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Friday, September 21, 2012


This morning I watched a hugely insightful documentary: “Call of Life: Facing the mass extinction”. You can watch it for free on the link below:

I thought that I might use this documentary as the baseline for answering a comment by Mark Hubbard who writes the “Life Behind the Iron Drape” blog as part of my weekly rant. Both Mark and I have a mutual understanding that we are worlds apart in our thinking, but are happy to exchange ideas without feeling the need to attack the others position. After all, that is what freedom of expression is about, and it is a value that we both view as inherently important (albeit with some disagreement as to whether or not it incorporates the freedom to offend, but I digress!).

The suggestion made was that I might be better off voting for the Libertarianz Party and perhaps accept an economy principled on laissez-faire capitalism. I first have to make one point very clear. I dislike capitalism. Fullstop. I am pragmatic in understanding that we currently operate within a capitalist economy, but as has always been my position, and being enlightened even further this morning, we cannot have an economy if we no longer have the environment that produces the resources needed to satisfy our demands. Consumerism erodes our environment as long as capitalism lingers on.

Whilst watching the documentary,I had one of those moments where I thought: how could I not have organised my thoughts more coherently to see the fallacy of economic growth? The answer:consumerism teaches us to detach ourselves from dealing with the reality. For example, I particularly enjoyed a analogy made in the documentary that under consumerism humans are insane.  Insanity being “a state of mind which prevents normal perception...” (Online Oxford Dictionary). Analogously, as consumers we deny the realities of the effects on the environment in both the production and disposal of the things we buy.  

So returning to the point I was making, the government predicate their policies on economic growth.Every party in Parliament uses economic growth as a political tool for illustrating why one party is better or worse than the other. They are all wrong. A perfect summing up of economic growth in the documentary was that we cannot have infinite economic growth in a finite world, and as such capitalism is ecologically illiterate. So while the government marvel at all the prospects they have for our future and how this is dependent on economic growth,they are mistaken. Without biodiversity, we have no future. The current government have gone as far to vote against a bill that would protect endangered Maui Dolphins because of the impact it might have on commercial fishing and hence their economic growth plans. This is absolute lunacy.

So an answer to Mark (in a nutshell) while I appreciate that we both see ‘freedom’ as a core value in both our ideal societies, my view is that freedom must be regulated in order to protect the very thing that sustains life on this planet – the environment or more specifically, biodiversity. This is also why I disagree with a freemarket and deregulation, in my view these very concepts undermine ecological preservation. I understand that a criticism of regulating freedom is that it is not truly ‘freedom’; but my view is probably Kantian in that respect, insofar as we cannot as rational beings ever comprehend absolute freedom. Libertarianism holds everyone responsible for the choices that they make, but Libertarianism does not provide solutions to preventing degradation of our biosphere, because the regulation required cannot be reconciled with Libertarian principles. I accept that there may be a counter-argument and I am open to hearing it.

I am discovering that I am a mish-mash of ideologies, theories and principles, and am finding the labels less and less attractive. Like Mark states in his blog, ideas are more important and more interesting!