# 'The Greening of America'

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“It isn’t red or blue, it’s green”  (Rupert Murdoch -  CEO Fox News)

Back in 1970, a Yale Law professor called Charles A. Reich published a popular best-seller called ‘The Greening of America’. For practically anyone who went to college in the first half of the 1970s at the height of the Vietnam War, the Pentagon papers and the Watergate scandal, this book was a vade mecum of those turbulent times.

Often described as a paean to the counterculture, ‘The Greening of America’ contrasted three types of world view:

i.  The typical values and opinions of rural farmers and small business people in 19th century America

ii.  The organizational and institutional meritocracy of the New Deal, WW2 and the Silent Generation

iii. The counterculture of the 1960s focusing on personal freedom, egalitarianism, and recreational drugs.

If you were to try and pick one book from that period that epitomises almost everything that modern American conservatives most detest in their culture wars against ‘wokeness', then Charles A. Reich’s ‘The Greening of America’ with its panygerics to rock music, cannabis, and blue jeans would probably be it.

A different type of ‘Greening’ is now alluded to by Rupert Murodch. He was being deposed under oath in the $1.7 billion defamation law suit brought by Dominion Voting Systems as to why Fox allowed cranks and lunatics like Mike Lindell to advertise and spread toxic election lies on Fox in the wake of the 2020 presidential election. Murdoch’s reply “It isn’t red or blue, it’’s green” indicates that it was purely a cash driven decision with no respect for the truth, objective fact, or journalistic integrity. Fox feared they would lose their base audience to even more extreme fringe channels like OAN or NewsMax if they didn’t pander to the ignorance and bigotry of their viewers. The question is - which is likely to prevail in the longer term ? Will the values of Rupert Murdoch and Fox become the new ‘Green’, or will there be a reawakening of that of Charles A. Reich ? ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites 1 hour ago, toucana said: “It isn’t red or blue, it’s green” (Rupert Murdoch - CEO Fox News) Back in 1970, a Yale Law professor called Charles A. Reich published a popular best-seller called ‘The Greening of America’. For practically anyone who went to college in the first half of the 1970s at the height of the Vietnam War, the Pentagon papers and the Watergate scandal, this book was a vade mecum of those turbulent times. Often described as a paean to the counterculture, ‘The Greening of America’ contrasted three types of world view: i. The typical values and opinions of rural farmers and small business people in 19th century America ii. The organizational and institutional meritocracy of the New Deal, WW2 and the Silent Generation iii. The counterculture of the 1960s focusing on personal freedom, egalitarianism, and recreational drugs. If you were to try and pick one book from that period that epitomises almost everything that modern American conservatives most detest in their culture wars against ‘wokeness', then Charles A. Reich’s ‘The Greening of America’ with its panygerics to rock music, cannabis, and blue jeans would probably be it. A different type of ‘Greening’ is now alluded to by Rupert Murodch. He was being deposed under oath in the$1.7 billion defamation law suit brought by Dominion Voting Systems as to why Fox allowed cranks and lunatics like Mike Lindell to advertise and spread toxic election lies on Fox in the wake of the 2020 presidential election. Murdoch’s reply “It isn’t red or blue, it’’s green”  indicates that it was purely a cash driven decision with no respect for the truth, objective fact, or journalistic integrity. Fox feared they would lose their base audience to even more extreme fringe channels like OAN or NewsMax if they didn’t pander to the ignorance and bigotry of their viewers.

The question is - which is likely to prevail in the longer term ? Will the values of Rupert Murdoch and Fox become the new ‘Green’, or will there be a reawakening of that of Charles A. Reich ?

If Fox loses, it certainly wont be green for them.

But I'm not sure why you see Reich vs. Fox as the only 2 choices. Surely we are going somewhere else now, aren't we?

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, toucana said:

The question is - which is likely to prevail in the longer term ? Will the values of Rupert Murdoch and Fox become the new ‘Green’, or will there be a reawakening of that of Charles A. Reich ?

Rupert Murodch's "greening" is just the rise of capitalism as the dominant belief system, and it's been happening all over the world for centuries, ever since corruption in the Catholic church led to the Enlightenment. It was obvious in the Roaring '20s, it accelerated in the 1950s (under the cover of Joe McCarthy's Red Scare), and it's been pretty much taken for granted since the 1980s, when the Berlin Wall fell and Ronald Reagan made "Liberal" a swear word. The FOX News thing is just one random event that will probably be eclipsed by bigger and even worse events in the not-too-distant future.

