations.
Idealistic or not, some return back to E.F. Schumacher’s exhortation to Small is Beautiful seems well past time, so that we know what we’re making, buying, selling and trading, all in the context of a ‘real’ economy of flesh, blood and soul human persons.
A final, eschatological note, that the head of the Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kiril, has suggested that ‘smart’ phones will help usher in the era of the Antichrist, which personage will be at the head of the World Wide Web. Perhaps. But I am at least convinced that is said smart phones ceased to exist tomorrow – say, a electromagnetic pulse from some benevolent alien force – the world would likely be a whole lot smarter, and I dare say holier.