James Delingpole, author of Watermelons, interviewed at Uncommon Knowledge, speaks to the persistent threat to liberty in the human heart – the collectivist impulse that recurs again and again and again, and takes many forms. At the present moment, he believes the form is environmentalism:
Within the human species, there is atavistic impulse for self hatred and self destruction. You look at the medieval times where people sought to atone for their sins by wearing hair shirts; you saw in primitive times people would sacrifice virgins to the sun god to appease the sun god for our sins against the world.
Every generation believes it is the one that is so important that it has in its power the ability to destroy the world. And it wants to punish itself and torture itself.
This of course elides with another instinct, which is people like to control other peoples’ lives. The impulse to power, this will never go away.
When these two impulses unite, it becomes very powerful and very dangerous.