Cartoon by Josh
Tonight on Channel 4 Niall Ferguson will be explaining why Western Civilisation
is on its last legs. The reason for this is very simple: we no longer understand or value our civilisation; indeed many of us feel rather embarrassed about it. We have been taught to view all our great historical achievements through a filter of post-colonial guilt; we have learned the weasel art of cultural relativism where, in their own special way, cultures that practise female circumcision and bury homosexuals under walls are just as vibrant, valid and meaningful as the one that gave us Michelangelo, penicillin and the splitting of the atom; we’ve been persuaded that elitism and authority are undesirable (cf Jamie’s Dream School); we’ve bought heavily into the fashionable meme that mankind is a cancer on the earth and that the proper thing to do is abandon progress, destroy our economies, limit population growth and try to recapture an agrarian idyll which of course never existed except in the imaginations of pastoral poets and the Prince of Wales.
The last part is the theme of my book Watermelons. Though I say it myself it couldn’t be coming out at a more desperate time. To show how desperate, let us consider the words of Steve Holliday
, chief executive of the National Grid, interviewed last week on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“The grid is going to be a very different system in 2020, 2030. We keep thinking that we want it to be there and provide power when we need it. It is going to be much smarter than that. We are going to change our own behaviour and consume it when it is available and available cheaply.”
I have one simple question here: what on earth is this imbecile still doing in his job?
Obviously, one might except this kind of inanity from Green MP Caroline Lucas. She is, after all, the leader of a party ideologically committed in its manifesto to raising taxes, destroying economic growth and restricting personal freedoms.
National Grid, on the other hand, is the organisation which distributes Britain’s power supplies. Not just the power supplies of the kind of hairshirt loons who believe there must be “limits to growth” and that the answer is therefore to deny our children an economic future, raise taxes and force us to use crappy, flickery yellow lightbulbs and get used to our rubbish being collected once a fortnight no matter how much we pay in council tax. But also the power supplies of the rest of us – that is, most of us – who just want to get on with living our lives, paying the rent, making the most of our short span on this earth, and enjoying our hot showers and baths as and when we choose rather than when some eco-fascist busybody tell us its permitted.
Note Steve Holliday’s wonderfully creative use of the word “smarter”. In the old days, it used to mean positive things like “more intelligent”, “better dressed”, “sharper”, “quicker”, “wittier”. In Holliday’s Newspeak, however, it means “rationed according to the whims of Big Brother.”
As we have seen before, there are elements in the Green movement who actively want to revive wartime-style rationing
and who welcome shortages and inconvenience, because they believe this is the price we must pay for “Saving The Planet.”
What is a matter of the direst concern is when such a fringe mentality becomes part of the political and economic mainstream.
Rationing our energy supplies it is not progress. It is a step back – quite literally – towards the Dark Ages.