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Greens: "Let 'em eat cake"
The economic illiteracy of our political elites has never been so evident. They are completely indifferent to the material basis that make our societies possible.
“It's not that food and energy are suddenly becoming more expensive. It's that they've been far too cheap for the past forty years.” This remarkable comment was recently made by Diederik Samson, sidekick of EU Vice Chair Frans Timmermans. Both Samson and Timmermans herald from the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA), which like so much of the social democratic Left has abandoned its working-class roots, preferring now to speak to the identity and “woke” politics of middle-class voters, eschewing bread-and-butter economic issues. Faced with drastic rises in energy and food, they have nothing to say; in fact they are worse than useless. As died-in-the-wool Green ideologues, they entertain no real connection to the material world; they have no understanding of how modern economies work. Cold? Put on another sweater. Hungry? You need to go on a diet anyway. Y’all can now just bike to work, too.
Germany’s Minister of Economics Minister Robert Habeck, another Green ideologue cut from the same cloth, is vociferously campaigning for an EU-wide oil embargo against Russia, despite the fact that such a move could have a drastic impact on Germany’s industrial competitiveness. As Alexander Mercouris observed in a recent podcast on The Duran, the destruction Germany’s export industry could be political suicide for the Greens as the German electorate may not take kindly to a marked reduction in their living standards. Mercouris points out that the Greens have a visceral hatred of modern industry and technology, cherishing a vision of contemporary society as a kind of pastoral utopia.
As someone who once voted Green (I emphasize, once, in Amsterdam city council elections), as someone who believes that we humans must take responsible stewardship of the one and only planet we have, as a city dweller who enjoys spending time in nature and believes in the importance of maintaining communion with the natural world, I find evolution of the Greens deplorable, if not entirely unforeseen, given the political expediencies of our modern Liberal Democracies.
To be sure, there’s lots be done on the environmental front: preserving biodiversity, reducing plastics in the ocean, greening the deserts (like China is so successfully doing in the Gobi), finding replacements for endocrine-disrupting pesticides, and of course engineering a gradual transition to a post-fossil fuel and fertilizer economy. But these worthy goals aren’t the focus of our modern Green politicians, who have been in varying measures co-opted by short-term market-based neoliberal thinking and/or misanthropic, Malthusian zero-sum fake environmentalism, which sees little positive potential in human creativity and ingenuity. In its most pessimistic form, we are but a virulent species fouling an otherwise pristine world.
Unlike our feckless Greens, someone who decidedly does understand the productive base of modern societies is Vladimir Putin. On 17 May, he held of a video conference in which he discussed the state of Russia’s energy business with the captains of Russia’s oil industry. Once again we are indebted to the indispensable Alexander Mercouris, who highlighted Putin's comments on The Duran, in which the Russian president acknowledged legitimate public concern in the West about climate change. Some excerpts from the Kremlin website, emphasis mine:
In effect, the so-called political class in the West began to exploit the completely natural concern of many people in the world over climate and climate change problems.
Indeed, the Europeans openly admit they are unable to fully go without Russian energy resources at this point. It is also clear that some EU countries with a particularly high share of Russian hydrocarbons in their energy balance will not be able to do without Russian energy for a long time going forward. However, they have set this goal for themselves oblivious to the damage they are doing to their respective economies. One gets the impression that Western politicians and economists simply forget basic economic laws or just choose to ignore them.
At various times in the past, Putin and Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, citing Russia’s own turbulent past, have warned about the perils of ideology, as has the current Chinese leadership as well. Whether any society is wholly free of ideology is debatable; clearly we depend on belief systems to interpret reality and shape our actions. But whether ideology is a means to improving material conditions for the better or an end into itself, as case with our errant Greens, is the question.
We in the West are enduring an extended and catastrophic bout of ideological fervor. First the market fundamentalism thrust upon us by the Reagan/Thatcher counter-revolution of the 1980s, more recently with the climate change alarmism of the current era. We have a lot to learn from the Russians and the Chinese (and other ancient civilizations) about being pragmatic and facing reality.