Speaking of "the smug self-interested consensus of the urban, global elite," the one indictment against climate-change activists like Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Gore and Richard Branson that keeps on giving is their heavy use of carbon-spewing jet aircraft. According to this handy carbon-footprint calculator, if you fly economy from North America to Europe and back, just once, you exceed "the maximum amount of CO2 a person should produce per year in order to halt climate change." You can see the dilemma. You can also see why—in this, the U.N.'s Year of Sustainable Tourism—the elephant on the runway is the IATA forecast that passenger demand for air travel will double over the next twenty years.
In his angry critique of AfD leader Alexander Gauland, Roger Cohen yesterday accused "volkisch" German politicians of reacting "against globalization, against migration, against miscegenation, against the disappearance of borders and the blurring of genders, against the half-tones of political correctness, against Babel, against the stranger and the other, against the smug self-interested consensus of the urban, global elite." It's a sweeping indictment—and one that Cohen is happy to extend to Brexit and Trump supporters. A question arises. To be a virtuous citizen in the West today, must one express affection for all of the things the reactionaries hate, or are we still free to pick and choose, à la carte?