What's really interesting is the resurgence of religious conservatism, which has also been rising globally and has the potential to unseat capitalism as the world's organizing philosophy. Environmentalism will always be around, but it doesn't inspire most people under most circumstances.

Edited by Lorentz Jr
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9 minutes ago, Lorentz Jr said:

Rupert Murodch's "greening" is just the rise of capitalism as the dominant belief system, and it's been happening all over the world for centuries, ever since corruption in the Catholic church led to the Enlightenment. It was obvious in the Roaring '20s, it accelerated in the 1950s (under the cover of Joe McCarthy's Red Scare), and it's been pretty much taken for granted since the 1980s, when the Berlin Wall fell and Ronald Reagan made "Liberal" a swear word. The FOX News thing is just one random event that will probably be eclipsed by bigger and even worse events in the not-too-distant future.

What's really interesting is the resurgence of religious conservatism, which has also been rising globally and has the potential to unseat capitalism as the world's organizing philosophy. Environmentalism will always be around, but it doesn't inspire most people under most circumstances.

Not sure you are right about environmentalism. It seems to be the dominant ideology among the young these days, as I know from the associates of my 19yr old son, now at university. .

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2 minutes ago, exchemist said:

Not sure you are right about environmentalism. It seems to be the dominant ideology among the young these days, as I know from the associates of my 19yr old son, now at university. .

Young, university-educated Westerners.

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Posted (edited)
1 minute ago, Lorentz Jr said:

Young, university-educated Westerners.

Isn't that where just about all ideologies start? Certainly true of the Reich example.

Edited by exchemist
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1 minute ago, exchemist said:

Isn't that where just about all ideologies start?

Maybe liberal ideologies.

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10 minutes ago, Lorentz Jr said:

Maybe liberal ideologies.

Sure. Nativist movements like Trumpism certainly don't tend to come from university students, nor religious fundamentalism.

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, exchemist said:

Sure. Nativist movements like Trumpism certainly don't tend to come from university students, nor religious fundamentalism.

Exactly. And they've been getting popular lately. Republicans and Evangelicals in the US, Orbán in Hungary, Duterte in the Philippines, Erdoğan in Turkey, Netanyahu's conservative coalition in Israel, AfD in Germany, Obrador in Mexico, Lukashenko in Belarus, and of course Putin, Xi, and Kim -- lots of countries turning to authoritarianism, religious and/or national.

Edited by Lorentz Jr
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2 minutes ago, Lorentz Jr said:

Exactly. And they've been getting popular lately. US Republicans and Evangelicals, Hungary, the Philippines, Turkey, Israel, Germany, Mexico, Belarus -- lots of countries turning to authoritarianism, religious and/or national.

True. Though we are starting to see them screw up: Trump, Boris Johnson, Erdogan, Putin, Bolsonaro......

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4 minutes ago, exchemist said:

True. Though we are starting to see them screw up: Trump, Boris Johnson, Erdogan, Putin, Bolsonaro......

Whatever. More and more workers are starting to realize that capitalism isn't helping them (r > g), many of them are turned off by cultural liberalism, and environmentalism doesn't really provide solutions to those problems.

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3 hours ago, toucana said:

The question is - which is likely to prevail in the longer term ? Will the values of Rupert Murdoch and Fox become the new ‘Green’, or will there be a reawakening of that of Charles A. Reich ?

It may help to look at the major trends that capitalism has wrought, which is the move towards automation and the decline in employment among males (who were in large proportion doing many tasks that automation is replacing).  Something like 3% of males age 24-54 (the statistical "prime" working period) were unemployed in 1960.  It's now 11% or maybe a bit more (I saw those stats a while back).  (Women are doing better, with higher rates of college completion and employment)  Social science research, from what I've gleaned, has found a lot of these men have given up on work (even people out of work for six months are regarded with suspicion by potential hirers) and log an inordinate amount of screen time - web surfing, video games, porn.

