Eco-injustice has, with the help of Greta Thunberg caught the public imagination and turned into a mass movement. Refuse to panic at your peril.
But it is strange how she has captured the imagination of so many people. She has indeed made many people panic.
In the meantime I’m with Professor Sally Davies, Chief Government Medical Officer. She says Greta has peaked too early with her eco-panic. Prof Sally says that if you really want to help avert an apocalypse, our misuse of antibiotics will kill us long before global warming gets the chance. We should panic about pills and wholesale medical mis–prescribing.
But Prof Sally, who is less iconic than grim Greta, has not managed to catch the public imagination. There are no victims, unless it is all of us, and somehow victimhood needs nowadays to be a bit special. And a mass pandemic that kills all of us equally, has not managed to quicken the woke pulse. Not even a little bit.
The journalist Douglas Murray has been warning us that during the last ten years, with astonishingly rapid speed, we have entered into a new and strange cultural landscape.‘Woke’, the world of the progressive Left, the world of identity politics, has moved outside the exotic confines of university humanity courses into the main stream.
Everything is now morphed into special interest groups looking through the lens of power, and mixing in just enough rage and paranoia to make the mix truly toxic. One group is set against one another with a hatred fuelled by a sense of injustice and high-octane fear.
I’m used for example, to the world being divided into cyclists and car drivers. That’s one of the least problematic identitydivides, particularly because there are days I am a car driver and days I am a cyclist; very fluid. But I was shocked when I came across someone commenting on the cycling deaths in cities writing about “how roads designed by men were killing women.”
Factually, of course it wasn’t even true. There are women engineers, not many but some. And some of them design roads. Yes, women cyclists do die on them, but everyone dies on them, and there is not direct cause of oppression between the designers and the victims; except in the mind of the woke, victimised author.
Not everything revolves around victims. But from fat shaming to Brexit, this new culture has different groups have learned to hate others who are more different. The paradox is that the whole progressive movement sold itself as being against hate and so-called hate crime, but has turned into a hate–fest for anyone who learned to hate enough. Selective hate is the order of the day.
The great problem with looking at the world as one great power struggle is that every group can be sub-divided into two sets of people claiming an ever-deeper victimhood.
In the world of sport Feminists are seeing what they have worked in establishing an even playing field with men being turned against them, by the emergence of the trans community.
So ‘trans-women’ come with stronger, faster bodies than ‘the other kind of women.’ One six-foot trans-woman rugby player recently celebrated hard tackling women opponentsand seeing one “fold like a deckchair”. Who is the victim this time?
Martina Navratilova, was hounded out of the public space when she erupted with rage about the unfairness of trans-women athletes winning against biological women. She accused them of cheating. Then the mob turned on her and she immediately apologised and said she didn’t realise how difficult it was for trans athletes to be treated ‘equally.’ Difficult indeed since any definition of ‘equality’ “folds like a deckchair” in the face of irreconcilable biological differences.
Power and equality are too blunt and too difficult to use as single focus ideas to manage the complexities of human beings. What does it mean to be ‘racist’ when there are no differences in DNA between human beings, of whatever race,across the globe – with the one delightful exception of Black South Africans who are the only humans whose ancestors didn’t intermarry with Neanderthals?
The progressive ‘woke’ culture that has flooded through the whole of Western society has locked us into contradictions that seem to produce an ever-deeper rage and resentment.
What takes real courage, the kind showed by the Hong Kong democrats fighting a brutal Marxist regime for their freedom to talk, think and act, is the willingness not to conform to an unthinking crowd mentality that deals only in ideas of power and equality that crumble into contradiction whenever they are looked at with more than a passing glance.
Instead of allowing the woke herd to try to force equality on complex categories of infinite variety, consider refusing to surrender to a world of confected hate crimes, thought crime and woke wrongs. Let Prof Sally Davies panic you instead of Greta. Dare to be different.