If you’re here for ‘Shut your goddamn carbon-taxin’ mouth’, it’s in the next post down. But I want to counter some of the most common arguments I’ve had against introducing the scheme, and the comments thread is now too woolly to do it. The problem with some of these arguments is that they’re a bit like Naomi Robson: they can actually look quite appealing at a glance, until a closer look shows they’re made of years of compressed resentment and orange foundation, both caked so thick they crumble away in moistened chunks.
Two quick things. First: holy shit. The carbon piece has had over a hundred thousand hits at last count. No biggie for newspapers, but this is my personal blog that I keep for my own amusement. My Anzac Day faggots-and-towelheads piece got about fifteen thousand, which seemed a lot at the time. Then this happened.
So to everyone who passed it on, and to the hundreds of lovely messages through various social media, my very humbled thanks. I just wanted to make some fucking sense, you know? Knowing how many have shared my frustration, and giving that an outlet, is a deeply satisfying thing.
And, Monday. There’ll be a follow-up essay which complements this week’s one. This won’t be the Difficult Second Album bit – I was actually writing them concurrently, so they’re a pair. Once that’s done, you’re very welcome to stick with me. Heathen Scripture is not all politics: I write about whatever is entertaining me on a given day. Over a long enough timeline, should be something for everyone.
That done, here are some common objections that I won’t have to keep answering one by one.
Gillard said there wouldn’t be a tax, so she’s a farken liar
Yeah, nah. Gillard said there wouldn’t be a tax under a Labor government. She doesn’t have a Labor government. She has a minority coalition government with four other members. You can quote “under a government I lead”, sure, but it’s safe to say she was referring to a Labor government that she led. Remember at the election how everyone went, “Wow, a hung parliament, this shit is like crazy man, this has never happened before in Australian electoral history?” That’s because it had never happened before in Australian electoral history. Safe to say that J-Pod didn’t see it coming.
So you make promises about what a Labor government would do. Then you don’t find yourself in charge of a Labor government, but a coalition. The other members all want certain things done that differ to your program. You have to compromise, and agree to do things you wouldn’t have done. Like a potentially unpopular tax. Labor wouldn’t have done it because they’re populist policy cowards. Just as well they got the kick up the arse they needed.
They didn’t win the election on it, so they have no right to do it. Mandate!
To some people, a mandate just means taking a mate out for a movie and dinner. Or a gender-specific anatomical reference. I learned it in Year 10 in terms of the divine mandate to rule that ancient Chinese Emperors used to invoke. It was one of those great words that no-one used to know, like when I used to go and see the Cat Empire at the Prince of Wales, and now it’s suddenly all popular and everywhere and your friend’s annoying little sister has it on a t-shirt, and you’re like… man. Fuck. Really?
Governments do not require a ‘mandate’ for every piece of legislation they pass. Their job is to be representatives. They respond to situations as they arise with the nation’s best interest at heart. Do we have the whole population phone in our votes on every parliamentary point of business? Your MP has read the entire legislation, probably consulted in writing it, and had it explained extensively by parliamentary reps. Your plumber hasn’t. Who do you want making the call?
Abbott and Gillard were presented with a hung parliament. The will of the people – the mandate – was expressed in the form of the elected representatives, in sufficient variation that no one party could form government. So they had to negotiate a compromise. Abbott is not very good at compromising, and is shifty enough that he would fuck his partners over the first chance that he got. So they went with Labor. There’s your government. Making decisions is what it does. And no, it doesn’t need to ask you first.
That’s not democracy, it’s just those wacky crazy Greens running the show
The Greens got 12 percent of the primary vote at the last election. The Nationals got three percent. The LNP, nine percent. But who’s the lunatic minority holding a major party hostage without a mandate?
We only emit like 1.5 or 2% of global pollution, dickhead. Won’t make a difference.
Ok. We also make up 0.31 percent of the earth’s population. See a disparity? We’re one of the highest emitters per head in the world.
Also, 2 percent? Not actually that small a number. One in fifty. If you were in a room with a hundred people, and Alan Rickman came in with a bad German accent and said he would shoot two of you in an hour if his demands were not met, you would not be sitting entirely comfortably. And could you at least lend Bruce Willis your shoes? The poor dude’s full of more glass than the Daimaru spire.
See, most countries aren’t emitting more than a couple of percent in total. We’re in the top twenty in terms of percentage. So if all the ones around our level have the same attitude, there’s maybe 30 or 40 percent of emissions that will never drop. Is it only the top ten polluters who have to cut back?
It’s exactly the same argument as throwing shit out your car window. No, your Big Mac wrapper doesn’t make a big difference overall. But we don’t want everyone to do it, so we say no-one can do it. In this case, early starters have to set the example.
Companies will just pass on the cost, and it won’t do squat.
Companies will pass on the cost. That’s the point. Let’s say they’ve already figured out the cheapest way to make a thing for six dollars. They sell it to you for ten. Then a carbon tax means it costs them eight dollars. They sell it to you for twelve instead. Same profit. But once that’s in place, they can start looking at whether they can reduce that two dollar carbon charge, and in doing so expand the amount of profit they’re making. Or, decide instead to bring the cost down and undercut a competitor. Businesses are very good at finding every possible saving in their processes. This gives them an incentive to do it.
But, I’m heaps poor! My rent went up, and petrol is expensive, and…
I…you didn’t read the article, did you? I covered this. Quite extensively. Go back, do it again, pick a comfy-looking ditch.
You are a latte-sipping chardonnay-swilling ivory tower tree-hugging elitist university wanker who is dole-bludging and/or on a lavish luxury-goods plush-office retainer from the ABC for having written them one article.
Amazing how attending a university in this country immediately disqualifies you from having an opinion about ‘real’ people. (University students are made of seal fat and Styrofoam and animated via lightning strikes to the church steeple.) Yes, I went to a university. I did a shitload of specialised study, and I graduated with a scholarship average. I like to think it helps me to analyse information and draw conclusions from it. I don’t drink coffee or white wine. I’d love an ivory tower, but I’m a limp-wristed tree-hugger who couldn’t bring himself to shoot the elephants.
I’ve never actually been part of any left-wing political movement. Never handed out cards for the Greens, picketed logging trails, got cornrows and talked about unity. I like things making sense. And taking whatever steps we can to stop fucking up the place where we all live, that makes sense.
CAPSLOCK SOMETHING ?????????
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Hi, this is my casual thousand words on all the objections I have to…
More than 200 words is not a comment. It’s an article. Get your own blog.
Geoff Lemon, you are a piece of shit shitcunt, and you should have a shit, and then pick up the shit, and then smear it in your keyboard, and then eat the shit from the keyboard and die. From eating shit. From a keyboard.
You kiss your mother with that mouth? Because I kiss her with this one.