My guess is that this segment will develop many psychological problems (and already have, as rising opiate addiction in that cohort indicates), to which society will slowly and painfully respond as premature death rates soar.  One response might be of the Charles Reich variety, where a slacker culture develops that is focused on self-realization through creativity, lifelong learning, and spiritual practice.   Those who don't work will turn to the arts, or to spiritual communalism, perhaps with some volunteerism in the mix.  There will be many tries at easing that basic human hunger for purposeful activity and personal growth - "getting off the couch" will a sort of heroic journey for many currently pinned there in their electronic (or chemical) addictions.  For others, there may be a long overdue shift in male thinking about "women's jobs," like nursing, home care, preschool, and primary school teaching, and a healthy shift towards more men in those fields.

In any outcome, there will be more people unemployed in the traditional sense, and a possible "greening" as there become creative and spiritual niches for that segment of society.  I wonder if anti-capitalist belief systems, like Buddhism, might become more appealing to those who, either through choice or circumstance, will not be on the consumerist treadmill.

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2 hours ago, TheVat said:

It may help to look at the major trends that capitalism has wrought, which is the move towards automation and the decline in employment among males (who were in large proportion doing many tasks that automation is replacing).  Something like 3% of males age 24-54 (the statistical "prime" working period) were unemployed in 1960.  It's now 11% or maybe a bit more (I saw those stats a while back).  (Women are doing better, with higher rates of college completion and employment)  Social science research, from what I've gleaned, has found a lot of these men have given up on work (even people out of work for six months are regarded with suspicion by potential hirers) and log an inordinate amount of screen time - web surfing, video games, porn.

My guess is that this segment will develop many psychological problems (and already have, as rising opiate addiction in that cohort indicates), to which society will slowly and painfully respond as premature death rates soar.  One response might be of the Charles Reich variety, where a slacker culture develops that is focused on self-realization through creativity, lifelong learning, and spiritual practice.   Those who don't work will turn to the arts, or to spiritual communalism, perhaps with some volunteerism in the mix.  There will be many tries at easing that basic human hunger for purposeful activity and personal growth - "getting off the couch" will a sort of heroic journey for many currently pinned there in their electronic (or chemical) addictions.  For others, there may be a long overdue shift in male thinking about "women's jobs," like nursing, home care, preschool, and primary school teaching, and a healthy shift towards more men in those fields.

In any outcome, there will be more people unemployed in the traditional sense, and a possible "greening" as there become creative and spiritual niches for that segment of society.  I wonder if anti-capitalist belief systems, like Buddhism, might become more appealing to those who, either through choice or circumstance, will not be on the consumerist treadmill.

In Japan they currently have a growing problem of the hikikomori ( 引きこもり - ‘inward withdrawal’), an official Japanese term for up to 541,000 young people aged between 15 and 39 who have become completely reclusive, and who haven’t left their homes or interacted with other people for at least six months.

The term was coined in the 1980s to describe a condition often triggered by anxiety and depression arising from early adolescent failure to cope with the competitive pressures of modern life in Japan. The numbers of male hikikomori also appear to be higher than among women, owing to the higher presssures and social expectations placed on men in Japanese society.

This seems to be a rather good match for what TheVat was saying here about slackers who have given up on everything, not just work. Some western psychiatrists describe the hikikomori as ‘post-modern hermits’. It has also led to discussion of what some call the “80-50 problem” which refers to the problem of earlier born hikikomori children who are now entering their 50’s, as their parents on whom they rely, are entering their 80’s.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, exchemist said:

Not sure you are right about environmentalism. It seems to be the dominant ideology among the young these days, as I know from the associates of my 19yr old son, now at university. .

Increasingly climate concerns are mainstream concerns, including by increasing numbers of capitalists who recognise both growing potential for future climate liability and emerging business opportunities. The denial thing with green-left blaming (in the US, "liberal") was always more a case of capitalists in name only seeking to evade accountability, ie using their power and influence in "soft" (but still very damaging) corruption.

Businesses being responsible and accountable for harms done under the law has always been compatible with and even essential to capitalism as an ideology. When environmentalists were the only voices people were hearing on climate it was easier for business lobbies opposed to accountability on behalf of their members to associate the issue with "anti-capitalist" fringe politics; those leaning right have been strongly discouraged from taking up the issue or admitting there is legitimate grounds for regulatory intervention - but that is no longer so clearly the case.

I'm not so sure that Environmentalism's other issues can achieve a similar level of mainstream support - and ultimately the climate issue will have no special association with Environmentalists.

