By: Dr Matevž Tomšič
In today’s times, when we are warned from all corners about the danger of so-called fake news, it often happens that some information, which at first glance looks fabricated (that is, fake), as a product of one of the “conspiracy theories”, actually turn out to be true. Something so absurd that it seems impossible for us to be a product of the thinking and action of modern people, who are basically considered reasonable, turns out to actually exist. And political decision-makers, that is, those who hold the fate of the entire community in their hands, are often behind such absurd actions.
Thus, these days we could see that the city council in the Dutch city of Haarlem made the decision that after 2024 they will ban the advertising of meat, holiday flights, fossil fuels and gas cars in public places (this refers to city buses, and advertising pillars and screens). With this, the virtuous city councillors want to achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
It is therefore one of the main mantras of the modern left, how is the “human factor”, i.e., the excessive accumulation of goods and the boom in environmentally burdensome activities such as transport, responsible for the changes in the atmosphere, especially the so-called global warming. This fits well with the classic neo-Marxist thesis about the harmfulness of consumerism produced by the capitalist system. Recently, animal husbandry has been particularly under attack, as it is related to the consumption of meat products. This, however, annoys the vegetarian movement, which believes that eating meat is the cause of virtually everything bad in human nature. Vegetarianism, which often appears in a rather aggressive manner, is also an integral part of the ideological corpus of the new left.
The logic according to which, for the good of the natural environment (for the so-called environmental sustainability, as it is popularly called today), one must give up this and that or even impose restrictions on certain activities, is wrong. It is clear that industry and other industries on which the modern economy is based have certain effects on the environment. However, this is the price for the prosperity that we humans enjoy today (at least in the West) and it is greater than it has been at any time in history. Here, it should be emphasised that human activity is only one of the factors (probably not the most important) that influence climate change (there were periods when the atmosphere was warmer than it is now, but there was no industry at that time). Should we now give up all technological gains in order to be environmentally friendly? If we are cynical: there are simply not enough natural caves to repopulate them. And if we bring the matter to the point of absurdity: humanity would contribute the most to a clean environment if it simply “self-destructed”.
Publicly commanding which lifestyle habits are appropriate, and which are not is nothing more than authoritarian paternalism that leads to the restriction of freedom. It is ironic that the so-called progressives often accuse their conservative opponents of interfering with the lifestyles and choices of individuals, such as by opposing same-sex marriage and adoption. However, they themselves do the same. Moreover, it can be argued that in recent years, with their constant campaigns, those who supposedly stand for progress and who would like to constantly “liberate” us (from various forms of oppression) have interfered the most in people’s daily lives. Let’s remember that even the current Slovenian Prime Minister, Robert Golob, explained before the elections how we should give up meat at least once a week. Apparently, this is some kind of “brave new world” according to the progressives, when various self-proclaimed “enlightened” elites will determine what people should eat, how they should dress, how they should spend their free time and above all – how they should think.