Monday, 30 June 2008

Scientising contempt

monbiot_full Brendan O'Neill at Sp!ked Online has penned a superb dissection of the new environmentalism. "Environmentalism," observes O'Neill, "is [now] a life support machine for the elite’s contempt for the lifestyles of the lower orders.”  Pseudo-scientific bullshit has now replaced sniffy contempt for middle class pleasures, adding "a new, legitimising coating to elite fears and prejudices."

    The most striking thing about the rise and rise (and rise) of the environmentalist ethos is how it has acted as a life support machine for the political and cultural elite’s contempt for the lifestyles of the lower orders, and how it has added a new scientific/end of the world twist to the authorities’ attempts to manage, control and change our behaviour and expectations...
    Everywhere one looks, long-standing snooty prejudices are being ‘scientised’; old-fashioned hatred for mass behaviour is being replaced by new, superbly convenient ‘scientific facts’ which apparently show – on spreadsheets, graphs and pie charts, no less – that mass behaviour is quantifiably, unfalsifiably, unquestionably Harmful...
    Call me a cynic, a doubter, even a denier if you like, I don’t care; but when scientific research continually and conveniently, almost magically, ‘proves’ that people are disgusting and must rein in their desires and change their habits – just as the elite caste, from priests to politicians, have been arguing for decades! – then I get suspicious.
    No, there’s no conspiracy here; instead our rulers and our thinkers and our betters are instinctively feeling around for a new morality, a new form of control and judgement. And what better than easily moulded research which shows that travelling abroad is irresponsible (fact), over-shopping in supermarkets is evil (fact), wanting too much stuff will make you mentally ill (fact), having too many children is lethal (fact), and football fans are fat, foul and smelly (fact). It’s almost as if one of the pious nuns who taught me at school, and who frequently spouted all of the above prejudices, suddenly happened upon scientific evidence to back up her worldview. Well, I say to the new green hectors what I often dreamt of saying to that nun, but never did: Fuck off.

Good stuff.  Good reading.  Check it out.


  1. Restrictions for everyone but them, of course.

    Yet, we might actually wish for a little hypocrisy since it keeps vermin like Gore and Sharpton in check to some degree. The most sincere ones are the most dangerous.

    Suicide Bomber Greens

  2. Well, I say to the new green hectors ...: Fuck off.

    That's put me in a good mood for the rest of the week.


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