There is something in the human psyche that must abhor tranquility. The resilience born of suffering and sacrifice, after all, is not afforded those who languish in prosperity and comfort. Though we are not without significant personal and public challenges, they pale compared to those endured during the Great Depression and the Second World War. And so, bequeathed an inferiority complex, we seem eager to appropriate these terrible experiences for ourselves.
The scale of the threat posed by climatic and environmental changes is just not comparable to an aggressive fascist menace and the collapse of the global economy. Perhaps that’s why advocates for radical environmental policy prescriptions are so eager to borrow from the Greatest Generation’s hardships if only to lend psychological urgency to a cause that is empirically lacking.