“Lets [sic] start dismantling the ramblings of this colonial, supremacist piece of [expletive censored, for civility].”
I woke up on Monday morning to find an angry email from a certain Luke Barnesmoore, the director of the University of British Columbia Urban Studies Lab, in Canada, who has penned an essay about my sickly “A.D. Worldview(s)”. “I’m quite confident you’ll find all of your very worst nightmares in my writings, and I would love to discourse with you about the demons that haunt your sleep.” He provided links to several of his essays, including a piece called “Destroying the Abrahamic Edifice of Western Civilization: The Pagan Barbarians of the North are Coming,” raging, “We must destroy patriarchy, capitalism, western legal systems and all other manifestations of the sickly, hierarchical ontology of dualism that arises from the poison contained within the fruits of the tree of good and evil.” (I hope the Canadian taxpayers are aware that this is what they are funding as research!)
“Pagan Barbarians” is a “response” to my latest article in The Federalist, “Climate Worship Is Nothing More Than Rebranded Paganism.” I argued there that environmentalism is a neo-pagan, Gaia-worshipping cult exploited by cynical ideologues who wish to destroy the Christian-capitalist edifice of Western civilization. My brio caused a minor storm on Twitter, and prompted both snarky blogposts and serious theological debates.
Out of curiosity, I googled him to find exactly the mugshot of a lifeform, who I expected would call me, an Indian born, residing in the UK, as a “colonial, supremacist”; complete with semi-literate jargon and the obsessive tweeting. Score another one for stereotype accuracy. I hesitate to dwell on the irony, or the poor grammar. I suppose those are also hetero-patriarchal-supremacist concepts.
Barnesmoore’s “response” responds to nothing that I wrote. It’s a rant:
The barbarians of the north have indeed awakened. We are marching on Rome. ‘Today Rome will burn.’(Chronixx 2012) Only then will we return to reciprocal cosmologies/ontologies of dualism wherein virtue/justice/goodness understood as dependent upon wedding the polarities of natural dualities like light/dark and masculine/feminine. Only then will we remember that we are a part of nature. Only then will we remember that we are one. Only then will we remember how to love. Only then will we remember how to be human. Only then will shed the sickly quest to impose an artificial replica of the Nothing-Infinite Eternal’s unity and regularity upon manifestation through domination of difference and irregularity.
And more like that for two pages. Undeterred by his rhetorical limitations, in his comical anarchist zeal, our protagonist persevered. Needless to mention, with that prose, the scope of his future academic achievement remains limited and bleak. Barnesmoore doesn’t even like Marxism that much anymore, because “its preservation of the hierarchical worldview(s) of its Greco-Roman/Abrahamic antecedents (e.g. ‘wanting to conquer nature’) is exactly what renders the redeeming qualities as null and void.” He almost made me nostalgic for Trotsky, here, saying, “Man … will learn how to move rivers and mountains, how to build people’s palaces on the peaks of the Mont Blanc and at the bottom of the Atlantic.” I prefer old Bronstein to a twerking climate Chippendales reject any day of the week.
My original argument was simple. Everything that you’re being fed in the name of environmentalism is neo-paganist gobbledygook, which seeks to destroy all that has been created in the Judeo-Christian (and capitalist) west. It aspires to take away right to property, private ownership, freedom of individual actions and thoughts, and it seeks to topple the edifice of enlightenment and capitalism. And it is cynically being used by ideologues, who are opposed to the west, as they see that as the manifestation of everything, they deem evil, something, which is so patently obvious to anyone with a functioning brain and double-digit IQ, that it barely needs elaboration.
It is prudent to ignore trolls, as one often does on twitter or emails or in the comment sections. Trolls offer nothing new, and they feed on attention. Deny them attention, and they crawl back to their pathetic existence. I could have also ignored this particular one. But I chose not to, because of two reasons. Sometimes you need to gut one, to make an example. Barnesmoore is a perfect example of everything that’s wrong with Western academia. His academic profile led me to “An Anarchist Manifesto” and “The Elephant in the Room: Abrahamic Worldview(s) and Terrorism”, jargon-clotted screeds against capitalism and Christianity. For example:
Rather than anarchical self/collective-governance centered in/oriented by the liminal space between time and the timeless that exists within each of us, we come to believe that we must be governed by an external authority like the child murdering, genocide ordering fallen trickster who masquerades as creator in the Old Testament.
A cross between a Monty Python skit and a postmodern jargon random text generator, our protagonist is also a standard Western activist/academic—a polysyllabic apologist for whatever thugs of the day want an excuse to take a crowbar to anyone who wants to defend thought, decency, or civilization; grooming urban insurgents for barbarism, in Washington, London, and throughout the West. Some are members of the Extinction Rebellion cult. Others are lonely Eco-Fascist losers, such as the El Paso and the Christchurch shooters, enraged by the very existence of the civilization to which they owe everything including the laptops on which they type their Internet rants.
Pity. I’m one of those “colonial, supremacist, capitalist, conservatives” who thinks we should take climate change seriously, and think up sensible policy solutions to address its dangers. But the witch doctors summoning up demons to dismantle civilization and usher in the Long Night are a much larger threat than an extra two inches of seawater on the London quays. Our taxpayers and tuition dollars pay the salaries for all such Barnesmoores. Bad enough we’ve got no end of buffoons; worse to be forced to pay for them. In a good world, Barnesmoore would have to do some manual labour for a living.
I suppose that’s the demon that haunts one’s sleep.
Sumantra Maitra is a Senior Contributor for The Federalist, and a Doctoral researcher, awaiting viva, at the University of Nottingham. His research is related to great power politics, the balance of power, and neorealism.