Article 80

Green Warriors Are On A Mission To Stamp Out Prosperity As We Know It.

In an article in the Daily Telegraph of 28/9/21 entitled as above and sub-titled “The spike in energy prices proves that “saving the planet” means making the people poorer and less free’, Janet Daley catches the readers attention by claiming ‘maybe this is it’; that ‘tumultuous turning points in history are often scarcely noted as they happen because the changes are so incremental and mundane that they do not seem to be more than little local difficulties, but perhaps we are living through the dying moments of what one day will be seen as a golden age of mass prosperity and individual freedom that is destined to become mythic in the eyes of future generations’. She goes on to ask ‘what are the tiny steps that might be harbingers of this great collapse of the Age of Affluence with its expectations of self-determination and mobility’? ‘Has your energy supplier doubled your charges, or gone bust and handed you over to one of the small number of monopolistic corporations that will now control delivery of the most essential commodity in modern life’? She then suggests that ‘you might well say that could just be a consequence of global gas shortages’, but she then reminds us that ‘this running down of gas supplies has been a consequence of a deliberate climate policy without any proper thought having been given to how inadequate the alternatives to gas might be’; that wind mills are useless when the wind doesn’t blow’ and she rhetorically asks, ‘who knew that obvious fact’ and enquires ‘whether the government is now preparing to decree, in unprecedented statutory detail, precisely how you will be permitted to access the essential life-sustaining heating and fuel that your household requires’; and ‘whether this will effectively mean that its supply will take so much of your income that your consumption (and hence your lifestyle choices) will have to be sharply reduced’? Indeed, she goes on to ask ‘is the government quite deliberately proposing to make what have become the standards of living that ordinary people have come to expect, so expensive and problematic that they will once again become the province of the rich and powerful’?

Janet Daley then suggests that ‘perhaps her readers might think it fanciful to talk of the end of an era in terms of fuel bills and private transport’; but ‘what is significant about these deprivations is their inexorable direction and the callousness with which they are proposed’; that ‘Boris Johnson, doing his bizarre Marie Antoinette impersonation at the UN, seemed to have no understanding whatsoever of the hardship that his unthought-out, uncosted, unaccountable gallop to a green heaven would impose on huge swathes of the population who had come to think of themselves as free agents in an economically advanced, liberal society’; that ‘there is a very serious misalignment here between what are still (just) the political assumptions on which we understand our modern governing priorities to rest, and what is coming to be taken as an incontrovertible truth that cannot be resisted: a messianic recipe for saving the world which is so apocalyptic that it must not be delayed or mitigated even by what was once our most sacred social principle, that government should not enact measures which will inevitably damage the quality of life of people who are already disadvantaged’; and that ‘in other words, policies which disproportionately hurt the less well-off should not be en-acted’. Janet Daley then goes on to remind us that ‘the chief objective of 20th century democracy was to equalise the living conditions and economic opportunities of entire populations’; that ‘whatever your view of the urgency of climate change, it is critically important to recognise that many of the steps now being proposed (in some cases enshrined in law) to deal with what is now considered to be a global emergency are designed precisely to reverse that process’ (to eliminate the emergency); that ‘the quite explicit message, not only of the lunatics who block motorways but of the wider environmental movement is that too many people can afford too much’; that ‘this is the real force of the new incarnation of anti-capitalism’ which believes that ‘too great a proportion of the population can now spend money in ways which are potentially dangerous to the environment’; and that ‘it is free market economics which made this possible’; that ‘the planet (always spoken of as a sentient being in danger of “dying”) is suffering the consequences of (human) self-indulgence and profligacy’; that ‘the answer is to make sure by strategy or edict that either they are unable to afford their irresponsible behaviour or are actually banned from indulging it’; that ‘it is a mistake to ignore this aspect of morality at the core of militant environmentalism’; that the belief at the heart of this damaging confusion is that capitalism and the industrial revolution have led to this anthropological crisis while Marx himself understood industrialisation as the means of liberating the poor from agrarian serfdom’.

Thus, Janet Daley correctly takes the view that ‘the current environmentalist campaign is opposed to mass prosperity, to self-determination and ultimately to social equality; and that gas-bills are just the start’. I would add that having opposed fascist and communist dictatorships in the past, we are now walking into an environmentalist dictatorship under a self-styled conservative government; that the astonishing costs now cited as necessary to achiever net zero in carbon dioxide emissions are almost certain to increase as time goes by as they have done since the construction of HS2 was first announced, to take but one example of governmental cost estimates. 2/11/21.

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