Wednesday, 22 September 2021

M25 Protests

I've been trying to get my head around the M25 protests and I think I've got there.

If you think the Insulate Britain protests won't work, you have to come up with something that will, when climate change risks the lives of millions of people, if not the very existence of humanity itself. 

You may be intellectually in synch with the facts about climate change, but not yet emotionally synced. Until you're emotionally in synch, you're not fully engaged with what's necessary to avert global catastrophe and not ready for the consequences to your life. For these protesters, the lives of millions outweigh the lives of one or two people - they're acting for what they consider to be the greater good. They have done the weighing of the alternatives and have come down on the side of a small amount of collateral damage being acceptable - and collateral damage is an accepted risk in battles. 

40,000 people die each year in Britain from pollution. That's far more than the one who suffered a stroke on the M25. The protesters are campaigning on behalf of the 40,000, not the one, or even 10 or 100.

The democratic process didn't work in the first instance for abolitionists, children up chimneys or votes for women until the majority were engaged on an emotional level, and that took a very long time. You can't, however, wait 3 or 4 years to vote to put a fire out - the building will be ashes. 

"I agree with the message, but I don't agree with the tactics," is a common refrain. So what are you going to do? Sit around and wait for the politicians to eventually understand the urgency? There's no guarantee of that ever happening, as democracy simply doesn't like the consequences of the hard decisions that a command economy can take in an instant.

The government itself, by allowing lorry drivers to increase their working hours to overcome the shortage of goods in shops, caused in part by the very thing they were elected for (Brexit), is risking the lives of drivers and other road users, but nobody is complaining about that, precisely because the risk to the many (people going without food) outweighs the risk to the few lorry drivers who may have an accident through falling asleep at the wheel. 

So, why is it so easy to inflame the public about road traffic accidents caused by the protesters, and yet not inflame them about the potential for road accidents caused by government policy. The answer is, of course, the level of inconvenience caused to those not engaged with the emotive side of climate change, not to forget the actions of the climate change denying media to persuade their readers to ignore the obvious elephant in the room. Certain pro-government media outlets will stir up venom against the protesters, knowing that if they're neutered by hate from the public, the government can escape scrutiny. Cognitive dissonance on a grand scale. 

I wonder sometimes whether those furious at the protesters were secretly wishing for some dreadful accident to happen, just so they could hang their fury on the protesters, as being late just doesn't cut the mustard as an excuse not to engage. 

Meanwhile Boris Johnson chastises world leaders for not acting fast enough on climate change, while simultaneously not acting fast enough himself. We all know he has only a tenuous relationship with truth, but this is beyond the bounds even of doublespeak. He has proven, beyond all doubt and time after time, that we can't put our trust in him or his ilk, or any who are in the pay of industry or the fossil fuel lobby, where money matters more than lives.

What's strange is that those who detest the protesters seem confused as to who they are. For some they're all workshy scroungers on benefits, while for others they're virtue signalling crushed avocado munchers who drive 4x4s. This, to me, just seems a lazy categorisation born of rage. In truth they're merely ordinary people who have made a decision to work toward saving the planet because others won't - or deny there's a problem in the first place.

I've struggled myself to condone the protesters' actions, but am starting to realise where they're coming from by being a little more analytical.

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