A Response to Neil Lock’s rant on liberty. You might want to read that first. Some I agree with. Some I don’t.
First, let me start by saying that I 100% agree with your aim of removing the greedy, corrupt parasites and pests from power.
I include all the wealthy elite who control politicians through donations, bribes, promises and threats – the wealthy elite who run the media and use it as a propaganda machine against the population thus completely undermining democracy.
I include all the greedy politicians who allow themselves to be bribed or threatened in their insane lust for power and wealth.
They are the parasites and pests I would remove.
I believe in freedom, tolerance, equality tempered with respect, responsibility and social justice.
I the whole of my life I have never seen such a corrupt bunch of greedy, lying politicians as we have had throughout this heinous Tory government. The sooner we are rid of this criminal bunch the better. They have robbed us blind while pandering to the wealthy elite. They have broken the public services with twelve years of cuts and created misery among working people with twelve years of needless austerity. At the same time they have been doshing out millions to Tory donors and wasting billions. The result is a broken Britain spawning millionaires, food banks, warm hubs, rough sleeping, zero hours contracts, superyachts, mansions and penthouses. The inequality they have created is staggering.
Now, to my first bone of contention. Why do you have to feature the Green Agenda as your biggest example of this leviathan of political corruption? Neil, this is you on your hobby horse and you are simply wrong on all counts. Why you choose to use this as your central plank is utterly beyond me. The environment is, as is quite clear from your education and life, an area way outside of your expertise and understanding.
Climate is not the crux of this issue. The wealthy elite are controlling a political system that is profoundly unfair. The politicians, their lackeys, are controlled and bought by them. The media is controlled by them and used to brainwash the population. That is the issue.
I think your stance, apart from not being the real issue and, as such, being a red herring, is also simply wrong.
I will explain.
First you need to understand where I am coming from.
A little biography.
I am foremost a naturalist in the same vein as Darwin, Gerald Durrell, Desmond Morris, Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall. I spent my childhood collecting slowworms, lizards, snakes, frogs, toads, caterpillars and sticklebacks. I had a menagerie of guinea pigs, mice, rats, rabbits, hamsters, crows and pigeons.
I love nature and I love animals.
I took all the sciences in school (chemistry, botany and zoology to A Level) and did a degree and further research in Zoology.
The environment is my area of expertise in the same way as maths is yours.
So I take great exception to some of the statements you glibly make about the environment and nature.
I find it incredible for you to say that you looked for evidence of global warming or species extinctions and could not find any.
That is absurd.
The evidence is abundant.
The earth is warming up. We are in the midst of a catastrophic collapse in all animal populations – invertebrates, fish, amphibia, reptiles, birds and mammals. The evidence is there and beyond dispute.
The science of the greenhouse gasses is also well established. There is little doubt that we are responsible and could, if we desired, alter this.
On a personal scale I have witnessed the tragic decline of animal populations in Britain – the slowworms, snakes, lizards, insects, frogs, newts, toads and butterflies have all declined radically in my lifetime. That is easily substantiated from numerous scientific studies.
I have, as a naturalist, also personally witnessed the massive destruction of habitats and decline in populations in numerous countries around the world – South America, Africa, Australia and Asia.
And no – I definitely do not believe we are superior to animals. We are animals. Our intelligence is maybe superior to most but that does not make us superior. It’s an attribute, that’s all. And it is an attribute that we have consistently misused to the detriment of most of us and all of the natural world. Intelligence has been used for making weapons and torturing people. That has scarred our whole history.
It is now being used to churn out trinkets for morons for profit at the expense of the planet. Every day is another buying opportunity. Greed and profit rule.
Instead of using our intelligence to solve problems like war and poverty we largely use it for mass destruction and for a tiny elite to have more wealth than they know what to do with.
That’s not intelligent.
You claim never to have personally made any animal extinct. But this is nonsense. You have.
You are putting forward the Bob Dylan ‘Who Killed Davey Moore?’ defence.
If the lethal dose of a poison is 100 units and one hundred people all deliver 1 unit. The person dies. It is no good all hundred people saying they weren’t guilty. None of them delivered a fatal dose but together they killed the person.
Thus it is with you and the other 8 billion people. Collectively, with your use of power, eating of food and purchase of goods (including a house) you are directly responsible for the clearing of forest, the spraying of crops, the mining, agriculture and commerce that is destroying nature at an alarming rate.
Your argument is fallacious.
Then, you have repeatedly claimed that A. there isn’t any global warming – which there obviously is. B. that is isn’t caused by us – as if the greenhouse effect is not correct or that it isn’t affecting climate – which it is. C. that some warming will not do us any harm – which it will.
You cite that back yonks ago it was warmer and everything prospered. Well yes and no. Times have changed.
Back then we did not have massive populations in cities by the sea dependent on huge areas of agricultural land.
When the seas rose it did not affect us. When the climate changed we moved.
The effects of climate change in the modern age will be catastrophic (not just for us but for the highly depleted populations of wildlife who are now nowhere near as resilient as they once were).
