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License to Kill

The environment is a hot and sexy issue on the lips of all politicians these days. Of course, the changes they’re trying to implement are, from all accounts, about as adequate as a chocolate fireguard, but at least now they’re not denying climate change is even real. And the conservative politicians have been proven wrong about almost every single thing throughout history from the suffragettes to the civil rights activists to weapons of mass destruction, so – hey – no surprise there.

So we’re trying to slow the effects on the planet we all inhabit, and buy ourselves some time. Ethical consumption is, unsurprisingly, on the agenda, as the middle classes all over the western world can claim the moral high ground over us lowly working classes because they can afford to discard their unethical goods and replace them with something “greener.” Bolivia’s President, Evo Morales, called it “painting the machine green,” and our own politicians are putting environmental responsibility into the hands of the individual, making it a consumption issue – much to the smirking satisfaction of their corporate buddies selling products.

This kind of “individualism” is nothing new; Brian Mulroney, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher all tried to teach us the importance of the individual; that we aren’t supposed to care who we step on while we’re on our way to the top – only a few people can succeed, at the expense of the many – and beyond capitalism, it was implied, this was a “natural” order. Resistance was futile, we were told by this gang, like something from a Star Trek show.

But we can only hope that one day the politicians will actually increase the standard of living for the working classes whilst also heavily regulating the root causes of climate change. What are these causes? Well, there are many culprits. We’ve heard lots about the oil wars of late – in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and potentially in Iran which of course Mrs Clinton could “totally obliterate” – and with America’s individualist society driving everyone into their cars instead of the under-funded (and in most areas, non-existent) public transport, oil has been crucial, but damaging to the environment. Air travel has been blamed many times for all the carbon emissions, and with all of my many trips for both business and pleasure, I’ve had the finger pointed at me, too. And then there are all those dirty, polluting industries leaving the suits seeking alternative energy resources. Go, Trident nuclear power! No one remembers the CND, anyway, thanks to the media! Besides, toxic sludge is actually good for us, right? I’m sure some recent “study” proves it to be true.

What we’re rarely told – because it’d require a mass boycott of an entire business and lifestyle favored for decades by the right-wing – is that the industry involved in the breeding, transportation, and slaughter of animals to provide us with our trivial taste for that yummy meat is even more damaging to the environment than all forms of transportation combined. That’s right! That comes from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization itself, not some “study” from “Right-wing Ron’s Think Tank” in some glass building somewhere. It’s a fact.

But again, the right-wing have always been the most supportive of the meat industry and, for that matter, any animal abuse – which explains why, in the United Kingdom, the posh pillocks still have their support in hunting foxes and having them ripped to pieces as “sport” with law enforcers simply turning a blind eye to it since its ban in 2004 that removed that license to kill from the manicured hands of the upper crust in costumes.

In terms of vested interests and corporate wealth, for the working classes who have only recently been able to find air travel affordable to finally be influenced into refraining from that very privilege is, really, absolutely nothing compared to the tens of billions of animals that are killed as commodities each year. Meat might well be murder, but it’s also worth billions. It’s big business, perhaps the biggest of them all, as is obvious in every single street in every single city. Even most restaurants, cafes, and stores seem determined to put meat into every friggin’ thing there is, to the point I’m surprised they’ve not decided to put blood into wine! Wait – they already do that? Well, there’s my point.

Still, despite the silence over the massive damage done by the meat industry, you’ve got to admit that planes and cars don’t help. But while planes don’t seem to have found an effective, efficient, environmentally-friendly form of fuel, cars are being equipped with hybrid engines – electric and solar power – and all kinds of modifications made so we can continue to enjoy gridlock at rush hour while listening to New Kids on the Block, two radio DJs pretending to flirt with each other, and the eagerly-anticipated results of a reality show with celebrities dancing, all the while using cellular phones and annoying other drivers who are about to do exactly the same due to an “important” incoming call.

The problem with cars is, of course, that the more people drive them, the more roads are built, and the more the roads are filled, the wider they get – and suddenly, ultimately the impact of cars on the environment becomes more than just what they pump into the air; it becomes about the tangible damage they’re doing to our land, and how literally un-green they are. Fifty cars fill a lot of room on the roads with several lanes, whereas the average Greyhound bus alone seats over fifty passengers, saving enormous amounts of space (and fuel).

