It’s finally happened. Green politics is officially a religion and deserves the rights of other faiths.
A British judge has determined that employees can take their employers to court on the grounds that they were discriminated against because of their views on climate change. The judge ruled that an employee’s green views should be protected under legislation that makes it unlawful to discriminate because of someone’s religious beliefs.
The employee was concerned that his employer didn’t show sufficient regard for the environment and claimed his employer once flew a staff member to Ireland to deliver his BlackBerry that he had left in London. This worthy soul said he no longer travels in aeroplanes, has renovated his home to be more eco-friendly and says he fears for the human race.
I heard a member of the UN Panel on Climate Change say of the findings: "There can no longer be dissent."
The next step will be to put opposition to the green religion on the list of "hate" laws where, in many countries, it is a crime to defame or incite religious or racial hatred.
Bossy little people tell you not to eat meat or fly. It’s getting a bit like kids having to turn in their parents under fascism. No, it’s more like the Inquisition when you had to prove your innocence, and if you were innocent and died under torture that was OK because you were guaranteed a place in heaven.
If you believe the end of the world is nigh, you can rationalise that facts can be embellished and others’ rights and opinions can be snuffed out in this crusade.
If you challenge uber-environmentalists, you are a denier. End of story. Even that is a loaded charge, linking scepticism of this righteous belief to Holocaust-denying.
A religion normally springs from a divine message. Believers have a common set of symbols and practices, which are reinforced through group rituals stemming from these shared convictions.
Many religions have an apocalyptic view of the world and strict rules on diet. Fasting, no fish on Friday, or no pork. It reinforces group behaviour. The impressionable young are the most vulnerable to these "voices".
In Berlin I inadvertently reduced a young green to indignant tears of anger when I questioned one of the green commandments to buy local food and "food miles" to determine energy use and thus save the planet. She didn’t think it right that flowers were flown into Europe from Africa. Pointing out that European flowers were grown with unhealthy energy and fertiliser subsidies, and that Kenyan flowers arrived using less energy and that this would cost Kenyan workers some of the best jobs in their country didn’t cut the mustard. "Why have flowers off-season anyway?" she wailed.
Trade is bad for the environment, argued a comrade. All human activity has an environmental impact. There is no evidence that trade between countries causes more environmental damage than trade within countries and why should people in Naples be forced to buy stuff grown in Sicily and not nearby France?
Trade based on unsubsidised competition is about efficiency and efficiency is another word for conservation. If this brave new world is to be a world without walls, a new sisterhood of man, why bring back tribal boundaries just for trade in food? My case was not well received.
What was silly is becoming sinister. Green ideology is becoming a theology that rejects the lessons of the Enlightenment, which was about freeing man so he could reason and choose. This new religion has many apostles, especially in the non-profit sector and the soft media.
It’s right and proper that politicians and business people face a sceptical media who scrutinise them, hold them to account, expose their flaws and contradictions. The green agenda is too often accepted at face value because they claim to have the planet’s interests at heart, unlike grubby politicians and greedy businesspeople.
Publicity stunts, like a rich movie star buying a ticket for the Prime Minister to go to a climate conference and turning up without an appointment, work.
Greens argue for proportional representation, accusing opponents of self-interest, yet without proportional representation they would be a flash in the pan. Flushed away.
I’ve been a patron of most good and lost causes. We joined Greenpeace for a while, doing our bit.
Come to think of it, if you are a member of one of these groups, have you ever been invited to a meeting or seen the accounts? Many of these organisations are less transparent than any public company.
There needs to be scepticism, everywhere, much more of it. Scepticism is the chastity of the intellect and should not be surrendered easily.
Scepticism is desirable, necessary; cynicism is death by instalment. After a long life in public affairs I now have a new rule of measurement. It’s the sacred law of humour. If someone can’t see the absurdities of life, then I get nervous.
The enemies of reason throughout history, convinced that there is just one way, usually end up burning books, killing sparrows and building furnaces. Even worse, they don’t laugh or blush.
Man is the only species on earth who can laugh or blush or needs to.
Mike Moore is a former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Director- General of the World Trade Organisation.