The Daily Bork

March 04, 2005

Welcome to the golden gulag

The concepts of choice, preferences, freedom, etc seem to be alien to the Green state of mind. Take for example these excerpts from here, a rant against the temerity of New Zealanders choosing where to live, what house to own, what to drive and where to holiday...

Why would anyone spend a fortune on a home that is much bigger than they need and much too far from all of the places they need to be and then spend so much time getting to it and so much more time earning the money to pay for it, that they don't actually have a lot of time left to spend actually living in it? And if that were not absurd enough, why would they then exchange it for another, probably more remote, almost always more expensive on average every six or seven years? And why do so many of us choose to get to and from our large, expensive, remote homes on our own, in vehicles that are much bigger and much more expensive than they need to be? It gets worse. 67 percent of households in the Tasman district last year had two or more cars. So there is a very good chance that there will be several/numerous other people not merely in our own street, but quite possibly an our own family making similar trips at similar times in similar vehicles each with three or four spare seats. And we will take our expensive rest and recreation to recover from the effort of the long hours at jobs we don’t even enjoy very much to earn the money to pay for our absurd lifestyles, by going to remote places where they quite probably don't speak English and we will put it all on the card and deprive ourselves of the time to do more leisurely pursuits closer to home by sending the rest of the family out to work and taking on a second job to pay off the credit card debt…

So are the more appropriate behaviours unattractive? Are they not capable of meeting our needs or our desires?

Perhaps we need to look at some of the other more appropriate behaviours, because I know that there are some who do think in terms of what we might have to give up, that somehow the alternatives are never going to be popular. So I will give you the Mike Ward mantra that I regularly trot out at the suggestion that people don't want to know, or that they don't care, or that our vision is just plain unattractive. I would like you all to learn my mantra and then I want you to take it away and embellish it, add to it and spread it around.

Jesus el-saviour Christ! Let this guy into power and everyone will be living in Soviet style apartment blocks, driving clapped out Lada's and holidaying at Camp Gulag (where everyone speaks the same language). Appropriate behaviour will be defined by the party, in accordance with the Mantra which you should liberally spread around like the stinking pile of turd it is.

Seriously, does it matter if they don't speaky the englishy when you are on holiday?

But it goes on, and on and on...

So how do we make saving the planet sexy, fun, funky, and fashionable? The reality is that living sustainably is much more likely to make us feel good and to meet our needs for the things that make being human interesting, then living unsustainably as ever going to do. Living sustainably is certainly likely to be more fun and certainly more likely to meet our need for good relationships and good experiences, our need to be liked, our need to be able to contribute and participate, and our need for purpose and for hope, than living unsustainably. You see it takes time to be a human being and we have given up time for the dross of stuff.

You see all you need to do is realise that I know, in the wisdom of my Mantra, what will make you happy. Whatever you are doing now, no matter how happy you think you are you are not. No, you aren't. Don't argue, I know these things for I have been gifted with the Mantra, the insight of sheer arrogance.

Till finally, we draw near the end, almost...

I am a politician and what most people expect from politicians is legislation. They want rules and laws that will assist the unfortunate, throttle the corrupt, and preserved the biosphere. We do need good law and good infrastructure but the change, the kind of cultural shift that we will need if we are to create the kind of future I would wish for my grandchildren, has to be more deeply felt than laws and rules alone are ever likely to achieve. It will take advocacy and education and incentives and the inspiration of lives lived well. We probably don't need another textbook. We do need to tell the good stories, and we do need a new kind of leadership. I am a politician because it gives profile to the most urgent challenges facing humankind and it just could give access to the kind of resources necessary to meet the challenge.

Actually what most people want from a politician is a smooth running country where they are safe and not exposed to totalitarian twerps trying to tell them what to do, where to live, what car to buy and where to holiday. Just because you are a politician doesn't mean you must create rules and laws, in fact it would be better if you didn't. But we know that the impulse is impossible to deny when your entire existence is the urge to control, dressed up as it may be in "protecting" everything.


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