An essential element of the emerging new religion that binds modern people is the new piety: ecological concern. It is not wrong, but it is framed in such a way as to paralyse. For example, the auto manufacturers have produced new cars with drastically smaller carbon footprints, and naturally motorists want to own one, because it will ease his conscience about climate change. But he rarely asks about all the processes that bring that car to us: the sweeping away of inconveniently placed rain-forests, the mining of the minerals, and all the technological and industrial processes that converge to produce that car with a small carbon footprint. All those processes amount to a huge carbon footprint, and yet the private person has been taught to worry about his very own personal and much smaller footprint.Â
More alarming is the fact that we cannot distance those corporations as the work of wicked capitalists, for by and large modern man and woman work for those corporations, especially if we realistically count the state as merely another corporation in a corporate world. The state trains people in the institutions laughingly called education to take their place unquestioningly in the corporate world, the garages which claim to dispense something called medicine repair the mis-functioning and return them to the job, and the army dutifully defends corporate interests wherever they are threatened.
So that really significant carbon footprint of what we might call the titans is ours, but we have no control over it. Our voice is not heard, and is not going to be heard. Indeed, so accustomed are we to the idea that we are not going to be heard that we carry out our orders unhesitatingly and keep ecology as a hobby.Â
Thus Adolf Eichmann is the symbol for our age. When accused of sending uncountable numbers of Jews to their deaths through his arrangement of the transport to the concentration camps, his defence was that he was only obeying orders; he was simply doing his job. That is the condition of modern man: he is doing his job; the army in Iraq and Afghanistan has a job to do. They need to get on with the job. It is treachery to undermine them in the job they have to do, etc.
But what drives all of this, apart from modern man’s not-inconsiderable passive acquiescence in the crime? State and corporation all are dependent on finance and its mysterious operations. But that is the subject for another day.