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Back in those halcyon days in the early years of the last decade, I published a blog post called Phantom freedom. If you’re too busy to click on the hyperlink to read it, the basic idea was that despite today’s more interconnected world (particularly in terms of travel, pre-pandemic of course), in many ways we are less free and independent now compared to our ancestors.
Little did I know that I was living through our time’s freest period. Back then, it could be said, was peak freedom for the 21st century. Fair enough, one can excuse the current restrictions imposed on many aspects of our lives, being as they are a result of the damaging coronavirus monomania afflicting many across the globe, especially those in the agenda-setting, high-income nations.
The hope is that they’ll recover soon enough and realise that there are other causes of death and destruction out there, that focusing too much on one threat results in the flourishing of others. One must try to be optimistic on this front.
However, for how long we’ll be forced to prove in myriad ways that we’re not a health risk to society to do just about any activity that involves mixing with others remains to be seen.
Whatever about the above, for better or for worse — and it’s not at all clear which it will be — the kind of measures being proposed for the coming years in a bid for cleaner, greener living should finally — and thankfully — put an end to the crazy notion that we live in a free world. I say thankfully simply because it irks me when I hear people, particularly our rule-makers, utter that falsehood.
‘It’s difficult to be enthusiastic about these green new deals when those who do the most damage pay little more than lip service in terms of changing their ways.’
I must state that I’m all for living in a more efficient and greener way. In fact, I wager that if more people in the comfortable classes lived as minimalist a life as I do there would be much less of a resource drain on the planet.
Whilst it was written somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I already follow to some degree a number of the recommendations in my The Great Reset post from earlier this year.
Thus, the likes of pay-as-you-drive road taxes which countries such as the UK are proposing, that’s fine by me. I don’t own a car these days and it’s unlikely I ever will (again that is — I did have one for two years in Ireland when I was in my early 20s. Oh the innocence of youth).
When it comes to air travel, with carbon pricing mooted, this mode of transport looks set to become the preserve of the rich once more. Again, I’ve no major complaints about this. Most people — in the comfortable classes specifically — fly more than they really need to.
Road to ruin
The issue I have with many of these ubiquitous green new deals is that those peddling them, from what I can see, are inflicting greater hardship on the rest of us in a bid to reduce the harmful effects from their very own excesses.
‘We all must work collectively on this’ is the mantra when they’ve been the main culprits, the greatest polluters, the biggest producers of waste — and hypocrisy. There must be something in the air they breathe up on that moral high ground.
Somewhat paradoxically, the UK government talks of ‘levelling up’. It’s about improving the lot for areas of the country that have traditionally been less well off. Yet globally, if the many forecasts are to be believed, levelling up at current consumption rates is a road to ruin.
OK, levelling up following a green path is the idea. Nonetheless, it’s difficult to be enthusiastic about this when those who do the most damage pay little more than lip service in terms of changing their ways.
The cynical view is that it all simply amounts to exerting greater control over the lives of the relatively powerless. And many, sadly, are either blissfully unaware of this or seem to have no problem with it at all. The future looks rather bleak indeed.
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