The Scarlet Letter
Tim Blair follows the Global Warming environmentalist scene, featuring researchers who descend on private homes with carbon-measuring equipment and an attendant TV crew to publicly "shame" their occupants into greater Greenness.
Each week they don their orange monogrammed shirts to cordon off the toxic home of an Australian family. They arrive with energy-auditing gadgetry, sobering statistics and lips and eyebrows curled in withering admonishment. They rate these people, shame them, then challenge them to do better.
"One of the things I loved was when you tell them the audit result,” says Carbon Constable Fitzgerald, whose daytime cover is head of the science department at Geelong’s Oberon High School. “Most of them were expecting to come off pretty well but they were all genuinely, absolutely floored. They can’t believe it. It’s a great moment."
Tim Blair's only regret is that they don't audit the energy consumption and travel logistics of the TV crews they bring with them. Mine is why they don't get a life. Don't these guys have anything better to do than spend their days telling other people how to live?
But what would be the fun in in minding your own business? The fun is in minding others. What all the earthly paradises promised by social re-engineering projects have in common is not that they are free from unpleasantness and want; Stalin offered a vision of barracks life, cafeteria food and compulsory day-care and people were willing to kill for it; modern environmentalists present one of five-minute showers, subsistance living and rationed toilet paper and they are willing to descend on your home in order to achieve it. They are bleak, unpleasant paradises. The attraction of these earthly utopias is not pleasance but freedom from doubt. Entry into a place where all the answers are supplied and there are no more dilemmas. What is required of that Brave New World above all is the final banishment of Hamlet's soliloquy. The attraction of Communism, a world ruled by the Greens or lashed under the chains of Sharia Law is they leave no room for doubt. They offer a place where every aspect of life will be regulated, our carbon footprints measured at intervals, our piety audited periodically and we shall be rid at last of our greatest burden -- freedom and uncertainty.
For that reason people like the "environmentalists" that Tim Blair describes derive satisifaction from forcing people into line. It is the Global Warming line in this instance, but any line would have done. Any port which will shelter them against the storm of doubt. The very same people who were yesterday's Communists are today's environmentalists and tomorrow's Muslim converts. It's really all the same religion to them. Marx was wrong when he said the whole point of history was not to understand but to change it; for the true believer the whole point of history is simply to find a way to end it.
The saddest aspect of these endeavor is that it blinds its adherents to the fecundity of creation; to the newness of each sunset; the uniqueness in its child's smile; to the potential for discovery; to the possibility that the winds of the world change not by our feeble edicts, but because Spirit bloweth. Free and ever-new.