March 17, 2013
Brendan O’Neill on the madness of King George:
Consider George Monbiot. These days he rails against austerity, especially of the Tory variety, saying it has “extended the crisis” and “hurt” ordinary people by propelling Britain into a double-dip recession. But wait – I thought he loved the idea of recession? In 2007 he wrote an article called Bring on the Recession, in which he argued that, as “unpleasant as it will be,” and yes, “some people [will] lose their jobs and homes,” a recession might at least help prevent “ecological disaster” by reining in pesky, polluting economic growth. Back then, in his book Heat, which was lapped up by leftists and praised to the hilt by that Queen of the Left, Naomi Klein, Monbiot proudly said radical environmentalism was a “campaign not for abundance but for austerity.” Got that? For austerity. He said that where the dumb, consumption-hooked masses have a tendency to “riot because they want more, not less,” it was incumbent upon enlightened radicals to “riot for less” and even to “riot for austerity.” Once again, for austerity.
The eccentricities of Mr Monbiot’s thought processes will be familiar to regular readers.
Chris Snowdon has more on the subject, including one columnist’s belief that lowered living standards would be a “freeing” experience and result in a “more amiable atmosphere,” with the threat of poverty forcing shopkeepers and taxi drivers to be more polite:
When the full impact of the recession hit home a few months later, these columnists had the good sense to shut up about unemployment cleansing the soul for fear of being lynched by their readers… In part, it can be attributed the demands of being a contrarian newspaper columnist with space to fill, but there is no doubt that there are many people in well-paid jobs who believe that poverty is noble and empowering… It would be nice to think that some of these miserablists have learnt a lesson from the era of alleged austerity, but I suspect that it will only take a few quarters of economic growth for the attacks on GDP to return.
And of course we mustn’t forget the glorious visions of the New Economics Foundation, whose deep thinkers want to make us “better citizens” by taking away our stuff.
Christopher Tooky on the socialist filmmaker Ken Loach:
Most of the domestic policies Ken favours were last presented to the British public in Michael Foot’s 1983 general election manifesto, accurately described by former Labour minister Gerald Kaufman as “the longest suicide note in history.” Thirty years after that electoral catastrophe, the one reason to welcome this film is that it reveals more clearly than anything else the backward-looking, scarily obsessive, extreme political agenda of those who subsidise films in Britain — and, indeed, those who ‘criticise’ them, for I guarantee that this will receive the most respectful reviews of any release this week.
At the University of Oregon, a collision of posturing idiots takes place and a law professor loses his cool:
It’s an unfortunate reminder that sometimes those who are supposed to be the stewards of student rights are exactly the people that these rights need protection from.
And via Kate, a pictorial guide to the joys of public transport. This one, I think, captures the mood.
As usual, feel free to add your own links and snippets in the comments.