I don’t bait greens only for fun. I do it because they’re public enemy number one
If only you could have seen the gratitude in my guinea pigs’ eyes just now. At least I think it was gratitude. It’s hard to be totally sure with those blank, dead, black staring eyes which, let’s be honest, aren’t noticeably more intelligent or expressive than a (very small) great white shark’s. Even so, if Pickles Deathclaw and Lily Scampers could speak, I like to think that what they would have said is this: ‘Thank you, human. You are so kind and generous and nurturing. Every day come rain or shine you sweep our cage of poo, you transport us to our outdoor play run, feed us fresh titbits — sometimes delicious broccoli stalks, sometimes apple, sometimes fresh dandelion leaves which you have personally harvested — and seem to mind not one jot that we are actually pretty crap animals with scratchy, panic-stricken claws who show you no sign of affection whatsoever.’
If Nature — Ma Gaia as I sometimes call her because we are on such friendly, intimate terms — were to speak, I’m sure her report would be similarly rosy. ‘Oh James,’ she’d say. ‘Dear, delightful, caring James. I did so appreciate the way you picked up all those horrid takeaway burger packs you found blowing round the pavement the other day. And your compost is coming on a treat, especially when you pee on it in that wholesome organic manner of which I so heartily approve. And I do like the way you’re bringing up your children to share your love of slowworms and wild raspberries and Cocky Olly in the bracken. And well done on your campaign against wind farms: I bloody hate them too…’
I mention all this lest some of you think that I am the embodiment of pure, Gaia-raping evil. Maybe you’ll have chanced upon jottings in which I have been less than respectful towards Al Gore, George Monbiot and the NASA scientist Dr James Hansen. Perhaps you’ll have heard how I gave up recycling for Lent and found the penance so bracing I’ve decided to carry on till next Easter at the very earliest. Maybe you’ve caught me on talk radio pooh-poohing ‘cap-and-trade’ or promising that if I sell enough copies of Welcome To Obamaland I’ll buy a 4×4 and run over a baby polar bear. ‘Monster!’ you may have decided. ‘Heretic! Climate-change denier!’
Obviously there’s a part of me that kind of enjoys this. As Americans love Coca-Cola and Islamists love death, so I love baiting greens and liberals and most especially liberal greens. But I don’t do it just for fun, you know. In fact I don’t even do it mainly for fun. The reason I rail so often against so many tenets of the green faith — from biofuels to carbon trading to the ludicrous attempts to get polar bears designated as an endangered species — is because I sincerely believe they are among the greatest current threats to the advancement of humankind. Yes, that’s right: greens aren’t the solution. They’re public enemy number one.
Whenever my green friends hear me say such things — the nice Germans down the road who give us lift-shares in their electric car, say; Ralphie in Dorset who’s doing an MA studying Boris’s green policies — their assumption is that I’m just saying these things out of a sort of attention-seeker’s Tourette’s. ‘You’re turning into a shock jock!’ they say. Or: ‘Well I suppose this is what you do when you have a blog.’ Here is what’s so terrifying about the modern green movement: its complete refusal to accept that anyone who disagrees with it can be anything other than wilfully perverse, certifiably insane or secretly in the pay of Big Oil.
This is true within the mainstream media too. Of all the different editors I write for, I would say that no more than 10 per cent would commission a piece in which I expressed even in passing the view that the man-made-global-warming theory is bunk and that climate change is nothing to worry about. Check out all the soft features in any newspaper. They were all commissioned by editors on the same middle-class eco-guilt-trip: consumption is naughty, GM is dangerous, organic is close to godliness, non-local produce is sinful produce, wind farms are actually rather striking and if they ruin every last square acre of unspoilt British upland, well, maybe that’s just the price we’ll have to pay — a bit like all those lovely old railings we had to melt down to win the last war.
But what if they’re wrong? What if climate change is normal? What if the new hair-shirt chic is holding back economic recovery? What about the Kenyan green-bean growers — don’t they deserve to make a living too? What if the billions and billions of pounds being stolen from our wallets by our governments to ‘combat climate change’ are being squandered to no useful purpose? What if instead of alleviating the problem, misguided eco-zealots are actually making things worse?
That’s what I believe, anyway, and if there were space I’d be more than happy to explain why in lavish detail using all sorts of highly convincing evidence provided by top-notch scientists. Unfortunately, there isn’t, so you’ll have to go somewhere like www.ClimateDepot.com, or the hilarious Planet Gore at National Review Online or the Watts Up With That blog for your ammo.
My purpose here is not to convince any green waverers of the justice of my cause, merely to point up the quite nauseating arrogance and bullying self-righteousness with which the modern green movement cleaves to its ideological position. Indeed, it doesn’t even think of its ideological position as an ideological position any more, but as a scientific truth so comprehensively proven that there is no longer need for any debate.
Hence the snotty dismissiveness with which they wave away our arguments. In their Manichean weltanschauung the world now divides into two categories: on the one hand, caring, nurturing, sensitive, intelligent eco-types who understand the threat of global warming and want to make the planet a lovelier place; on the other, morally purblind, selfish, ugly, greedy deniers who can’t even pass sea otters at play without thinking how much more entertaining they’d look drenched in tanker spillage.
I venture to suggest that the issues are rather more complex than that; that the vast majority of so-called ‘deniers’ are motivated by a love of the planet every bit as intense as that of the ‘warmists’. It’s just that our love is maybe tempered with a touch more rationalism, that’s all.
We look at electric cars and go: OK fine, but where does that electricity come from? We’re told Tuvalu is sinking and go: yeah, very worrying — except it’s not. We’re told temperatures will rise inexorably with carbon emissions and go: so how come we’ve just had three years of global cooling? We’re told to heed scientists like NASA’s Dr Hansen — only to discover that in the 1970s he was predicting an imminent ice age. We’re told that plonking lots of vast, white, heavily subsidised, bird-chewing, subsonic-humming, light-stealing turbines on top of an unspoilt British landscape is just what we need to save the environment, and we go: now wait just a second, there’s something here that doesn’t quite ring true.