Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Habitual Dirigisme of Etatistes

The climate denialism beat is kind of depressing, by and large, but it has brought me one great joy: Lord Christopher Monckton. Though I suppose there's at least as much "evidence" for his birth as there is for President Obama's, I prefer to believe that he sprang full grown into this world, after escaping from the pages of some unpublished manuscript by Flann O'Brien.

As evil or (to be fair) stupid as he is, it's oddly comforting that such a creature stalks abroad in our drab age. In Edith Sitwell's English Eccentrics, a certain Colonel Thornton is annoyed by a friend's claim to have suffered a "broken head," and issues this rebuke:

I am the only man in England, Sir, that ever had a broken head, to live after it. I was hunting near my place in Yorkshire, when my mare threw me, and I was pitched head foremost upon a scythe which had been left on the ground. When I was taken up, my head was literally found to be cut in two, and was spread over my shoulders like a pair of epaulettes -- that was a broken head if you please, Sir.
Monckton is the nearest thing we have to Colonel Thornton, and I can't help but admire him for it.

He's also one of the most entertaining prose stylists of our time. Here, he explains that while markets may not be perfect, they're close enough for government work:
[I]n general the market is better at solving problems than the habitual but repeatedly failed dirigisme of the etatistes predominant in the classe politique today.
What equitable man or woman would neglect to asseverate likewise? Who among us is so far descended into the Tartarean depths of erreur or imbécillité as to confess the scantest incertitude anent this effulgent specimen of bon sens, or communis opinio? To traduce Monckton on this point, in some forlorn hope of abligating his inordinate labors in defense of harmonia mundi, were folly de jure and de facto. Surely we can all agree on this, ab intra and post coitum, if on nothing else.

Monckton has never been one to hide his lanterne under a bushel, and so he speaks warmly of his courage in "daring to oppose the transient (!) fashion for apocalypticism." Having taken this lonely stand for lux et veritas, to say nothing of the Historcial Perspective sub specie aeternitatis, he announces that OMFG climate alarmism is killing MILLIONS!!!111.

Worse yet, "this slaughter is founded upon a lie," unlike the good kind of genocide. (Or as Tertullian would put it, mea navis aëricumbens anguillis abundat.)

Apart from the conspiracy to commit wholesale murder on a global scale, Monckton also objects to "the goody-two-shoes EU," in which carbon trading has become "a giant financial fraud." This is due in part to the shameful money-lust of corporations, which, I'm sad to say, can be almost as greedy and unethical as climatologists when given a chance to dismantle capitalism.

This collusion between government and industry is a cruel blow against what Monckton calls "the little guy" (perhaps because "homunculus" has too many negative connotations...noblesse oblige and all that rot, don't you know).

Nota bene: Just 'cause he lolls around in his stately ancestral home drinking Legrand Armagnac 1956 and thumbing through his first edition of The Romance of Chastisement, don't go thinking that he's deaf to the mandrake shrieks of the oppressed, nor that he's unwilling to put his incomparable apparatus criticus at their disposal. A contrario: He will not rest until the jackboot of the biofuel industry has been removed from the honest throat of the Common Man, and replaced by the stylish Italian dress shoes of the oil industry.

Sic semper tyrannis!


ErinPDX said...

This post is over my head so I'm focused on his attractive kilt.

Happy New Year, Phila.

Tacitus Voltaire said...

So priketh hem nature in sely seelen
Thanne fullen folke hir hofercraefte with eelen

Unknown said...

I don't know what that means either Tacitus, but hello to all.

Miss you.

Phila said...

Happy New Year, Phila.

Same to you and yours!

Remind me, please: When do we get sunshine again?

Phila said...

This post is over my head

It's beneath you, more likely.

This is the kind of post I tend to write when I feel like I ought to post something but don't really want to.

Anonymous said...

Funny man. Well done.

Anonymous said...

It ain't easy being the 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley.

Jazzbumpa said...

Phila -

I couldn't have said it any better.

Truth is, I couldn't have said it at all.

The 3% of this that I understood was hilarious. I detected clandestine humor here and there in parts that were beyond my comprehension.

I'm pretty sure this was brilliant, but I'm not going to learn to languages to make sure.


Jazzbumpa said...

Uh --- two new languages.

That's right - NEW. Even though one of them is dead.


res ipsa loquitur said...

Pretty much no idea what you're talking about, Phila, but this guy appears to be a garden variety "free" market douchebag, so I'll just mention that the "Letter from Chicago" in this week's NYer called "After the Blowup: the Laissez-faire school in turmoil" is worthwhile. Eugene Fama comes off as particularly dickish.

Happy 2010.

Wittgy said...

Surely this buffoon has come to us to boost sales of Wilkie Collins's "Mad Monckton."

Phila said...

Pretty much no idea what you're talking about, Phila,

And here I thought I was being so goddamn lucid.

but this guy appears to be a garden variety "free" market douchebag,

Oh, he's a douchebag, alright. But not a garden variety one. Primo, he prances around in a kilt. Secundo, he talks like a Dickens villain and sincerely believes he can overawe the rubes with utterly gratuitous foreign phrases like "classe politique."

Monckton is no more a garden variety douchebag than Godzilla was a garden variety lizard.

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

It's nice to know that Bertie grew up persevered, even without Jeeves...

Phila said...

It's nice to know that Bertie grew up persevered, even without Jeeves...


res ipsa loquitur said...

Phila, That describes virtually every douchebag I know. It describes hundreds of other people, too, but certainly every douchebag.

I suppose I should go google this guy or something.

Phila said...

I suppose I should go google this guy or something.

Among other things, you'll learn that Monckton singlehandedly won the Falklands War by persuading Margaret Thatcher to give the Argentinian forces diarrhea.

chris said...

Phila awsum est.
As always.
And armagnac, that's French for rubbing alcohol, right?

North of 49 said...

I think the second line in Tacitus' comment has something to do with snakes on a plane, but my Chaucer is rusty.

rootless-e^2 said...

You chappies better have a good look out, your cheekiness must cease.

Ever read E.P. Thompson's essay on Orwell? Contains one of the most devastating put downs of upper class English twitiness ever delivered.