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Sleepless in Fulham: Rambling and gambling by David Young
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Oh the humanity!
Topic: Politics

Wow! Has it really been four months since I blogged? No doubt about it, Facebook's to blame. It's just so easy to substitute the status updates for proper posts. There is, after all, a significant overlap between those whom I've befriended on there and the readers of this site. Apologies to the rest of you. Must try harder.

Anyway, over in Copenhagen, the great and the good are battling to save the world from Global Warming. The Guardian's George Monbiot tells us that this is a battle to redefine humanity. I'm glad he's put it like that, because he's actually hit the nail on the head. It's your attitude to humanity that is most likely to drive you to one side of the debate or the other. Monbiot's attitude is ... well, interesting to say the least. Tell me what you think of this:

"flying across the Atlantic is now as unacceptable as child abuse"

That's Monbiot writing in 1999. Does that way of thinking strike you as normal? I personally haven't crossed the Atlantic since the summer of 2007, but I've got friends who have been to Vegas several times since then. Am I really to think of them as being on a par with child abusers? I really recommend you read the whole thing, especially the part where he says:

"Stand in Liverpool Street station on a Friday evening, while some of Britain’s richest people are going home to enjoy the fruits of their labours. Do they look happy? Stress oozes from them like sweat, anger shudders beneath their skin. No retail therapy, no holiday in the Caribbean could restore the damage done by this self-consumption. The drive to make more money than you could possibly need, to buy more goods than you could possibly enjoy, is a species of mental illness."

Misanthropic arrogance seeps from every pore. What a bitter, spiteful and miserable creature this man is.


_ DY at 1:32 AM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 16 December 2009 2:06 AM GMT
Post Comment | View Comments (6) | Permalink

Wednesday, 16 December 2009 - 5:05 PM GMT

Name: "anonymous"

I wouldn't latch onto Monbiot as a way of getting at Greens as not many Greens think too much of Monbiot. I have locked horns with him on a few occasions and the word idiot always comes to mind.

As most comedians can be classed as Champagne Socialists so too can Monbiot be called a Champagne Green with all the trimmings.

Monbiot writes for the Guardian, a hypocritical paper, which will print so-called Green news articles but suround them with consumerist green adverts about junk for which elbow grease is the only truly Green option.

He does strike a chord when he says that many commuters are just blindly slaving to pay for junk lifestyles they could do well without. Something you don't have to worry about as you neither commute nor work.

Maybe, if you did work, then you might appreciate the misery of such a lifestyle or, more likely, get caught up in it and crave the junk lifestyle. It is a very easy thing to do.

Personally, I don't care if Copenhagen is a success or not. That is more for the survival of nation states and those middle-class greens that want to protect their lifestyles. I could survive a middle-class apocalypse. I would prefer a Copenhagen failure and the destruction of the middle-class be it green, liberal or socialist.

Thursday, 17 December 2009 - 5:08 PM GMT

Name: "David Young"

It's news to me that 'not many Greens think too much of Monbiot'. Care to cite some evidence of it? His books sell well, don't they? To be fair to the man, he did seem to latch on to the idea that the 'Climategate' e-mail hack was a serious issue, rather than just ignoring it. But other than that, he comes across as a total jerk.

Regarding the commuter angle for instance, it really is amazing that he thinks you can judge a person's happiness by the way they look as they face a long journey home on public transport during rush hour. Is he also so witless as not to realise that the City employees he's looking at have family and other dependents whose lives would take a turn for the worse if the breadwinner jacked it all in to lead a simpler life?

He also seems unaware of the 'tournament effect', whereby people will put up with misery temporarily if there's a chance that by doing so they will advance to a better life - in much the same way that the tournament poker scene is full of 'nearly men' who are still waiting for their big pay-day. Or indeed the scene in Hollywood where thousands of aspirant actors and writers serve doughnuts and coffee waiting for their big break. It's a feature of all work environments with a highly assymetric pay-off. 

Carbon dioxide obviously has certain observable chemical properties and maybe, just maybe, could have caused inconvenience for somebody somewhere, but if George's concern really is for the poor and disadvantaged, he could do far more good by working against the things that cause much more misery in this world - like Tribalism, religious fanaticism, corruption, despotism and, yes, socialism (famines in Zimbabwe, North Korea etc).

Instead he picks the western middle-class way of life as his bogey-man and I think this says more about him and those of his ilk than it does about the real threats facing humanity.

Friday, 18 December 2009 - 10:18 AM GMT

Name: "anonymous"

"It's news to me that 'not many Greens think too much of Monbiot'. Care to cite some evidence of it? His books sell well, don't they?"

I wouldn't call middle-class Guardian readers as being Green. If protecting your profligate lifestyle with how-to books, Green discussion in a cheese and wine party and spending a lot of money replacing your non-Green life with an expensive one whose creation cost more energy than it saves is classed as being Green then I am something other than Green.

