December 17, 2003

An Exercise in Gleeful Cruelty

IT IS RARE that we observe the pure essence of human stupidity in its raw, primal form, but we have done so this very evening. You see, thanks to the efforts of folks like Tim Blair and Emily Jones, we have discovered a column from George Monbiot in The Guardian condemning the airplane.

Yes, you read that right.

Now, in normal circumstances, we could stop right there, for clearly this Monbiot fellow is an idiot of the highest degree. Furthermore, as Mr Monbiot is obviously incapable of coming to grips with certain realities of modern life, it would be unseemly for us to rhetorically flay his work.

However, we note that Mr Monbiot has amazingly achieved several academic distinctions, and is involved in several British pressure groups. Further, his argument is so beyond the pale, so miserably stupid, and so base and degenerate it shocks even us -- and we are not easily shocked anymore.

Thus, a compromise. We will confine our criticism to two key paragraphs which we think sum up the sheer lunacy of his argument. They are as follows:

The $1,000 (the Wright brothers) spent on developing their beast is just about the only expenditure on this doom machine that has not been state-assisted. All over the world, the aircraft industry was built by means of government spending. All over the world, it is sustained today through tax breaks and hidden subsidies. Mysteriously exempt from both fuel duty and VAT, airlines in Britain dodge some 10bn of tax a year. The aeroplane, in other words, is still treated by governments as a social good.

This might have something to do with the fact that prime ministers and presidents use it more often than anyone else. Or it might reflect the perennial male obsession with the instruments of control.

Or, Mr Monbiot, it just MIGHT have something to do with the spread of GLOBAL COMMERCE, which RAISES THE LIVING STANDARDS of everyone on God's green Earth -- you dull-witted, progress-hating, neo-Luddite hippie oldthinker.

Gad. It's a true pity that Marshall McLuhan isn't around to rhetorically skewer this stupid get, because McLuhan would be perfect for the job. We think he would be the first to say it's amazing how Monbiot got to teach a class in anything.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at December 17, 2003 02:42 AM | TrackBack