- It will cause extremes of weather – heat waves, cold snaps, storms, floods, hurricanes.
- It will cause some areas to become so hot that they are no longer habitable resulting in displacement of millions of people.
- It will result in desertification.
- Agriculture will be devastated in many regions.
- Rising seas will flood cities.
- Hurricanes will devastate countries.
- Huge floods, droughts and snowstorms.
- Forest fires
- Air and water currents will be affected (Gulf Stream for instance – a deflection of the Gulf Stream would cause us to have Siberian winters).
In Britain we could be colder in winter, hotter in summer with seasonal droughts and floods, cities threatened with flooding and a mass of immigrants looking to come here to escape heat and starvation. Agriculture will be hard hit with the flooding and droughts. Foo production will be down.
We are already starting to experience this. It will get a lot, lot worse.
It’s bad enough when previous global warming or glaciation was caused by natural means – solar activity, volcanic eruptions, asteroids. Not a lot we could do about that. But, as an intelligent species, to bring about catastrophic global warming and species extinctions through our own indulgence and stupidity is inexcusable.
I do have the background and credentials on environmental issues.
By placing this personal vendetta of yours against green issues I think you greatly undermine your whole argument about freedom and control.
We need to come together as a world against this existential threat. We can provide technological solutions that are cheap and effective. It is already happening. Sustainable energy is cheaper than fossil fuels. It just required kick-starting.
So what society do I want to live in?
I want to live in a community that gives me a lot of personal freedom and provides quality services at a cheap, efficient rate.
I want fairness, justice and equality.
I want to live in a tolerant society.
I want a responsible society.
I want a responsible, caring government and a democracy that delivers.
Hence I want more equality – a fairer society in which workers receive a fair wage for a fair day’s work. Where the elite do not rob us and politicians do not lie and do work for the people. I want the press/internet monitored for bias and lies and not in the control of the elite. I want political accountability and scrutiny. I want proportional representation so that every vote counts.
I want an end to racism and sexism.
I believe that most things are more efficient when deliver at scale. I would abolish all the public schools and private health so that the elite have to use the same facilities as us and are not trained to be superior and arrogant. That way, I believe the public services will be properly funded.
I’ve had to use the US health system – it is a hugely expensive disaster.
I have taught in the US schools – they are hugely expensive and foster inequality.
I want a properly funded Health and Education system. The systems at the moment are run on the cheap. The percentage GDP spent on them is not enough. As the world’s 7th biggest economy we can certainly afford quality. Because the elite pay for a superior model they are content to allow the public services to be poor. It’s only for the plebs. That also fosters greater inequality. They afford better futures for their sons and daughters at our expense. Their horizons are further, their contacts greater and opportunities more.
I want to end the privilege that produces this obnoxious arrogant elite.
I would also nationalise transport, power, and water to make them cheaper and more efficient. That way the profits do not go into the pockets of rich people living abroad and stuffing those profits into tax havens. It goes back into improving services and into the public purse.
I would block the tax loopholes so the wealthy pay all their taxes. Otherwise our taxes have to go up to cover their cheating.
I don’t mind paying taxes, even high levels of taxation, it that results in quality services, quality infrastructure, quality of life and there are no loopholes for the wealthy to avoid paying their share.
I want a global perspective to deal with global issues:
Environmental issues – conservation, diversity etc.
These issues do not have national boundaries and cannot be dealt with by countries. They require global perspective.
I like the UN. It has lofty aims and ideals. It sets a tone and philosophy of fairness, tolerance and rights that I can identify with. I love its declaration of human rights.
Yes, like all institutions it has a level of corruption.
Yes, it is inefficient.
Yes, it hasn’t worked anywhere near as effectively enough.
Corruption is a problem in ALL systems. The only way of dealing with it is scrutiny, accountability, transparency and punishment.
I would like to see the UN made more accountable and effective and all corruption rooted out.
In terms of personal freedom I want to be informed of risks and left alone. I want to decide whether I want to drink, take drugs, smoke, have sex and eat healthily.
Having said that, I want unbiased information and quality product.
If I choose to take LSD I want it to be LSD not LSD with strychnine.
I want quality control and information – not propaganda and lies, and things left in the hands of unscrupulous criminals..
I want to know the risks.
I want my food clearly labelled and not full of pesticides, herbicides and poisons.
I want to know the health risks of poor diet and the calories so I can choose to live healthily.
In education, working with a lot of young kids, I have seen the effects of poor diets, poor exercise, paedophilia and sexual abuse.
I want guidance and controls to operate.
I do not want this to be down to the individual. Most people are stupid, gullible and easily led. By definition half the population have an IQ under 100. They need protecting from their own ignorance.
If sex was left without laws we’d have young girls and boys abused. They need protection.
We need age limits and laws regarding sex, drugs, alcohol, smoking and gambling and those have to be balanced against the freedoms of individuals in their own private spaces.
