One of the most toxic effects of environmentalism’s tendency to reduce human needs and wants to problems that need to be contained and controlled is found in the debate over transport policy. Movement itself is threatened by demands that we reduce our ‘impact’ on the world. We are urged not to take ‘unnecessary’ journeys and to take them in the least carbon-intensive ways, or the carbon calculator will be used to prove our guilt.
But why should people feel guilty about travelling? Isn’t the freedom to travel a moral good? If we can travel, we can find opportunities for work, to meet new people, to find new culture, discover new ideas, or just escape for a while, for whatever it is we want to indulge in. Travel broadens the horizons of the mind.
Hoping to mount a defence of this freedom is a new group, starting up on Facebook for now, Modern Movement.
Protests over the third runway at Heathrow, and against airport expansion in general, attempt to portray much needed investment in transport infrastructure as an unwanted imposition on ‘the people’, rather than a development to be welcomed.
Heathrow may not be the ideal location for a large airport but we need more runways. Flying is a freedom millions have only recently been able to afford. The long-standing environmentalist prejudice against the freedom of flight shows that for Greens, the real problem is freedom of movement for the masses.
Modern Movement – a group campaigning, amongst other things, for 21st century transport infrastructure – is mobilising against the moralisation of cheap flights and the ‘cheap’ people (in the eyes of Greens) who take them. We support the building of the third runway at Heathrow.
The observation that when living standards suffer, people turn away from green issues, is correct. And so people should! People deserve better – lower fares and faster transport ultimately give people more time and money to do the things that matter. The majority continue to vote with their feet by taking flights…while they can still afford to.
Modern Movement demand fast, cheap and plentiful transport and an end to the moralisation of flying.