Written by Daniel Greenfield
Capitalism had won. It was not people's revolutions, but the slow industry of a rising middle class that toppled feudal monarchies. Productivity led to prosperity, and succeeding generations of new money made the class system nearly irrelevant. The process moved swiftest in the new American colonies, where a shortage of laws, problems that required ingenuity to overcome and a booming population of arrivals eager to carve out a share for themselves, laid the ground floor for it to become the economic superpower of the 20th century. The political, religious and social revolutions that accompanied this surge of history were all spinoffs of that vast unfolding flower of human productivity.
But history, unlike fairy tales, doesn't usually traffic in happy endings. Capitalism had toppled many of the old elites, but it was only a matter of time until a new elite would find a way to apply the reins to the galloping horse of the free market. The new elite went by many names, it wore the mask of social concern to its political costume balls, first for the poor at home, then the poor abroad and finally for the trees, bears and clouds of the whole planet. But its best and most whimsical mask of all was the mask of the anti-elitist. The comic opera sad mask that was always frowning, even as Janus-like, the mask behind it was laughing fit to burst. The game was over, but it had really just begun.
The problem was productivity. Because productivity led to material prosperity. And prosperity led to individualism and independence. Cutting off productivity was key to putting the genie of freedom back in the box. Keep people poor, take away their opportunities, make it impossible for them to leap class barriers, and they become easier to rule over. Prosperity made class virtually irrelevant, by making the good life available to everyone. It was becoming harder to find things to do, that the middle class couldn't save up enough money for. And so the middle class became the target of the elitists, dressing up in their funny little anti-elitist masks, condemning them for having the good life.
In London, there will be no new runaways. Indeed there will be no new runways throughout all of England. Because the middle-class has been bad. They're being punished for engaging in the loathsome activity known as "binge flying". The middle class has been flying all over the place, taking holidays and lying on beaches. And it will have to stop. And who do they think they are anyway? Bono? Al Gore? A few thousand useless overeducated idiots flying to Cancun or Copenhagen to discuss ways to prevent people from flying? Off with their runaways. Let's see how they like it when flying becomes more miserable for the cheeky binge flying beggars.
The "Off With Their Runways" strategy of curbing consumption highlights one environmentalist approach, the creation of artificial shortages. While governments usually lead with burdensome taxation, even taxing a product will not prevent its use. Taxing airline travel makes it more expensive, but it also drives airlines to find new price cutting measures. That leads to ridiculously budget airlines such as RyanAir or Southwest. Traveling becomes more miserable, but still affordable. Piling on fees generates revenues, and makes it harder for both consumers and companies to get by, thrusting them deeper into a cycle of mutual hatred and exploitation, as both sides try to put one over the other, but it doesn't eliminate usage. Because necessity is the mother of invention... sometimes it even expands it.
That's why the hard core environmentalists, wearing their best elitist anti-elitist masks, usually push for artificial shortages. Creating actual shortages can be tricky, because there's just too much of everything. Environmentalists have driven local manufacturing and industries out of business, or made them too expensive to be anything but taxpayer subsidized white elephants, but it's all too easy to import more from China. Cutting the legs off a global economy takes time. And until then, the shortages have to be manufactured at the government level.
Off with their Runways is one approach. It's cleaner than taxation, because there's seemingly no regressive bias at all. No one is discriminating against the poor or middle class by making products more expensive, (well they are, but we just don't talk about it) they're just curbing everyone's consumption. Of course they're not. Just the consumption of those who use commercial air travel. Most of the austerity measures don't change the lifestyle of that top 1 percent, who also happen to be heavily represented among the ranks of the anti-elitist elitists. Like their pretense that raising taxes on people who make over 250,000 a year, is the same as raising taxes on billionaires, the left finds it convenient to crowd the upper middle-class together with the upper class, and pretend that they're cracking down on the 1 percent, when they're actually cracking down on the 19 percent below them.
