Thursday, 16 February 2017
The Future is Here
Yesterday, for no particular reason, I recalled the predictions from the 1970s that by now we’d have either run out of oil, or entered a mini ice age or both. When I tweeted these observations I was reminded that ‘scientists’ had also predicted that we would have to share jobs, as there wouldn’t be enough employment to go round and thus would usher in the much-vaunted Age of Leisure. Our biggest problem, they opined, would be filling our days with meaningful fun. As it turns out we work longer hours and as standards of decorum have fallen we have, instead, entered the age of leisure WEAR... so I guess they were half right.
But actually, thinking about it, we spend so much time on our arses, staring at telescreens that by the physical standards of the 1970s we ARE in an age of leisure... just not the type we envisaged. Instead of quaffing chilled Chablis on the banks of the Thames at Henley, or yachting off the Côte d'Azur, etc, we are cramming the hoi-polloi into cattle-class, cut-price, all-in, factory-fun-filled, booze-sodden resort packages. But are we happy? Nowadays ‘we’ consider foreign holidays a virtual human right but somehow it doesn’t satisfy that hole in the soul.
We’ve come a long way since Harold Macmillan said we’d never had it so good. Back in 1957 we’d only recently come off food rationing and such as we could get our hands on was highly seasonal. Now, however, we expect all the world’s food at all seasons, in perfect condition to be always available and most of the time it is. So why is everybody complaining? Well, I did a little research – let’s call it living through six decades – and it turns out that we are, as Rod Liddle put it, selfish, whining monkeys, with our greedy fists forever stuck in the voluntary trap of the fig jar.
And it isn’t just food and foreign holibobs we’re greedy about; we seem to have produced a generation which expects rights ever more biased towards ever more nuanced peculiarities. Give a lefty an inch and he’ll throw a metric fit ... don’t you know inches are a throwback to British Imperialism? So now, if the so-called progressives say that all colours of the spectrum of worth are equal in all ways and they deserve extra help (money, laws, preferential employment rights, deference, etc) to be that way, it is considered hateful and brutish to argue.
So Sadiq Khan calling for increased vigilance against hate crime is just another example of this phenomenon. Not happy with a normal amount of objection to displacement of indigenous culture and replacement with a clearly inferior one, we must now produce ever more manufactured evidence to fit the demands. And the demand for hate crime is enormous, so every effort to improve those figures must be employed.
Fortunately, the devil makes work for idle hands to do and there are none so idle as those engaged in the boom industries of today – endless aimless protest, demanding rights, taking offence -where having too much time on your hands is an actual advantage. Who says we haven’t reached the age of leisure? As for actual productivity, making a living and funding all this big fun - bring on the robots, I say.