Edited by Ken Fabian
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1 hour ago, Ken Fabian said:

Businesses being responsible and accountable for harms done under the law has always been compatible with and even essential to capitalism as an ideology. When environmentalists were the only voices people were hearing on climate it was easier for business lobbies opposed to accountability on behalf of their members to associate the issue with "anti-capitalist" fringe politics; those leaning right have been strongly discouraged from taking up the issue or admitting there is legitimate grounds for regulatory intervention - but that is no longer so clearly the case.

Let's be clear on this. From at least the mid-1930's the energy sector has been fully aware of the long term impact of burning fossil fuels due to the advice given by its chemists and chemical engineers who understood the principles first clearly articulated by Svante Arrhenius in the 1890's.

Their position has been uniformly duplicitous ever since. They have not the slightest interest in rational debate. They see it simply as a war of words. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to respond accordingly.

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8 hours ago, toucana said:

In Japan they currently have a growing problem of the hikikomori ( 引きこもり - ‘inward withdrawal’), an official Japanese term for up to 541,000 young people aged between 15 and 39 who have become completely reclusive, and who haven’t left their homes or interacted with other people for at least six months.

The term was coined in the 1980s to describe a condition often triggered by anxiety and depression arising from early adolescent failure to cope with the competitive pressures of modern life in Japan. The numbers of male hikikomori also appear to be higher than among women, owing to the higher presssures and social expectations placed on men in Japanese society.

This seems to be a rather good match for what TheVat was saying here about slackers who have given up on everything, not just work. Some western psychiatrists describe the hikikomori as ‘post-modern hermits’. It has also led to discussion of what some call the “80-50 problem” which refers to the problem of earlier born hikikomori children who are now entering their 50’s, as their parents on whom they rely, are entering their 80’s.

One of the stages of the Calhoun experiment.

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11 hours ago, Sensei said:

One of the stages of the Calhoun experiment.

Sometimes the Norway rats are listless and depressed because they're pining for the fjords.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/2/2023 at 1:28 PM, sethoflagos said:

Let's be clear on this. From at least the mid-1930's the energy sector has been fully aware of the long term impact of burning fossil fuels due to the advice given by its chemists and chemical engineers who understood the principles first clearly articulated by Svante Arrhenius in the 1890's.

Their position has been uniformly duplicitous ever since. They have not the slightest interest in rational debate. They see it simply as a war of words. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to respond accordingly.

I am not so convinced the confidence in science linking fossil fuel burning to significant and harmful climate change went so far back as the 1930's. Most of the significant factors affecting climate stability were recognised and to some extent quantified but it was a long way short of what was needed for confident prediction; in some respects it was remarkable that a warming "signal" could be found at all, eg by Callendar. And those who did find them and expressed concern about it (Arrhenius, from a cold country, thought some warming would be good) weren't taken very seriously - and not from duplicity, but because not only was the effect very small and global industrialisation at the scales that make it significant were not certain, there was also legitimate scientific dispute; for example it was thought ocean take down of CO2 would be too rapid for a lot of atmospheric buildup - basic understanding of gas exchange with water suggested that. It wasn't until Roger Revelle and Hans Suess demonstrated the pH buffering (Revelle Factor) that slows CO2 exchange with ocean water in the 1950's that it became more credible. And that was a time of rapid growth of fossil fuel burning - and that is a circumstance that initially makes more cooling from aerosols than warming from GHG's. That rapid growth was also a time of growing prosperity and an absence of scalable clean energy options; suggesting growth of fossil fuel use be stopped didn't have any real support.

That initial cooling and later warming is because aerosol cooling effects are about the rate of sulphate pollution at the time (effectively, over the time scales that are relevant), whilst the warming from the enhanced greenhouse is about the total cumulative amount over time; any coal burning plant will make sulphates at full capacity from the start with the full amount of aerosol driven climate cooling within days to weeks. At some point in time the accumulated CO2 emissions will make warming equal the cooling effect - back to climate zero - and after that it will have a greater warming effect. Stop the coal burning and the aerosol cooling not only stops quickly - days to weeks - it takes things back to the pre-pollution state. But the raised CO2 remains for centuries, with oceans the greatest sink - but slowly because of The Revelle Factor.

The 1975 NAS report "Understanding Climatic Change: A Program for Action" was still short of confidence that future climate change could be predicted, but did suggest what needed to be done for that to be possible, the "program for action" part. Reducing sulphate aerosols was more about acid rain and visible pollution than climate change - the aerosol cooling problem - but reducing sulphate emissions (or the rate of their growth) probably did make the warming from enhanced greenhouse become more apparent.

