Green MP Kennedy Graham published an excellent post on NZ’s appalling record on climate change: ‘Atlas shrugs off climate change – a New Zealand policy failure of monumental proportions‘, which includes this great quote:
John Key gave a puny version of Atlas shrugging.
A little context – the post begins:
The latest figures for this country’s greenhouse gas emissions were released on Monday. They project an extraordinary blowout in our emissions over the next quarter-century – the critical period of global and national emissions that will determine the fate of the Earth, and therefore our children.
The latest projection is for our net emissions to continue to grow from its present level (56 m.t. in 2011) to peak at about 98 m.t. in 2028. By 2040, they are projected to be 85 m.t.
This embarrassing projection sits on the worst track record of any developed country between 1990 and 2010. As reported to the UN, our net emissions went from 32.4 m.t. in 1990 to 57.5 m.t. in 2010, a 60% increase in 20 years. The next worst OECD country, Canada, recorded a 46% increase. The EU reduced its collective emissions by 17%. Norway cut its emissions by 49%.
New Zealand’s past record is abysmal. Its future projections are worse.
Graham then identifies the reasons for NZ’s abject failure on climate change:
Then comes the quote I highlighted above:
This last failing was dramatically illustrated by the Prime Minister in his post-cabinet press comments on Monday. Journalists queried him about the implications of the future emission statistics. John Key gave a puny version of Atlas shrugging.
This is of course a reference to Ayn Rand’s Novel, Atlas Shrugged: a novel proclaimed by “neoliberal”, capitalist free marketeers as a prophetic vision; and for lefties as an example of all that is wrong with that political philosophy. The book praises the (allegedly) heroic entrepreneurial spirit of unrestrained capitalist, who should be free of the shackles of BIG government. It demonises the less well off as moochers, wasters and bludgers.
Considered by many to be Ayn Rand’s greatest work, Atlas Shrugged is a long, pro-capitalist novel in which Ayn Rand sought to portray the ideal man and his effect on society.“If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater the effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders—what would you tell him to do?” “I…don’t know. What…could he do? What would you tell him?”“To shrug.”
This all seems like part of Rand’s muddled philosophy to me. However, Graham’s depiction of John Key shrugging in the face of NZ’s abysmal record on climate change, is perfect. His response to the report of NZ’s failings is a diversionary spiel that has provides the allusion of scientific fact.
And the “shrug” is part of Key’s MO in response to any criticism – shrug and downplay damaging criticisms that have high significance.
John Key – a wannbe Atlas, shrugging in the face of the failings of entrepreneurial, casino capitalism: a capitalist philosophy that is destroying the world we live in.