You can label my lifestyle as Green not because I chose to live like this but because I cannot afford a middle-class lifestyle and have pared my lifestyle down to the barest minimum. The likes of Monbiot just want to replace their wasteful middle-class lifestyles with what they imagine to be a Green lifestyle.

The energy put into manufacturing a Prius is greater than any saving the car might make in fuel costs. And, I am always being overtaken by one in the fast lane travelling at 90mph, which immediately negates the energy saving features of the car.

"Is he also so witless as not to realise that the City employees he's looking at have family and other dependents whose lives would take a turn for the worse if the breadwinner jacked it all in to lead a simpler life?"

A simpler life requires less expenditure. The point of a simpler life is to avoid spending money on stuff you really don't need. Which comes first the job or the lifestyle? They seem to come hand in hand. Television is full of junk lifestyle prorgrammes, programming people to spend money on junk. Where else do people get the money from but a job that does their head in. If people thought about what was really important in life then they might spend less and require less money.

"He also seems unaware of the 'tournament effect', whereby people will put up with misery temporarily if there's a chance that by doing so they will advance to a better life - in much the same way that the tournament poker scene is full of 'nearly men' who are still waiting for their big pay-day."

Putting up with less for a simpler life gets some people to where they want to as well. That would hardly be a tournament. I still believe people are conned into wanting more. After all, if we didn't spend spend spend then governments wouldn't be able to cream off taxes and bankers wouldn't be able to act as middlemen and cream off during financial transactions. Seems to me that we are sold a lie to keep politicians and bankers rich but never you nor I.

"Or indeed the scene in Hollywood where thousands of aspirant actors and writers serve doughnuts and coffee waiting for their big break. It's a feature of all work environments with a highly assymetric pay-off."

Sounds like a really sad life to me. Little more than a Big Issue seller or a beggar in the street. Still, if that is the system you subscribe to then I am probably never going to change your mind.

"but if George's concern really is for the poor and disadvantaged, he could do far more good by working against the things that cause much more misery in this world - like Tribalism, religious fanaticism, corruption, despotism and, yes, socialism (famines in Zimbabwe, North Korea etc)."

Unfortunately, we can't live in a fare world, can we? In your tournament based, devil take the hindmost world there will always be poor people. Unless you want everyone in the world to have equal amounts of everything. But that smacks of socialism and I hate that too. It drags us all down to the same level, the gutter. There simply isn't enough to go round.

"Instead he picks the western middle-class way of life as his bogey-man and I think this says more about him and those of his ilk than it does about the real threats facing humanity."

Well, there is a limit to everything. Population size, resource levels, land etc. Approaching 3 billion Chinese and Indians who want all that you have. Doable? I don't think so. Even your lifestyle requires two planet Earths used exclusively for human occupation.

You will have to accept less if you want a world of equals, without disaffected Muslims etc. A lot less and that is the real point of "Going Green".

PS "Tribalism, religious fanaticism, corruption, despotism and, yes, socialism" - All on our doorstep. Charity needs to start at home.

Friday, 18 December 2009 - 10:39 AM GMT

Name: "anonymous"

PPS - There is also something else.

The essential difference between us is that you always want more. A common human trait. The undoing of every species that has come and gone, the wanting of more than the Earth can give.

The Earth changed for the dinosaurs. The new "status quo" meant there were too many dinosaurs for the new Earth and too many new competing species who were better adapted to that new Earth. The dinosaurs died off.

Who are the new dinosaurs? Old thinking humans such as yourself? Or, every other species on the planet, if man decides that technology will solve his problems, even if it kills off every other species.

There have certainly been epochs with more CO2 than now, only humans weren't around then. No species has lasted more than 10 mllion years. Are we going to consign ours to the history books after only 200,000 years?

Life is a part of the processes of the universe. And what are the processes of the universe? The Laws of Thermodynamics, entropy and the cleaning up after the Big Bang. All that energy lying around that needs to be disipated as heat.

Humans seem well adapted to using energy and disipating it as heat so they could well be the best tidy-uppers in the business. Far better than all those other useless animals that pollute OUR planet. Only what happens when there is no more energy to "tidy-up". We better stop watching Star Trek and start living it, soon!!!

There's another childless singleton poker player on another blog, not far from here, with the same views. Funny how having no stake in the future yields the same view of life.

Saturday, 19 December 2009 - 1:31 AM GMT

Name: "David Young"

So much to reply to ... and I'm too tired to go through it all now, but where do get the idea from that I don't commute? Do you think I somehow teleport from home to casinos?

Wednesday, 27 January 2010 - 1:19 PM GMT

Name: "anonymous"

A bit lame, David. No reply?

I think the other poster was referring to the miserable hordes who commute to work on a job they don't particularly care for.

You on the other hand travel to a job you love. Very few are as fortunate as you.

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