Natalie’s post below, referencing ‘new age travellers’ reminded me of something I saw on TV the other night: One of the reality TV programmes littering the Channel 4 schedule is Wife Swap. This features two families of contrasting lifestyles swapping wives for a couple of weeks. This week saw unabashed ‘consumerist’ Joanna exchange with soi-disant ‘eco-warrior’, Emily.
The violent disagreements frequently showcased in this series were notable by their absence but a source of intense irritation for me was the smug way that Emily’s family presumed to lecture Joanna’s family about the ‘unsustainability’ of their ‘consumerist’ lifestyle. This was to be set in contrast to the supposedly sustainable, humble way of life enjoyed by the environmentally friendly family. Yet it seemed clear to me that it was the lifestyle of the latter which was truly unsustainable. After all, this particular eco-family, eke out an idyllic idle existence in their forest house… courtesy of state benefits!
If all of us capitalists downed our tools to live in the woods and embrace the eco-lifestyle there would be nobody paying the taxes which fund these ‘alternative’ lifestyles, nor indeed would there be an economy to provide all those things you can’t just grow. Whatever chance a self-supporting eco-warrior has of convincing me of the superiority of that lifestyle, when one attempts to do so from a position of state-funded idleness, the proper reaction is derision.
The principal reason this is worth noting is that guilty consumerists prove notoriously receptive to the kind of nonsense peddled by the likes of Emily, probably imagine that the greater virtue lies in the faux-sustainable lifestyle and provide insufficient defense of the capitalism which actually ‘sustains’ all of us.