The Project plastic bag ban

The blue bits of the planet contain 5 trillion plastic pieces and some very pissed off fish. The brown bits host more of this microplastic mess. The global food supply chain is chockers with inorganic waste and so, in the view of several eminent sea turtles, is the marketing department for Coles. Earlier this week, the supermarket chain unveiled its cleverly revised plan for plastic: offer customers more of it at no charge. Now, it has revised this revision.

Nonetheless, our “commentators” will argue about the dirty great mound of waste on TV as though the matter is not decided. We can be sure that Steve Price will continue to be reckless with a future in which he, and all similar “commentators”, may be deprived of Steak Diane at the club in an insecure food future. They did it on The Project this week and, doubtless, they will do it again — Waleed et al will chide him for his terrible ways and then give him a platform to spruik them.

For the love of Gaia or of God, I cannot understand such moments on TV as anything but pollution. There is no need to debate a matter already settled, and it is wasteful not only to give Price airtime but his opponent Dee Madigan who honoured his trash by acknowledging it. This is a marketing plan as cynical and as devastating as that of Coles. To even concede that there are two sides to a hulking glob of poison crap is nonsense. One might as well “debate” the ethics of rape.

Of course, people do that too. On my television and in my newspapers. Which, of course, no longer belong to you and me in any meaningful way but are the entire property of profit. It is in the service of profit that Coles introduced an even heavier plastic to consumers, and it is in that same service that The Project introduces us to the weight of pointless debate. No. There are some things we do not argue about. It is not brave or impartial or balanced to concede that there is more than one view on poisoned soil. If Waleed and his ethical debate club truly wished to preserve the earth for future use by an AB millennial demographic, then they would quit elevating sheer idiocy by asking it questions.

Madigan, I am certain, meant well by going “head-to-head” with a chap whose interest in facts including death and Armageddon seems scant. She would act well by refusing to engage at all. She and other advocates for reason can “call out” these people for all they’re worth. But, the only case they really make is for themselves and their own very reasonable brand.

Plenty of people make good careers from such destructive reason. They might debate a eugenicist or a climate denier or a white identitarian and say, “You’re wrong!” as though a majority of persons did not hitherto know these ideas to be wrong, noxious and profoundly unethical all their lives. To debate such things is to introduce the possibility of doubt. It is to take what we know to be reason — racism is a blight based on a fiction; climate change is a blighted reality — and negate it by affirming it in front of a total absence.

The winners here are Madigan, Price, possibly the producers of The Project and no one else at all. If true and reasonable and ethical arguments continue to be made so often only against those who oppose them utterly, nothing — not even pictures of vulnerable sea turtles — will shift malaise on climate change and other forms of environmental devastation.

I am overcome not just with irritation but genuine confusion by this childish mania for “balance” in public conversation on matters that have already been weighed in. Who, really, thinks this stuff works? Apparently, The Drum over at the ABC which canvassed the matter of non-canvas bags with almost as much idiocy.

I don’t know where last night’s host Peter van Onselen attained his qualification in political science but, please, don’t send your kids there. While he did not admit to the panel this fallacious push-me pull-you dynamic preferred by The Project, he did himself emit waste from his mouth.

Our host referenced a 1971 journal article by pol sci guy, Ronald Inglehart. The Silent Revolution in Europe: Intergenerational Change in Post-Industrial Societies is an early effort to describe the rise of what we might now call a knowledge class and the “post-material” political consciousness it would develop. It’s a prescient but slightly evil work that explains the emergence of a group far less interested in the “material” world than it was in the cultural, or the “post-material”. Blah. I’ve read it only because I am obsessed with neoliberal culture. Anyhoo, he then goes on to ask a panellist, “Don’t you think people are becoming more interested in post-material things like the environment?”

Dunno what can be more material than the earth that sustains life. Dunno what can be less rational and more lethal than the post-material gas emitting from our telly. Give the people an ocean to pollute and, apparently, they will not stop until they fill it.