Until the 1980's I don't think the fossil fuel energy industry needed to respond in any way to climate change concerns - warming or cooling; I think the duplicity, the doubt, deny, delay politicking, is much more recent, in line with credible advice to the US government that global cooling fears could be put to rest, but the reason why was a serious global warming problem.

Edited by Ken Fabian
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On 3/1/2023 at 12:28 PM, TheVat said:

Something like 3% of males age 24-54 (the statistical "prime" working period) were unemployed in 1960.  It's now 11% or maybe a bit more (I saw those stats a while back)

3.1% now

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35 minutes ago, Ken Fabian said:

I am not so convinced the confidence in science linking fossil fuel burning to significant and harmful climate change went so far back as the 1930's. Most of the significant factors affecting climate stability were recognised and to some extent quantified but it was a long way short of what was needed for confident prediction; in some respects it was remarkable that a warming "signal" could be found at all, eg by Callendar.

There are (as usual) many good points in what you say. But I'll counter with a question.

Why when meteorology was quite a long established discipline, did it require a steam engineer, Guy Callendar, to ring the alarm bells?

The key is I think summed up in this quote from https://www.thermopedia.com/content/796/.

Quote

In most process heaters, the major part of the heat transfer from the hot gases to the tubes is by radiation. To calculate the radiative component it is necessary to know the effective emissivity, εg, of the combustion gases (typical value 0.25). This is dependent on the ratio of the partial pressures of CO2 and H2, the temperatures of the gas and the radiation source and the effective size of the radiating gas cloud. The latter is represented by the term pLo, the product of partial pressure and effective length of the furnace—a term first introduced by H. C. Hottel. For details of the procedure see Hottel and Sarofim (1967) and Hewitt, Shires and Bott (1994).

The rate of heat transfer to the furnace product is also a function of the geometry of the tube banks and the fraction of the furnace surface area covered by them.

In other words, in order to design an efficient furnace, one needs a very clear understanding of the emissivity of CO2. A level of understanding that wouldn't be at all common in other disciplines (such as meteorology).

Combustion engineering was a fairly mature technology by the 1930's and it would not have required a genius among them to extrapolate the behaviour of CO2 inside the furnace out into the wider environment. Indeed, various individuals had been doing this over the previous century or so.

Callendar was simply the first to collect a reasonable dataset of historic climate records that indicated increasing anthropogenic warming correlating with an understanding that was largely concentrated within the energy and utilities sectors of industry.

I guess that some meterologists at the time might have had there noses put out of joint at being upstaged by a mere engineer.

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35 minutes ago, swansont said:

Sigh.  Thank you.  I relied on a New Yorker article for that grossly wrong figure - a good magazine but you really have to factcheck them these days.  Now I'm wondering where on earth the writer got that 11% number from.  I wonder if that figure was some subgroup that would make more sense.  Will delve further tomorrow.

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11 hours ago, TheVat said:

Sigh.  Thank you.  I relied on a New Yorker article for that grossly wrong figure - a good magazine but you really have to factcheck them these days.  Now I'm wondering where on earth the writer got that 11% number from.  I wonder if that figure was some subgroup that would make more sense.  Will delve further tomorrow.

It spiked high in ‘20 during the lockdown (higher still in ‘10 as part of the crash) so an article from a while back might have been focusing on the unemployment numbers from the last administration

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4 hours ago, swansont said:

It spiked high in ‘20 during the lockdown (higher still in ‘10 as part of the crash) so an article from a while back might have been focusing on the unemployment numbers from the last administration

I found the article, from this January 30.  It appears the metric was not based on unemployment stats, but on men who are not working or seeking work or on unemployment rolls.  Hence the different number.

What should we make of the growing tendency of men to drop out of the workforce? In the past half century, fewer and fewer men have returned to work after each recession—like a ball that can never match its previous height as it rebounds. In 1960, ninety-seven per cent of men of “prime age,” between twenty-five and fifty-four, were working. Today, close to one in nine prime-age men is neither working nor seeking work. In the recently reissued “Men Without Work: Post-Pandemic Edition” (Templeton), the conservative demographer and economist Nicholas Eberstadt points out that men are now employed at roughly the same rate as in 1940, back when America was still recovering from the Great Depression...

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