Category Archives: spoilt-brat radicals

Western moral and intellectual imperialism

Dalrymple draws attention to a cartoon (pictured below) by Bill Leak in the Australian newspaper, a satirical comment on the deliberations of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. Leak rightly implies, says Dalrymple, that

climate change is principally the concern of the spoiled political class of rich nations, and efforts to reduce worldwide carbon emissions from energy consumption will not benefit the desperately poor. Quite the reverse: they will inhibit the breakneck industrial growth that has lifted, and is lifting, so many millions out of abject poverty in countries that not long ago were deeply impoverished.

There is even the suspicion

that rich nations want to inhibit the breakneck industrial growth not so much to save the planet as to preserve their position relative to poor nations.

The cartoon is

a variation on the old English proverb that fine words butter no parsnips; but it could also plausibly be interpreted as a protest against dishonest Western moral and intellectual imperialism.

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Postcards from Laos

Dalrymple wishes to be sent to Luang Prabang to write, under a palm tree, about Henry Vaughan, whose Silex Scintillans came out in 1650

Dalrymple wishes to be sent, in luxurious conditions, to Luang Prabang to write, possibly under a palm tree, about the Welsh poet Henry Vaughan, whose Silex Scintillans came out in 1650

The Dalrympian Shangri-La

In the 13th century, writes Dalrymple,

when the world climate was much warmer than it is now, there were vineyards in the far north of England, a precedent that must give some hope of gainful employment to the chronically unemployed there.

He points out that

working oneself up into a fury of indignation is one of the great consolations of human existence, which is otherwise apt to be so tedious and unsatisfactory.

Hence the appeal of rioting to European spoilt-brat radicals who love the planet and its biosphere. But Dalrymple cannot work himself up into a state of righteous indignation over wastage and extravagance

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.52.10because I have in my time done a fair bit of travelling at other people’s expense to no very obvious benefit to anyone except myself. These days I don’t go anywhere only because I’m not asked, or not often. If someone tomorrow were to offer me a free trip in luxurious conditions to Laos (a country I have long wanted to visit, my Shangri-La) to discuss, say, the works of Henry Vaughan, the 17th-century religious poet of mid-Wales, I should of course at once accept, even if by doing so I added my mite to the downfall of the planet and the destruction of the coral reefs in the Pacific.

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