Dispatches from Airstrip One
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. That was then:
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This is now, writes Betsy Newmark:
This is a striking statistic I recently ran across in preparing to teach the post-war period for my A.P. European History class: there are more people in Britain today working for in Indian restaurants than in the coal, steel, and railroad industries combined. On one hand, that is not so surprising considering the state of those industries in today's Britain. However, in the grand scope of British history, I found that statistic truly startling.
Is it all that surprising, considering where 21st century "Progressivism" currently stands on these various industries? Its current strange obsession with "high-speed railroads" (or "high-speed intercontinental railroads" to borrow one of BHO's malapropisms) is one of the last vestiges of the original left's early 20th century obsession with Big Iron. And other than the railroad industry, steel is considered superfluous by much of the left, considering the environmentally correct left's obsession with the BANANA mindset -- "Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything."
And speaking of the environmentally correct left, as Newsbusters noted at the start of the month, when a CNN talking head claimed that Marget Thatcher's reforms "decimated" the British coal industry:
Reporting on the late Margaret Thatcher’s legacy on Monday, CNN correspondent Max Foster hyped that she “decimated entire industries” in Britain and “decimated communities across the UK.” He also cited Gerry Adams, the public face of the IRA for decades, as a valid critic of Thatcher.
In addition to citing praise for Thatcher, Foster offered a blistering critique on Monday’s Starting Point: “This was the prime minister that decimated entire industries in the United Kingdom during her period in power as she broke the miners unions in a push towards privatization to create a more flexible British economy, which it has become. But she decimated communities across the UK. And a lot of people absolutely despise her legacy.”
As opposed to the president who promises to bankrupt them, to whom the network bakes cakes and gives fistbumps in supplication:
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Meanwhile back in the States, Reason's Matt Welch has some fun teeing off on a hapless opponent who wants to bankrupt the rest of America's industries. Well, even faster than Barry does: Welch catches Lee Siegel of Tina Brown's Daily Beast professing to believe:
Just think what America would look like without its mostly Southern states. (We could retain "America": they could call themselves "Smith & Wesson" or "Coca-Cola" or something like that.) Universal health care. No guns. Strong unions. A humane minimum wage. A humane immigration policy. High revenues from a fair tax structure. A massive public-works program. Legal gay marriage. A ban on carbon emissions. Electric cars. Stronger workplace protections. Extended family leave from work in case of pregnancy or illness. Longer unemployment benefits. In short, a society on a par with most of the rest of the industrialized world—a place whose politics have finally caught up with its social and economic realities.
As Matt responds:
A ban on carbon emissions. How many living-wage jobs do you expect to produce through bicycle power, President Gilligan? And at a time when the labor force participation rate is at its lowest since the truly shitty year of 1979, notice how the presumed consensus economic thinking would have us take that sad base for granted, then jack up taxes, government spending, and incentives to not work. What would the unemployment rate be in Northistan, 20 percent? Thirty?
But if you aren't simply trolling for links, and really believe in your heart of hearts that there should "a ban on carbon emissions," shouldn't you be off the Internet yourself? Or do the carbons admitted by the equipment necessary to run the Internet don't count? As Virginia Postrel told C-Span’s Brian Lamb in 1999 when promoting The Future and its Enemies:
The Khmer Rouge sought to start over at year zero, and to sort of create the kind of society that very civilized, humane greens write about as though it were an ideal. I mean, people who would never consider genocide*. But I argue that if you want to know what that would take, look at Cambodia: to empty the cities and turn everyone into peasants again. Even in a less developed country, let alone in someplace like the United States, that these sort of static utopian fantasies are just that.
Which brings us back to where we started, come to think of it.
* Don't be too sure about that.
Related: I've been meaning to link to this for a while now; while Matt Welch spots one eco-weenie who wants "A ban on carbon emissions," Steve Green of Vodkapundit spots another in the Atlantic who ponders "What If We Never Run Out of Oil?" and declares it "a nightmare." As Steve writes, "I am sicking and f—ing tired of relatively rich liberal hating on affordable energy. F— them."
(Imagine if there's no oil. And then, if you're Atlantic, imagine how Xenu will fuel his interstellar DC-8s.)