Utopias and Dystopias

This what I think too:

A poll by ComRes has revealed that a majority of voters believe Parliament is trying to stop the UK leaving the EU, the results coming after the Remain-dominated House of Commons succeeded in a power-grab to take control of the Brexit process from the government.

In findings published by The Telegraph Monday night, 55 per cent believe Parliament is “determined to block Brexit,” that figure including 38 per cent of Remain voters and 87 per cent of Leavers. Fewer than one in five (19 per cent) disagree.

It’s what I’ve always thought. After all, this parliament is full of MPs who think they know better than the British people what’s good for them. Many of them, after all, voted for the UK smoking ban. If they knew back then what was good for Britain, they still know today. And who knows better than any of them what’s good for Britain? Why, the Prime Minister who brought in the smoking ban: Tony Blair.

And the EU is also full of politicians who know what’s good for everybody else. It was the EU that began urging member states to introduce smoking bans way back in 1989, if not before then.

Why is the EU held in such devotion by so many people? An article I came across yesterday might begin to explain. A summary of it:

When the Soviet Union fell in 1991 Marxism was dealt a near fatal blow. The crown jewel of communism was no more…

Marxists were left floundering. They were convinced the end of capitalism would occur and communism would win…

The cries went up among the committed Marxists to then blame the U.S.S.R. that it wasn’t real communism. And their argument shifted to European Democratic Socialism as the superior implementation…

I think that’s a very good explanation. The utopians among us always want to re-make the world into a Better Place, and for a while the Soviet Union was their great new utopian hope. And so when the Soviet Union fell, the utopians had to find a new beacon of hope, and they found it in the EU. And when the EU disintegrates, the utopians will probably look to China instead.

The author of the article did not, I think, go on to explain why post-communist Russia has been made into a new enemy. But he could have extended his argument to suggest that utopians believe that the current rulers of Russia betrayed its revolution, and in doing so became the enemy and opponent of the coming inevitable and glorious revolution. For utopians never give up their utopian hopes. They always see a Better World just round the corner. And they’re always trying to make it happen.

I had an utopian friend once, who one day very seriously declared to me: “This could be heaven.” And that’s the essence of utopian thinking. For utopians look at the sorry world around them, and think: “But, with a slight adjustment, this could be heaven!”

But I think we live in a fallen world. Heaven, as I think of it in Idle Theory, is a condition of perfect idleness, and our present toiling world falls far below such perfection. We are on a long slow journey from a condition of grinding toil to one of near-perfect ease, but we are still nowhere near that destination.

And there are no shortcuts that can be made to that destination. But the utopians always think that there are shortcuts, quick fixes, that can do the trick. Many of them think that heaven can be simply legislated into existence. They think that hell can be prevented by simply making it illegal.

And that’s why the utopians are always making new rules. And the utopians in Tobacco Control , who believe (perhaps correctly) that in heaven nobody would need or want to smoke, therefore believe that they can create heaven simply by banning smoking. But the main reason why people smoke is precisely because they aren’t in heaven. And if they’re soldiers fighting wars, they’re in something like hell. And a cigarette gives them brief respite from that hell. And so smoking bans don’t make life better: they make it much worse.

But that’s always what happens when the utopians try, yet again, to build their utopia.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is yet another utopian, and her Green New Deal has just crashed and burned in the US Senate.

Ocasio-Cortez’s version of the plan calls for eventually meeting 100% of national power demand through renewable sources, eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, and guaranteeing a job to any citizen who wants to work.

The mention of greenhouse gases reminds me that the main question I have about climate science is: Will greenhouse gases prevent the next ice age starting? I’m much more worried about global cooling than I am about global warming. I think we’re overdue for a new ice age.

What will happen when, to everyone’s surprise, the ice starts advancing southwards from the North Pole? It would be a catastrophe far worse than the mere 60 metre sea level rise threatened by global warming. What happens when large areas of Scandinavia and Russia and North America find themselves covered in snow that never melts, but just gets deeper and deeper? There’d be a state of emergency in all those places. Their armies would be deployed to (inefectively) fight against the advancing snow. And suddenly – guess what? – Russia and the USA would be firm allies in the fight against the advancing ice that threatened them both equally. And they’d be far firmer allies than they ever were in WW2.