But artificial shortages are ultimately still regressive. Even in a Communist system, wealth still makes it possible to buy privileges. Shortages apply the squeeze from the bottom up. Talk of curbing public binges, whether it's food or travel, means that the anti-elitist elitists work their way up from the working class, which feels the sting first. The word "binge" implies greed and waste, but that's a term better applied to the six figure salaried activists who jet from all over the world, to discuss a treaty to tax airplane fuel for international travel, all at public expense. The middle class family going on holiday to Corfu, are not taking anything away from anyone. The anti-elitist elitists who would take away their holiday, are.
Artificial shortages hamstring prosperity by interfering with productivity. And those hit hardest are the middle class and the working class on their way up. It's not really about airline travel, so much as it's about the amount of time and energy that has to be put in to achieve even the simplest of goals. Regulations create obstacles and add expenses in both time and energy. While taxes take a visible amount off the top, the drain of added obstacles can be far more subtle. Like the extra time spent flying out of Heathrow, the expense is invisible and impossible to quantify in financial terms, but yet it's there. And it's meant to be there.
Until Communism gave way to Environmentalism as the dominant model of the left, productivity had not yet become the enemy. Even the Reds claimed that they didn't want to prevent people from being productive, they just wanted them to be able to work for themselves. It was a lie, but the left today isn't even bothering with the lies. They are open about productivity being the enemy. Their goal is to chain up human potential, to arrest Prometheus for emitting carbon from his stolen fire, and chain him up to have his liver devoured by the sharp beaks of career bureaucrats.
The Reds pointed to the man at the top at the enemy. The environmentalist just points to the man. Any man. Anywhere. Human beings are their enemies. When people accomplish something, it must be stopped.
The "Theory of Universal Pollution" best known as Global Warming by way of human carbon emissions, creates artificial shortages in the name of an artificial crisis, as manufactured, branded and packaged as anything you might pick up in a convenience store. Its stroke of genius is to treat all human activity and decision making as forms of pollution. Since everything we do is going to emit carbon, then all human behavior must be regulated, controlled and suppressed. It's a brand of totalitarian madness that would have made even Stalin giggle like a schoolgirl.
When everything we do is pollution-- then we are all polluters. To restrain that human pollution comes a multitude of laws, which make all of us into criminals. Since we can't all be imprisoned, except within the larger prison of the state, we must be rehabilitated instead. Lectured endlessly, hectored constantly and troubled everywhere we go. Artificial shortages will punish us for the good of the planet, whose representatives and self-appointed spokesmen heat their own homes with roasting dolphins turning on a spit over a fire of imported Malaysian coals.
A "Theory of Universal Pollution" is also a "Theory of Universal Criminality and Constant Culpability" and the justification for "Universal Tyranny". A tyranny built on an economic counterrevolution to topple the economic revolutions that brought cheap goods and social and economic freedoms to 90 percent of the Western world. Destroying political freedoms, by destroying prosperity by destroying productivity, follows the chain of development back far enough to cut it off, and push us back to the feudal era under the green banner of the Church of Mother Gaia and Bishop Bono.
But it isn't really about the environment or the myth of manmade global warming. If it was, then global warming conferences would be teleconferences, not giant binges of jet travel, hotel stays and open bars. It's about what all counter-revolutions are about, the recovery of lost power by an elite. As the Bolshevik takeover of Russia was a counterrevolution against the authentic revolution that had toppled the imported German monarchy of the Czars, the left has been conducting its own counterrevolution against the republican political and economic revolutions that put an end to the monarchies of the West. Their goal is to dismantle the republics and replace them with global entities under the control of the truly enlightened. The anti-elitist elite.
Environmentalism is a convenient tool of the economic counterrevolution, which undermines popular rule, national sovereignty, individualism, economic prosperity and cultural identity, in order to reassemble a bureaucratic empire that will oversee everyone's lives, with no say in it from them. Spreading poverty, cultural division, fragmenting families and national unity, are all key elements in the campaign. Creating chaos and misery, and then stepping in to fix it, is a time honored trick of tyrants. The trick is being played on us all over again. Almost all of their cards are on the table now. And they are dealing from the bottom of the deck.
From NY to Jerusalem , Daniel Greenfield Covers the Stories Behind the News. Daniel Greenfield is a blogger, author and columnists covering international affairs, the rising threat of terrorism and the growing problems of socialism. His daily blog can be viewed at Sultan Knish.