For environmental wackoists, Sir Jonathon Porritt could be either a traitor or a visionary. He is an aforementioned environmental wackoist himself, having been a ‘Friend of the Earth’ and a Green Party figurehead, and current advisor to the Blair government. To these groups of wackoists, what Porritt believes is wildly controversial. To all others, what he seems to be beginning to believe is pure common sense.

There are three distinct approaches to environmental and energy issues. The first is to deny that we have any problems so we won’t have to change. The second is to claim that our problems are so severe that we need to change our entire lifestyles urgently, before the world explodes (the environmental wackoist position). And the third is to agree that there are a few issues and leave it in the hands of the capitalist free market to provide the solution as it always has.

Porritt is featured in an interview published today with John Vidal, entitled ‘Rude Awakening.’ The entire article is written with a ‘Duh, maybe capitalism isn’t quite as evil as we thought’ syndrome. Porritt, who has always fallen into the second category, is now realising that those who fall into the third category (such as my reasonable self) may just have been right all along. So I’m going to quote the relevant parts about capitalism from this article, happy that some aforementioned wackoists appear to be beginning to open their eyes a little, and simultaneously entertained by their apparent surprise at the concept of capitalism actually supplying solutions.

“To underline what he has learned, [Porritt] has written a book called Capitalism As If The World Matters. It’s no contrarian potboiler, but it will shock some people because its stark premise is that capitalism is the only global force able to get the world out of its present deep troubles.” [What a revelation! A “stark premise”! A “shock” to wackoists everywhere!]

“His argument is pragmatic and goes briefly like this: ….conventional environmentalism has failed to win over hearts and minds….” [Agh! Did he actually say that? TRAITOR!]

“…Change has to be desirable and will not come by threatening people with ecological doom…” [It won’t? You’re kidding!]

“…We must embrace capitalism as the only overarching system capable of both reconciling ecological sustainability, and reforming it.” [No!]

“I don’t have great faith in capitalism, but it is formidably flexible…” [That’s right, take it easy. One step at a time.]

“He argues that, given the right incentives, capitalism can and will transform itself to deliver a genuinely sustainable economy.” [Let me help. Capitalism is a continually changing, expanding, adjusting, transforming, reordering system which will AUTOMATICALLY meet the needs of sustainability – that’s what capitalism is! No forced changes are required. It is an automated supply system that mirrors human demand. What a discovery for you!]

“Today, Porritt says, business is far ahead of government.” [No shit, Sherlock.]

“Like it or not, capitalism is the only game in town. The drive to extend the reach of markets into every aspect of the economy is an irresistible force.”

And perhaps the most sensible thing attributed to Porritt in this article is this: “Part of the problem … may be in the civil service. …They don’t like society entrepreneurs, people who are genuinely bringing solutions.” [So the answer is less government, not more. What a radical!]

Porritt still talks about government intervening in the markets, and about forcing corporations to do things differently, and about the corporate leaders being in their “last- chance-saloon job”. He clearly doesn’t trust the general public to know what’s best for themselves. He’s obviously a leftist who reads from the same hymnsheet as George “Moonbat” Monbiot (who also recently found himself awestruck by the positive capitalist response to energy issues).

But perhaps, one day, he and his fellow environmental wackoists will learn something from his ‘Duh’ moment.

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John Wright

johnwright@softhome.net