Saturday, 13 August 2011

More than materialism: envy

In a telling post - actually from 2002 but revealed to me only today and still resonating with me - Rod Dreher has shown the troubles the demographically crippled Netherlands faces with a culture dominated by hedonistic atheism.

Dreher argues in essence that the culture of the Netherlands is living on capital from a time when Christianity was the dominant force and encouraged people to work for a living. He argues that the libertine, militantly atheistic hedonism that has overwhelmingly characterised the Boom Generation has led to the country importing migrants and weakened the work ethic that allowed the Netherlands to become a wealthy country.

Whilst I cannot deny these claims - indeed I feel that the response of the secular left should be not to deny them but to twist them to their own advantage as I have often demonstrated with environmental policy elsewhere in this blog - there is certainly more to it than just libertine hedonism. It is materialistic envy of the knowledge that so many companions are moving to a country that in the short to medium term offers them a much more comfortable and cozy existence at apparently no cost whatsoever. The result is that people in Europe - even more today as the inefficiency of using any of their land for a purpose for which it was more nearly designed than any other land in Earth's four and a half billion year history (intensive production of food) - want to have everything people in land-glutted Australia and Red America receive naturally for little effort.

For this reason most of Europe's working masses have for a century and a half campaigned constantly to be given whatever wealth they can by government, whilst at the same time they have bought inventions of dubious long-term value as far as maintaining a demographically sustainable culture.

Meanwhile, Europeans have never become as comfortable as Australia, Red America, or in some ways even the extremely poor people of sub-Saharan Africa which has the same glutted land supply. The lesson that Europeans really have to learn is that they should not desire this because they live in a land endowed with a gift immesurably rarer (in geological terms) than a glut of land or minerals.

1 comment:

Arthur Zastruga said...

Very interesting angle on European land use. Since Dreher wrote that article I think the situation in Holland is even more polarised. The Robert Frost quote is excellent, and sums up my own feelings very well.

Anyway just thought I'd comment because you have a very interesting blog which I just stumbled on browsing through Blogger, after resurrecting my own (rather more downmarket) blog this week. A lot of the climate change stuff clashes with my politics but you are obviously many times better informed than me. I just don't want it to be true, and I'm deeply suspicious of government.

Keep up the good work anyhow.