On Robert Jay Lifton

It is painful to see the descent of a public intellectual as esteemed as psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton into the role of climate hysteric. Writing in the New York Times, Lifton, now 92, exhorts us to "avert civilization-ending catastrophe." Astonishingly—for a man so well-acquainted with the torments of psychological anguish—he claims to welcome the "apocalyptic fear aroused by the recent destructive hurricanes" for mobilizing public opinion against "climate rejecters" like Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt. Few Americans know better than Lifton the agonies of the threat of annihilation. Yet today he invokes a dystopia every bit as annihilatory as the totalitarian worlds he once did so much to illuminate.