But cars aren’t just a complete waste of space; they’ve allowed drivers to dehumanize one another, created road rage, and become one of the most significant contributors to an anti-social lifestyle – today, people can go downstairs, go into their garage, open its remote controlled door, pull away from their property, drive along the streets, park into the space at work, and basically go through their entire trip each day without having to come into contact with another human being en route. No wonder we’re afraid of the “outsider.” Heck, forget the immigrants – with that insular life, everyone is an outsider!

Dangerous vehicles, destruction of green spaces, dehumanization of other drivers, anti-social lifestyles, drunk-driving problems…wow, the list of things wrong with cars seem as long as the white line in the middle of the road. And that’s the most dangerous place to be! So it’s probably time we chose our sides, based on the facts. Sure, cars aren’t as bad as the meat industry, but even the immigrants these days are treated like livestock.

There are quite a few wonderful Western countries where a university degree from a country in the developing world is often not applicable, meaning the really useful people aren’t being utilized properly, because they’re stuck driving our taxi cabs instead (on the car-filled streets.) The dentists and the doctors are left on waiting lists seeking asylum as refugees even when there’s a shortage of those professionals in our society. Heck, in Britain, 23% of refugees have a skilled trade (compared with 12% of the rest of the population), and statistically immigrants are more likely to be graduates.

This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, because while immigrants who fled the countries our governments turned into hell could now be contributing to our cultural diversity and our economies, instead we have them sat in slums somewhere in our “fine” cities, or increase our very own carbon footprint by putting them on planes and having them deported!

Right now, those seeking asylum in your country have to first escape their homeland, travel there, arrive at the checkpoint, apply, undergo interviews, wait for sometimes years, and get treated like dirt, and why? Because – we’re told – they damage our “green and pleasant land.” Yeah, right. We know what the problem really is.

Well, I’ve got an idea: How about we scrap this insane system and instead apply it to car drivers?

Think about it. It’s perfect! After updating our foreign policies to – y’know – not involve invading, bombing, and taking over other countries to steal their riches and install our chosen dictators, we can enjoy a terrorism-free world, remind ourselves that border controls, too, were never in fact “natural” at barely over a hundred years old, and start letting people in to contribute. For goodness sakes, if there’s room to widen roads, there’s room for immigrants to move in, work, buy stuff, and pay taxes! Put an immigrant on Big Brother! Why should we be the only ones allowed to make completely undignified idiots of ourselves? While on the show, being restricted as to what they can say, forced to do tasks, and wanting to kick out all the assholes while avoiding being given the boot themselves, it’ll be just like being back home in the Middle East for them!

Here’s a crazy idea (thank goodness Joseph McCarthy isn’t around) – maybe we can even start sharing the wealth a bit more after taxing those who for too long have moved freely across borders; you know, those strange aliens somehow given the rights of a human being known as…corporations, for too long moving in when set to exploit us, and moving out when set to make more money elsewhere. We could close the borders on those babies, with their briefcases and greed, and even use that tax money gained by spending it on improving public transit systems. Another crazy idea! Oh no. Stop me before I grab a hammer and sickle and run amok!

The really crazy thing is, it’d make more sense. The car drivers are a bigger, more legitimate problem than immigrants ever could be, so reverse the entire system! When we choose to drive a car because we claim we “need” to, we could be subjected to a routine so rigorous that we’ll choose not the cab driven by the doctor from the Middle East who speaks seven different languages (and can save your life using only a coat-hanger), but the good old bus or light rail transit. The system, then, would look like this:

  • As difficult to get into a car showroom as it is to get across a country’s border
  • Anyone obtaining a car illegally to expect to be zapped by tazer-loving Mounties
  • Application process where people have to prove they need a car due to circumstances, in the same way an asylum seeker had to prove they needed refuge
  • A waiting list of up to three years – in which time even a British First bus would have arrived already
  • The same kind of bad press and hostility to car drivers as has been given to immigrants, with headlines warning of “FLOODS OF CAR DRIVERS HEADED TO CITY CENTRE!”
  • Investment in public transit systems leading to more people actually meeting each other and realizing that not every guy in a turban is Osama Bin Laden (shocker)
  • Fewer cars = less oil needed = fewer oil wars = fewer refugees in the first place

See? Simple!

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