In such a dystopian scenario, the United States and Europe would not find themselves threatened by migrants from the south, as now, but instead by migrants from the north. Canadians would begin heading for the USA. And Finns and Norwegians and Swedes would start moving to Denmark and Estonia and Russia. Instead of mass movements of people northwards, there would be mass movements southwards. The most desirable property in the world would be in Ecuador and Amazonia and Nigeria and Indonesia.

Unable to hold back the advancing ice, Europe, having retreated from Africa a century ago, would re-invade it and re-colonise it. And North America would invade South America, and Russia would invade Afghanistan and China. And they’d do it because they had to,

And there’s probably nothing new about this. Why did the Norsemen invade Britain in 800 AD? Probably because it had got too cold to live in Norway any more. It was probably also the reason why Huns and Vandals overran the Roman empire a few hundred years earlier. And why Mongolian Genghis Khan conquered much of Eurasia circa 1200 AD. Life had become impossible for the Norsemen and the Huns and the Vandals and the Mongols in their native countries. And they all headed south. It was to stop people like these that China built its Great Wall.

But, hey, I forgot that it’s global warming that we’re all supposed to be worried about.

About Frank Davis

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16 Responses to Utopias and Dystopias

  1. Rose says:

    What will happen when, to everyone’s surprise, the ice starts advancing southwards from the North Pole?

    They will use it as proof of Global Warming as demonstrated by Clive Bates in a previous incarnation.

    January 1997

    LETTER : Freeze points to need for climate action

    “Sir: Paradoxically, a severe cold spell is a very appropriate moment for a robust lead article on global warming (4 January). However, the article implies that the recent cold weather is probably a natural variation from the trend of gradual temperature increases. That is certainly possible, but it could just as easily be a perverse consequence of global warming itself.

    The extra heat trapped by greenhouse gases changes the circulation of the atmosphere and may even disrupt major systems such as the Gulf Stream. If the changed circulation means that Britain gets more of its weather from the Arctic than from the Caribbean, global warming may cause local cooling.”


    International Institute for Energy Conservation

    “1n 1992, he started work for Greenpeace, specialising in energy, global warming and ozone protection, though also working as a lobbyist across a wide range of environmental concerns – including the Brent Spar and French nuclear testing. In 1996 he left Greenpeace to join an international campaign organisation, IIEC, working in Eastern Europe and lobbying in the Climate Convention.”

  2. slugbop007 says:

    How fortunate we are that faceless bureaucrats decide what we adults can and cannot do in our lives. What would we be without their guidance?


  3. waltc says:

    The vote on the Green deal was more complicated. The head of the senate called for a vote to embarrass the Democrats who claimed to support it and put them on record–as actually supporting it or having to vote against it. The Democrats called this a dirty trick. The vote was a vote on whether to vote on it. The Democrats and a few Republicans merely voted Present, leaving 57 Republicans to vote to vote but not enough (60) to pass it. Bottom line:no vote on the deal itself. (57-0) At least that’s my understanding.

  4. garyk30 says:

    ‘Utopia’ is impossible to achieve.
    It is not the same for different people and thus, seeking ‘Utopia’ is like chasing the horizon.

  5. Charles Burns says:

    I think the “West” grew so accustomed to Russia as an enemy that they just can’t give it up, now that Russia seems to be more capitalistic than we are. There must ALWAYS be an enemy, and China owns too much of the West, so we have to be nice to China
    It’s probably worth noting that utopians are overwhelmingly atheists.

    • Fredrik Eich says:

      “It’s probably worth noting that utopians are overwhelmingly atheists.”
      Don’t many god worshipers believe in some kind of paradise/utopia after they die? A utopia reserved for believers only and only then if they have obeyed the rules of whatever church/cult they belong to while they are alive?

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