The great Aldous Huxley wrote about this thing called “The Brave New World” where there will be some one to take care of all of us and where life would be secure and free. The Brave New World is the ultimate Utopia one that Huxley carefully put out to let the Western Civilization know its stupidities in thinking that it can control the destiny of this world. There have been many optimists who turned into cynics once they came to realize the idiocy of believing that somehow we are in control of ourselves and our destinies. One such person is George Orwell and another being Arthur Koestler. Orwell in his now celebrated book 1984 portrayed a bleak vision of a world taken over by the State which in turn is controlled by power hungry control freaks. The expressions Newspeak and Big Brother came into being in this work. Ironically Big Brother the TV show found its inspiration here. For motor racing fans newspeak is better known as Ronspeak an allusion to Ron Dennis who mastered the art of saying a lot without saying anything at all in effect. We digress here. To get back to the point about Western Civilization, its attitude is best exemplified by Allopathy in medicine where the humble doctor believes he can control the destiny of his patient. For years now this form of medicine has been saying prevention is better than cure and prescribing preventions that have neither prevented or cured complex diseases. Chemotherapy for cancer patients is an outstanding example of this.
If we are to understand the Western obsession with controlling things we have to go back to the Reformation which unleashed the Protestant Ethic. The Protestant Ethic nearly created a Godless world which broke the human being’s already tenuous links with the rest of the Universe and leading him to believe that nature can be manipulated in order to satisfy the ever increasing greed of the human race. The scientific method and the industrial revolution unleashed an unprecedented rapacious consumption that led to the emergence of things such as chemical waste and environmental degradation. Nature has been programmed (by whoever) to not have anything that goes waste. But the new civilization unleashed toxins that have started destroying soils, ambient air and even the ozone layer. So the Western Civilization wakes up to “control” this process as well. But there is a slight problem here.
Colonialism which started four hundred years ago took Western practices and beliefs to all parts of the world and strenuously worked to replace other systems of thought. Capitalism took consumerism and consumption to new levels by “opening” new markets and encouraging the locals into greater consumption. While capitalism grew intrinsically from within Western Civilization, thereby giving scope for better planning and a possibility of problem fixing, it went into other parts as an import. The Western impatience to introduce new products and exploit market potentials meant that in most instances first the products were introduced and then planning took place. The same is the case with the auto industry, the thing of consequence for this website.
In most parts of the world the auto industry went into a market where there were takers for products of independent self mobility but with little infrastructure to support that. The Indian scenario is the epitome of this. Too many people, too many vehicles, no traffic sense, no sense of cost of life and no proper public transport. So when the Green brigade in India (yes, Green Peace is here and how) starts parrotting what their Western counter parts are saying, they are saying things which are completely irrelevant here. Like in the West, automobiles are a ready and soft target. While no attempts are made to cut down on airconditioning and heating at homes and offices which demand big consumption of electricity, the Greens want the automobile industry to encourage electric cars. To find electricity for all these cars, there will be additional pressure on electricity grinds which already burn copious amounts of fossil fuels and unleash environmental pollution.
When this point was brought to the notice of the Green brigade they have started attacking power consumption as well with idiotic calls for Earth hours which nobody with any sense follows. The Greens also attack nuclear energy and cite instances such as Chernobyl nuclear reactor melt down and the latest Fukushima incident. There is a point there, but try telling that to people who only just started to find wealth and the ways in which to spend it on luxuries. So rapacious consumption is now a global phenomenon and the non-Western parts of the world have told the West that it was not correct for them to have enjoyed everything and now deny that to the rest of the world. In countries such as ours where we do not value life anyway the babble of the Greens is just that. But even in the context of the Western world do the Greens actually believe that they can create these urban Utopias with clean air and no sound thanks to non polluting vehicles? Are they really so naive that they cannot see the futility of this exercise? Isn’t it akin to the carnivore who advocates compassion towards all life forms and animal welfare by choosing certain animals, such as dogs and cats only to fit into that ambit? You decide as to how you will characterize what the Greens are doing.