In my views the drug laws have been misused by the state to victimise and control. Drugs should be regulated but should be a health issue not a criminal one.
These are all areas for debate as regarding freedoms of the individual. It’s where you draw the line.
In public areas there is a difference. I am eternally grateful that smoking is banned. Quite apart from the health hazards, coming back from a gig stinking of smoke is no fun.
Having three sons who smoke due to advertising and peer pressure to look cool I can see the downside. Their addiction (from a young age) will have cost them a fortune and will ruin their health.
Walking through the city centre with bunches of aggressive, violent youths pissed out of their minds and girls tottering around paralytic, I am not enamoured with deregulation.
Gambling is another area that should be far better controlled. I’ve already had one of my son’s losing his flat because of gambling – losing thousands of pounds.
So I am not against The Nanny State. I do want alcohol, cigarettes, sex, food and gambling regulated.
They impinge directly or indirectly on my freedoms.
I was interested to read your history of the world and to realise that I don’t see these events in the same light as you Neil.
The start of the rot was, in my opinion, in the tribal system where it rapidly moved to a political structure with a superior chief and a religious shaman holding power and wealth.
Human beings have always been elitist and aggressive. As tribes we fought for territory. We followed leaders.
We further lost freedoms when we adopted agricultural. We gave up a fairly free and easy lifestyle as hunter gatherers for a life of worry and toil as farmers.
That meant we now had property to protect and we were at the mercy of thieves and brigands. So we banded together to develop defences against the freeloaders and murderers. That was the start of the supertribes that became states.
Out of that came war, taxes, bureaucracy and cities.
I don’t see that as a positive move.
The driver was an increase in population. Far too many to live as hunter-gatherers.
If I was to choose an ideal way of life it would be as a hunter-gatherer – certainly not a farmer or city/town dweller.
From there on in it has been a litany of control by a vicious elite – Kings and Religion.
We have been taxed for wars, taxed to keep an elite in luxury and taxed to preserve a superstitious bunch of mumbo-jumbo merchants in luxury. The church and state represent a wealthy elite who control us through laws, force and propaganda.
That’s where the thrust of your anger should be directed Neil.
Now we get to the nitty-gritty.
The Renaissance and Enlightenment freed us from a claustrophobic control by state and religion. But we still allowed that elite to get away with it.
The rise of democracy and trade unions brought some social justice and equality but we still allowed the elite to rule.
Freedom and justice has to be fought for. There’s a long bloody history for the right for social justice and rights.
The debate should be focussed on the ways in which we are being controlled – the algorithms, the use of propaganda, fake news, lies, the media and internet.
In terms of surveillance I’m undecided. I don’t care if people want to see what I’m looking at on the web. I don’t care if they film what I am doing. That can be good if it protects me from theft and violence. Indeed, one of my sons was acquitted from a crime of serious assault which could have put him in prison because of CCTV evidence.
The freedom aspect comes in with how this is being used, doesn’t it? Is the state watching us to protect us or control us? Do our algorithms enable political, religious propaganda to be directed specifically at us with fear and hate?
There’s the debate. Surveillance isn’t necessarily bad. The use of it might be.
I’m more concerned with the taking over of the BBC, Channel 4 and the tabloid press. That’s become a stream of Tory propaganda.
I’m more concerned with anti-union legislation and the laws against protest.
In my views the issues are not the environment or covid. These are the politicians and elite; inequality and injustice, control and freedom.
Covid was a global pandemic creating unique biological circumstances requiring isolation and vaccination. Fortunately it has mutated into a less lethal form. A future pandemic might be much more lethal. As a biologist I can see the necessary measures of masks, shutdowns and vaccination. The whole anti-lockdown movement was farcical. It wasn’t about freedom. It was based on ignorance and propaganda.
If the imposed restrictions were maintained after the epidemic then we have a freedom issue.
Another red herring.
In terms of the EU – I’m all in favour! I want freedom of movement and free trade without obstacles, tariffs or red tape.
I want to move freely, be able to work or study where I like. I want cheap easy trade.
Yes. I accept the EU is full of corruption and is undemocratic.
I go back to transparency, scrutiny and accountability.
That is where an unbiased decent media comes in. They should be investigating thoroughly and scrutinising what is going on – uncovering corruption. A decent legal system would lock up the corrupt.
In terms of the Welfare State I’m in favour.
I want people in need to be looked after. I want unemployment benefit, sickness benefit and those in need catered for. There is more than enough money it is just not distributed right.
I do not want to live in a society without compassion or empathy.
Having said that I want it all tightening up. Welfare is not there for scroungers. It is there for people in need. People able to work should be working or subsisting on their own. Unemployment should be short term.
Orwell was right. We now live in a world of propaganda, double-think and control run by a faceless elite. We have our hate hour, enemies and inequality.
We’re bought off with mobile phones, alcohol, soaps and strictly come dancing.
But Neil, I do wish you’d move the debate away from the red herrings of climate change and covid to the reality of this wealthy elite and how they are controlling us!