Tax meat until it’s too expensive to eat, new UN report suggests
Meat should be taxed at the wholesale level to raise the price and deter consumption, says a new report from the UN’s International Research Panel (IRP). This will (supposedly) save the environment and prevent global warming.
“I think it is extremely urgent,” said Professor Maarten Hajer of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, lead author of the report. “All of the harmful effects on the environment and on health needs to be priced into food products.”
Hajer and other members of the IRP assert that livestock creates 14.5 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
I think one thing that this goes to show is that one form of alarmism – meat alarmism? – is strongly dependent on on another form of alarmism – global warming alarmism.
In fact, it’s really that one form of alarmism spawns secondary forms of alarmism. Alarmism breeds alarmism, in a spreading wave.
I can well imagine that global warming alarmism has spawned numerous secondary alarmisms like meat alarmism. And because these secondary alarmisms depend upon global warming alarmism, it can’t be allowed to die out, even if most ordinary people remain pretty unalarmed about it.
I think that there’s a case to be made that global warming alarmism was itself a secondary alarmism that grew out of secondhand smoke alarmism. After all, once you’ve managed to get people alarmed about trace amounts of tobacco smoke in the atmosphere doing one thing, it can’t be too difficult to also get them alarmed about trace amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere doing something else.
How come so many people are so susceptible to so many different kinds of alarmism these days?
I had a thought this morning which offered one explanation. It goes like this:
The drugs of choice for my parents’ generation were tobacco and alcohol. But the drug of choice for my boomer generation was principally cannabis. And cannabis is a quite strongly psychotropic drug. It’s a drug that affects the way people think. It’s a drug of imagination that allows people to have any number of wonderful, amusing ideas. I should know – I’ve smoked enough of the stuff in my time. Alcohol and tobacco aren’t really like that at all. I don’t drink beer and smoke cigarettes to have funny ideas: I use them to relax and get a bit happy. And in particular I use tobacco to concentrate and think clearly.
So what happens in a society in which the principal drug becomes cannabis, and tobacco smoking is condemned and made illegal – upturning the way things were 20 or 30 years ago? Well, you get a lot of sensible, down-to-earth, well-grounded tobacco smokers being replaced by suggestible, over-imaginative pot-smokers who are open to any number of wacky ideas.
And it’s among precisely these sorts of people that imaginary fears about tobacco smoke and carbon dioxide are likely to catch on. It’s also among these sorts of suggestible people that cults of one sort or other are likely to catch on. These are exactly the sort of people who will believe that secondhand tobacco smoke is lethal, and that carbon dioxide causes global warming, and now, today, that meat-eating needs to be taxed out of existence.
My parents were both pretty sensible, down-to-earth people. They tended not to cultivate imaginary fears about anything. Neither of them ever joined any weird cult. Pretty much everything they believed was straight-down-the-centre normal. And I doubt that either of them smoked any cannabis or tried any other drug, or even dreamed of ever doing so.
My father died over 20 years ago, but I feel sure that if he were to return and learn about all the crazy things that some people now believe, he’d probably say “The world has gone mad”. And perhaps it has.
I’m not about to suggest that cannabis is a dangerous drug. It’s actually a very useful one. What I am instead going to suggest is dangerous about the current situation is that there are fewer and fewer ordinary, sensible, well-grounded people (e.g. placid pipe-smokers), and more and more suggestible, over-imaginative people (e.g. over-imaginative pot smokers) who can – and do – very easily get caught up in any number of bizarre ideas and beliefs. And the war on tobacco is pushing matters more and more towards over-imaginative suggestibility, to the detriment of calm, simple, ordinary common sense.