Friday, 23 March 2007

Nobody likes having their toys taken away.

Today the EU announced an agreement to massively increase the volume and "affordability" (sic) of transatlantic air travel. Nice to know we're all working together on this. It seems that we're plumping for the environmental catastrophe option, doesn't it.
Democracy in action.
This failure to join up any strands of thinking will not come as much of a surprise to anyone who is actually paying attention. There are many people in the UK who have grasped gleefully at the straw offered by flat earthers and deniers of all colours in order to hang on to their toys . The fact that these people exist in Brussels must be well known to Caroline Lucas and other dissidents at the EU. it is saddening but hardly unexpected. A quick glance through some of the attitudes exhibited in any comment stream and in many, many blogs will leave you in no doubt that a substantial minority of people value their next five minutes of private pleasure far more highly than the future of some notional "others". The evidence will be twisted or ignored in the name of economics.That's why we're in this mess. Human greed and stupidity are powerful blocks to sustainable change.
The explanatory fantasy of the deniers is that a small group of greens have risen to flummox and overwhelm global capital. They mix this with a mutually exclusive big government tax-grab conspiracy and hey presto - weasly excuse masquerading as maverick individualism. A tantrum of epic proportions, They are believing and doing what they want to believe and do. Devil take the hindmost.
Greed and stupidity. Give it a name.
As to the in and out of which "hair shirt" (I hardly think so) to put on - Perhaps the definitions of work and play etc have become rather corrupted these days. In a capital economy we are fettered by definitions that compel us to judge work ( and its' supposed opposite) in monetary/cost terms, and very relative ones at that. In a landless society we are constricted as to acheivable alternatives. Nevertheless we need to surmount these handicaps and somehow fashion a huge paradigm shift - a cultural change so significant that it overwhelms all this (essentially) bickering about relatively insignificant consumption cleavages. When we look at the majority world we know that this is so. It's not just a matter of living closer to work, or monitoring flights, but of radically redifining what constitutes work, and what constitutes pay, and what constitutes play, frivolity, community, status, identity etc. All our consumption and production patterns ARE going to change, one way or another. The question we are all engaging in is how - the hard way (battening the hatches like a myopic backwoods militia slurping the last drops of privilige before the inevitable historic backlash) or the less hard way (carefully and considerately dismantling the apparatus and cutting our cloth accordingly)
All our inherited assumptions must be questioned. I really don't see a lot of that going on. We built this thing on slavery and exploitation and our deepest thoughts and dreams as well adjusted citizens are still stained with these prejudices.
But hey, what do I know? I'm a cartoonist. Ask a lawyer,

No comments: