Thursday, August 26, 2004

Visiting the Moonbat Cave

Tuesday just wouldn't be Tuesday without the Moonbat taking wing in the Guardian. Being something of a system-builder, our George has written in some detail of what he thinks is wrong with the world, like the injustices of non-negative interest rates [chortle, chortle]. Now, for the first time, I catch a glimpse of his putative utopia.

Again, he presents his apocalyptic scenario. Energy shortages and then universal Hobbesian anarchy caused by "peak oil" seem to be his favourite among the loony tunes, inspired perhaps by the opening segment of Mad Max Two.

Like the Essenes decamping to the Dead Sea in Roman Judea, he believes that he has found a sanctuary with which to shelter from the doom of the corrupt world during the coming Armageddon of the "Age of Entropy". I visited the Jordan Rift valley four years ago. The sheer mountain cliffs three kilometres high and a desert monochrome under a sun that seems to fill the sky could only inspire terrible visions of the death of all mankind in such a pitiless landscape.

Rather than pastoral visions, Monbiot's putative environmental Masada, Tinkers' Bubble, conjures up visions of my parents' childhoods on small farms on Ireland's western seaboard:
The raw and hungry hills of the West
The lean road flung over profitless bog
Where only a snipe could nest
from Dublin Made Me

As it was for them in the lean years of the thirties and forties, as it is among impoverished peasants of the third world now, the dozen inhabitants, "…fell trees with handsaws, heat their homes with wood, cut the hay with scythes and milk the cows, weed the fields and harvest the crops by hand". No pastoral scenes these: My father and his siblings exchanged a few acres of rock farm on a peninsula surrounded on three sides by the Atlantic for the more sheltered suburban lives of a teacher, journalist, Garda and housewife.

Their houses, built of mud and scrap wood, have, George says, "a minimal environmental impact". My knowledge of architecture isn't very detailed [Throw me a bone here, Frank!], but I can imagine that with these materials that the houses wouldn't impact the environment enough to keep the wet, cold, wood smoke and dirt out of their living space. Who knows, maybe the housing prevention unit over at An Taisce might start promoting this idea of living in holes in the ground? Personally, I'd try something more solid, like a Wendy house.

George admits, "They haven't yet solved all their problems". The most obvious one to my mind, is that this lifestyle couldn't yield more than a third-world income, leaving this "sustainable" lifestyle to be sustained only with my tax money, which undoubtedly pays for their welfare payments, social services and agricultural subsidies.