Out walking in the city earlier in the week, I observed the rather forlorn demeanour of the 10ft bronze Adam Smith which was erected on the Royal Mile in July. The city authorities have neglected to furnish the father of modern economics with pigeon-deterring spikes, and he consequently looks as if somebody has slopped a bowl of porridge over his head. How wonderful that more than two hundred years after his death, the most famous intellectual to live and work in Edinburgh can finally be publicly humiliated on the Royal Mile.
Some underprivileged victim of capitalist society had written “Nae weed fur a sore heed” in black marker pen on Smith’s plinth, yet as a sensible economist, Smith may have approved of the next piece of graffiti which I spotted in Edinburgh. On a wall outside the Forest Café, the famed hangout of the city’s environmentalists and hippies, somebody had sprayed, “The Fascist Café.” Tychy has previously warned that diners at the Forest are likely to leave with fleas, but one may also encounter fascists in this cafe. I have spoken with patrons of the Forest Café who have declared that they would rather see Africa starve than experiment with genetically-modified crops. Apparently, all of those untidy, over-populated cities and towns are blots upon Africa’s landscape, and it is “not natural” for wheat to grow in the Sahara Desert (although wheat is itself far from “natural”, having been genetically-modified over millennia).
In one of the coldest winters in living memory, it is increasingly difficult to tolerate lectures about global warming. There may be a “scientific consensus” about the matter, but if some of these scientists turned down their heating for a moment they may agree that Britain is getting progressively colder. Tychy draws your attention to last week’s Ratbiter column in Private Eye, which addressed the relationship between Britain’s Green Party and the British National Party (both, it seems, are rich in anti-Semites and homophobes). Ratbiter ended his column with the line, “After all, the first European government to preach environmentalism was the government of Nazi Germany.” One anticipates hundreds of outraged letters in the next Eye. I have also heard the Marxist libertarian, Brendan O’ Neill, argue that British environmentalism derives from a tradition of aristocratic paternalism, and that the Green movement is essentially lead by a club of posh boys (Zac Goldsmith, Jonathon Porritt, and George Monbiot are all greens with blue blood). It seems unjust that environmentalism is popularly associated with the Left when it is the product of darker and more misanthropic intellectual traditions.