Greens as heirs of the 19th century Tory radicals

The Greens are no more than a reincarnation of the 19th century British Tory Radicals with their aristocratic sensibilities that combined strong support for centralised power with a paternalistic concern for the plight of the poor:

  • 19th century Tory radicals opposed the middle classes and the aesthetic ugliness they associated with an industrial economy; and
  • Like the 19th century Tory Radicals, today’s green gentry see the untamed middle classes as the true enemy.

Environmentalists have an aristocratic vision of a stratified, terraced society in which the knowing ones would order society for the rest of us.

Environmentalism offered the extraordinary opportunity to combine the qualities of virtue and selfishness

Many left-wingers thought they were expressing an entirely new and progressive philosophy as they mouthed the same prejudices as Trollope’s 19th century Tory squires: attacking any further expansion of industry and commerce as impossibly vulgar, because it was:

ecologically unfair to their pheasants and wild ducks.

Neither the failure of the environmental apocalypse to arrive nor the steady improvement in environmental conditions because of capitalism has dampened the ardour of those well-off enough to be eager to make hair-shirts for others to wear.

The 19th century Tory radical’s disdain for the habits of their inferiors remains undiminished in their 21st century heirs and successors.

True to its late 1960s origins, political environmentalism gravitates toward bureaucrats and hippies: toward a global, little-brother government that will keep the middle classes in line and toward a back-to-the-earth, peasant-like localism, imposed on others but presenting no threat to the inner city elites’ comfortable middle class lives.

Unlike most, green voters tend to be financially secure and comfortable enough to be able to put aside immediate self-interest when imposing their political opinions.

The rising Green vote is a product of increasing tertiary education. Green voters are typically tertiary educated or undergoing tertiary education.

Green votes are defined by what they studied at university: arts, society and culture, architecture and education. Professionally they tended to be consultants, or worked in the media, health or education. Theses jobs are heavily concentrated in tertiary disciplines that are focused on much more than just making money.

Greens are very well-paid inner-urban dwellers who make more use of public transport and have few religious convictions. They tend not to have children until their 30s, if at all, which makes them even richer and gives them lots more spare time to organise political activities and annoy the rest of us. Some of them still haunt campuses, churning out more arts graduates, but increasingly, green voters comprise a well-heeled professional group.

Greens are distinct from the typical Labor or National voter demographic but they support the the Green Party for social rather than economic reasons. Not unlike middle-class Catholics in the 1950s and 1960s who voted Labour.

How ironic that the green gentry—progressives against progress—turn out to be nothing more than nineteenth-century urbane conservatives. There is nothing new under the sun.

Big HT: http://www.city-journal.org/2010/20_3_american-liberalism.html

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Jim Rose
    Nov 01, 2014 @ 18:46:58

    Reblogged this on Utopia – you are standing in it!.

    Like

    Reply

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