Sunday, 5 March 2017

Yes, I know we who constantly complain about the "left-liberal elite" sound bonkers - but we're justified

I'm well aware of the danger of designating a disparate group of people as The Enemy, applying a handy, disparaging label to them, and then using it in a lazy, knee-jerk fashion every time something displeasing happens. The ability to instantly identify a standard scapegoat obviates the need for thought or analysis, and allows moaners like me to search out the next issue to blame the left-liberal elite for. Depending on which side of the political fence we're on, we choose different scapegoats, be it The Blacks, The Muslims, The Jews, The Rich, The Bankers, The EU, Little Englanders, Xenophobes, Racists, Social Workers, The Gutter Press, Tory Scum, The BBC, The Establishment, Climate Change Deniers, The Snowflake Generation, Social Justice Warriors, Guardian Readers, Academia, The Unions, The Green Lobby, The Military-Industrial Complex, Hollywood etc. In order to quell this instant pigeonholing tendency...

...I occasionally make an effort to step away from my ingrained prejudices, and to watch and read the news with an open mind in an attempt to see things from the other chap's point of view.

It's an interesting process, because it reveals flaws in one's own thinking, gives one an insight into how the other side sees the world, and reminds of how terribly easy it is - by simply suspending one's rational faculties, instincts, and moral beliefs  - to end up with truly insane attitudes. Now, nutty beliefs are sort of okay as long as people don't act on them - and as long as they don't become part of accepted mainstream thought. For instance, my attempt to suspend disbelief this morning came to a crashing halt while reading a BBC Online item about pop songs whose lyrics include scientific howlers. One of the guilty songs was The Clash's "London Calling", particularly the following lines:  "The ice age is coming, the sun's zoomin' in / Meltdown expected, the wheat is growin' thin." Here's what the smirking BBC writer, Emily Mackay, had to say about it, under the misleading heading, "The Facts":
As global cataclysm hurries ever nearer, we can chuckle wryly at the knowledge that in the 1970s, some people believed that "global cooling" was going to be the big ecological problem of the era. A slight downward trend in temperatures between the 40s and 70s led to wild theories that a new period of glaciation was on the way - permanent, Game of Thrones-style winter, mammoths, cave bears, the whole nine yards. This, then, is the reason why The Clash's Joe Strummer gets it both wrong and right, predicting both an ice age and rising sea levels that, in the song, will shortly engulf the capital. That these things would happen at the same time makes no geological sense at all, but it does reflect the conflicting theories of the time.
By the end of that paragraph, my attempt to see the other chap's point of view had rather collapsed - because (a) the Earth is just as likely to experience global cooling next as it is global warming - we are, after all, in an interglacial period of an Ice Age which has lasted for 2.6 million years so far, and (b) what exactly is the difference between the silly billies in the '70s who based their "wild theories" of global cooling on "a slight downward trend in temperatures between the 40s and 70s", and the silly billies currently ranting about global warming, based on a slight upward trend in temperatures during the '80s and '90s?

A belief in global warming is no more irrational than the belief that we're all going to be freezing our nuts off in the near future. I'm perfectly happy for anyone who believes in AGW or Climate Change to live their life based on this new religion - as long as I'm not asked to pay for their lifestyle changes, and as long as I'm not otherwise inconvenienced by their faith. The problem is that global warming/climate change has become mainstream dogma: our leaders are acting on a belief that is no more demonstrably true than its opposite. 200,000 Californians have just been evacuated from their homes based on the possibility of a dam 150 miles north of San Francisco bursting. The reason the dam was in danger of bursting (the waters have now apparently receded) is that global warmists convinced the Californian authorities that the state was facing an increasingly dry future, so properly maintaining dams wasn't necessary - this meant that California's politicians could give the money earmarked for rendering dams flood-proof to illegal immigrants.

So, who do we blame for the the extraordinarily blinkered arrogance of that paragraph in an item about pop music on the BBC website - and for California's feckless disregard over maintaining vital infrastructure? Sorry, but I find myself reaching for my favourite disparaging label  - all together now... The Left-Liberal Elite. They swallowed the great Global Warming/Climate Change theory whole, funded the research which "proves" it, made sure refusenik scientists were ignored, marginalised, or fired, spent (and are continuing to spend) eye-watering amounts of our money on solving a problem that probably isn't a problem at all, and have ensured that organisations like the BBC can spout as much utterly one-sided propaganda on the subject as they wish. Remember, these are the same people and organisations who were telling us that diesel was "cleaner" than petrol just a few years ago.

The reason for so often blaming the left-liberal elite is that they (it?) run just about everything: therefore, they get to decide how much of our money is spent, based on their beliefs - and they can inconvenience our lives in a myriad of ways, again, based on their beliefs. So - while only too aware of the danger of sounding like the doctor in Invasion of the Body Snatchers trying to stop the cars on the highway, screaming "They're already here! YOU'RE NEXT!", and while occasionally trying to view the world through their eyes - I intend to go on regularly blaming and attacking the left-liberal elite until they (it?) genuinely make an attempt to look at the world through the eyes of the majority of the people they spend their every waking minute bossing around. I'm with Rod Liddle on this issue:
For a start, the elite is not liberal in the classical liberal sense, but closer to the American sense of the word. It is certainly not ‘liberal’ if by that you mean tolerant: it is intolerant and authoritarian. And by elite I do not mean the elected government: establishment elites can survive most forms of government and easily outlast them. 
The liberal elite we talk about today is beholden to a leftish cultural and political paradigm which predominates in all the non-elected institutions which run our lives. In the judiciary, for example. Within the BBC. In the running of our universities and in the courses they put before students. In the teaching profession. In the social services departments of every council in the land. At the top of the medical profession. On the boards of all the quangos — the lot of them, from those which hand out money in the arts to those which regulate our media and our utilities. It is a left-liberal paradigm, informed by affluence, which has been swallowed whole by all of these institutions and which is utterly intolerant of dissent.
Liddle ends his Spectator article, "A field guide to our doomed liberal elite" - on a hearteningly upbeat note:
Elites do change, though. I remember as a speechwriter for the Labour party in the early 1980s suggesting that we do something in support of the teachers, who were complaining about pay. ‘Fuck them — they’re all Tories,’ I was told. And so statistically they were, at the time. And in the 1970s the BBC, the Church of England, the judiciary and the emergent quangos were small ‘c’ conservative. Elites last for about two generations. Our liberal elite has lasted since about 1985. And my guess is that right now it is on the way out, which is why we are hearing this continual howling.  
I wonder if he's right. I don't remember a changing of the guard in the mid-'80s - and I certainly don't recall teachers in that era being noted for their staunchly conservative beliefs. Whatever, it would be nice to think that a right-conservative elite is waiting in the wings. Bring it on!


  1. Liddle is wrong. Almost every teacher at my school in the 1960s was on the Left - some quite markedly so. This was more or less universal and it has got worse since then.

    1. That was rather my impression, GCooper. Mind you, teachers invariably treat the Education Secretary of the day - whichever party's in power - disgracefully whenever he/she addresses one of their poxy conferences. And then the BBC reports their appalling behaviour as if it's the first time it has ever happened, and as if the teachers are justified in behaving like whining, truculent teenagers. Bring back Michael Gove!