Political S&M

Political S&M
: Woody Allen always said in his movies that he had anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure. It also seems to be the ailment of European liberals. Here’s someone in the Guardian beating herself up for flying because it’s ruining the environment, she insists: “It’s time to call time on our cheap flight hypocrisy,” says the headline. As if cheap is the problem.

  • Insufficiently Sensitive

    This liberal lady has a point. Why ruin the environment by travelling? Even doing so by train or car or oxcart or boat consumes resources and leaves tracks, thereby violating some level of God’s plan for the universe.
    She should get involved with the community. No, not all those she’s heretofore considered peers, scattered throughout the university towns and big cities of the world; no, those on her block. They could teach her a thing or two, including quite probably some languages she doesn’t speak yet, and may well furnish a nice husband for her daughter by arrangement.

  • What is really funny about the Guardian is they run these articles, including a rant bashing the US over Kyoto, but on their website and in their paper they run ads for the low cost air lines.
    Seems they don’t read their own paper or visit their own website.

  • Ric Locke

    And of course she has it backwards.
    After 9/11/01, air travel in North America was nearly nonexistent for three days. Climate researchers discovered that over those three days the average temperature in the United States went up almost a tenth of a degree C. Jet contrails no longer blocking the sunlight, don’t you know.
    Which suggests a measure: Governments should guarantee each citizen a foreign vacation by air travel at least once a year. By varying the level of the subsidy they could vary the amount of air travel and therefore the amount of contrail in the atmosphere at any time. Global warming? Pooh. Send more tourists to Pago Pago, reflect the excess sunlight, and cool the globe right back down again. Fine tuning.
    Global Air Travel: Savior of the Biosphere.

  • Chris

    Okay, I’m at a complete loss to see why the woman doesn’t have a very good point. Your responses seem to be
    a) It’s wrong to consider one’s greater responsibility to the system, and is to be dismissed as “beating oneself up” or being incapable of pleasure
    b) Taking into account the collective impact of our actions, when this is difficult, and especially when it calls into question the technological systems we’ve put in place, is tantamount to denying all aspects of civilization and reverting to a primitive state devoid of personal liberty
    c) The observation that (if true) plain contrails reduce impact of sunshine can be equated with the idea that global warming is not a problem. (It should more accurately be called climate change, as the point is that human emissions are upsetting a delicate balance, which will create more extreme conditions, not necessarily warmer.) Oh, and, duh.
    Anyway, none of this begins to address the author’s point, that we have collectively created a system that incredibly effectively channels the human desire for movement and novelty into every-accelerating rates of non-renewable resource extraction. We can pay for this now, or later. It’s pretty obvious, folks. Her point isn’t that we shouldn’t have fun, it’s that we had all better deal with the consequences of our collective actions.