Before we dive into the Supreme Court’s disastrous 6-3 decision to eradicate the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to combat climate change, we must first turn to the past.
The founding of the United States of America is so wildly misunderstood that it’s become depressingly laughable. The revolt of 1776 and the penning of the Constitution were not divinely inspired, nor were they simply momentous events that sprung from some irrepressible desire for freedom. These stories we are told are fairytales designed to simplify and mystify the workings of our world.
America’s push for independence was largely predicated on a desire by wealthy individuals to escape the financial arrangement with England and the timing of that revolt, in line with the birth of the system of capitalism, with an emphasis on property, is not coincidental. When the Founders began arranging a system of government, they designed it with a total emphasis on protection of property and every system was created specifically to curb democratic impulses through checks and balances preferencing white, wealthy men.
Now, to the present. Climate change is an apocalyptic threat and the result of the industrialization that created our modern world. Our system of production and consumption have brought us now to the edge of oblivion and any actual solution to the problem lies not with you or I recycling but with states reckoning with the problem. The Supreme Court, founded as a backstop in that system I described, is doing its job as it was designed. It is protecting the right of property and the pursuit of profits from any and all interference.
These past few weeks have been tough. The ruling on guns. The overturning of Roe V. Wade. Now this, along with word that the court will soon take on a case to determine the ability of states to further influence elections and their rules. It is a flood of authoritarian decisions in a moment where this system, this creaking, aging, cruel joke of a system, requires authoritarian decisions. The powerful would love for their exploitation to continue to lie behind a veneer of fairytales and lies. They would prefer if we believed in a meritocracy or a representative government that acts in our favor.
Those lies are losing their power. In fact, most people can see right through them. And in the face of a crisis of legitimacy and with mounting myriad crises resulting, the only thing that the system can do now is either embrace its actual authoritarian, elitist underpinnings, or give way to an alternative. The latter is simply unacceptable. And so the velvet glove comes off and the fist of iron comes into focus.
Capitalism will not let us solve the problem of climate change. To even begin to do so would strike a stake into the very heart of the system, open up the possibility of change, and run counter to everything this entire decaying structure was created to embody. The wealthy will run us into the oblivion of climate change and then profit off the destruction and misery that follows. Regardless of all the speeches you hear from Big Tech leaders or “concerned” CEOs about the need to do something, the system will simply not let that happen without a fight.
So let us take this horrid moment and make use of it.
The mask has slipped. The fairytales are irrefutably lies that we can see through with little to no effort. The Supreme Court is giving us an unadulterated glimpse at what this system is, what it cares about, and what it is capable of doing.
It would be so easy to despair and look away. But we have to stare at it. Recognize it. Really drink it in.
We are in a crisis. Pure and simple. The terms have never been more obvious. Neither have the consequences. Continuing along this path and continuing to believe these institutions and those who benefit from them are benevolent or even acting in good faith or good conscience has gotten us here, on the precipice of disaster.
Look at it. See it. Don’t look away.