Recently by James Delingpole: O’Bama? Oh Puh-lease!
At the weekend I celebrated my 46th birthday but please don’t wish me any belated happy returns. Like many of you reading this I never imagined, looking into my future as a child, that the time of my life when I should have been settling in to some form of middle-aged security and contentment would instead coincide with a global economic crisis now threatening to eclipse even the Great Depression.
As Matthew Norman has noted we are currently still in the Phoney War stage of the Great Global Economic Meltdown. We know in our bones that things are going to get worse, much worse. At the same time, our collective cognitive dissonance — the same cognitive dissonance that brought us to this dreadful pass in the first place — is still contriving to reassure us that things will all be right somehow. All we have to do is keep on muddling through and, er –
Sorry, but it will require more than naive optimism to get us through this one. The only choice we now face is between bad and really, really bad. Which option we get will depend on how quickly we’re prepared to jettison our old foolish value systems and adapt to the new circumstances. Here is a list of ten stupid ideas we’re going to have learn to live without if we’re going to survive the current conflagration.
1. Pointless wars of liberal intervention. Libya is the obvious one. By Pravda’s estimates it’s costing Britain “100,000 USD of their taxpayers’ money per aircraft per hour, every single day since February 17.” After Libya we should exit Afghanistan. Our interests are not being served there; we’re never going to win; it is costing us the brightest and best of our youth.
2. The Climate Change Act. This is arguably the most expensive, suicidal and pointless piece of legislation in British parliamentary history. Its attempts to “decarbonise” the UK economy are based on junk science (the connection between anthropogenic CO2 and runaway global warming is nothing more than threadbare conjecture) and, by the government’s own estimates (so double it, at least, for the real costs) will cost the British taxpayer 18 billion every year for the next forty years. It will do nothing to stave off global warming, just further cripple an already ailing economy and impose higher energy costs on people who can ill afford it.
3. “The Limits to Growth” delusion. I examine this in a lot more detail in my book Watermelons. One of the key tenets of the green religion is that economic growth is in and of itself a bad thing, and that we’d all be much healthier and happier if only we could learn to live sustainably in yurts or pretty riverside cottages on organic, home grown mung beans, wearing patched up chunky-knit sweaters and travelling by bicycle. In the abundant 90s, this “we’ve had it too good”, Sunday colour supplement lifestyle fantasy was an affordable luxury. Not any more it’s not. “Sustainability” is not going to get out of this mess. Only consumption and the free market will.
4. The European Union. The Global Economic Meltdown is not about the failure of capitalism; it is about the failure of the kind of communitarianism, collectivism and socialism entrenched in political entities like the EU. We have nothing whatsoever to gain from our relationship with the EU. If a ship is sinking, it makes no sense to cling on to it, however many good friends you may have still stuck inside. You have to swim away, fast, to avoid being sucked down with it.
5. Activist scientists. Sir Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, recently told a fawning New Statesman interviewer that he doesn’t believe it’s a scientist’s job to be impartial: (H/T Haunting the Library)
Nurse’s undergraduate socialist spirit is still alive and well: he wouldn’t be against scientists getting involved in activism. “We are citizens, and citizens should be involved in politics, and I think those that have a strong view should be involved in party politics,” he says. “I’m happy to see fellows of the Royal Society politically engaged, if that’s what they see as right.”
Problem is, as we learned in Climategate what happens when scientists abandon objectivity in pursuit of their ideological ends is corruption, distortion and (incredibly expensive) junk science. If scientists like Nurse expect the taxpayer to pay their salaries — and they do — then it’s about time they showed a bit more humility, gratitude and integrity. In this new age of austerity when we pay for science what we have a right to expect is science, not dodgy sixth form sub-Marxist agitprop of the kind endorsed by the head of what used to be Britain’s most distinguished science institution.