Cycling as a (surrogate) moral statement

Yesterday’s incident in central London was simple, but its implications anything but.

Just before the lights were to turn green, an Audi edged into the cycle-only box. Law’s law and all that, but drivers hate those.

After all, we pay for the privilege of having our locomotion assisted by an internal combustion engine. The car itself is pricey, and then there are road and registration taxes, parking charges, maintenance costs and what have you.

We bear the costs for three reasons: comfort, safety and speed. Yet cyclists lining up side to side in their assigned box in front of us impose their own speed: having the power of 240 horses at our disposal, we have to get off the light at the pace of one man pushing two pedals.

Of course the cyclists could line up single file, leaving room for cars to accelerate properly. But they don’t – and didn’t before yesterday’s incident, as anyone with access to YouTube can see for himself.

One of those cyclists felt called upon to harangue the Audi driver for rolling into the box a second too early. The driver sensibly refused to engage in an argument and, when the light changed, drove on.

By now the cyclist was overcome with righteous wrath. He pursued the car at an Olympic-calibre speed and caught up with it at the next light. There he called the driver a ‘f****** p****’ and a few other things that these days roll off the tongue so naturally.

In response, the Audi’s passenger jumped out and hit the thug with a left hook, knocking him off both his bike and his moral perch. So far the cycling ruffian hasn’t reported the incident to the police, but do-gooders all over the country are urging him to do so. For my part, I have a few questions and observations.

First, what recourse do we have against being publicly insulted? The answer is none, unless sex-based epithets are interspersed with chromatic adjectives. Someone calls you a f****** p****, and you’re supposed to grin and bear it.

Things like dignity and honour have fallen by the wayside, as have any legal means of protecting them. This is part of the general transsexual programme in which we all must participate: men can’t act like men any longer but women must.

What gives cyclists the right to be so sanctimoniously self-righteous? After all, they don’t bear any of the costs I mentioned earlier. Who told them they can claim high moral ground?

Suddenly the context overrides the text. For cyclists have been told either explicitly or through the emanations of Zeitgeist that operating a vehicle consuming hydrocarbons isn’t just expensive but also immoral.

Yet having consulted my Exodus and Matthew 5-7, which laid down the moral law on which our civilisation is based, I found no proscription against Audis. Nowhere does it say, “Thou shalt love thy bicycle and hate cars with all thy heart, for verily they are the work of the devil.”

The problem arises from the obvious fact that modern morality is no longer based on Exodus and Matthew 5-7. They have been taken out of circulation, to loud cheers.

The cheerers didn’t notice at the time that a giant hole appeared in the social fabric and, unless the hole was filled, it would spread and there would be no fabric left.

Since then every hater of the book containing Exodus and Matthew 5-7, and the group isn’t just large but dominant, has tried to offer various new moralities. Yet each time a new morality was tested, the test turned out to be destructive.

We’re in the midst of another new morality being shoved down our throats. Since morals based on the truth have been rejected, this newfangled code is based on boldfaced lies – and only on boldfaced lies.

Such as: using private medicine or sending children to private schools is immoral; it’s immoral for financial institutions to generate profits; legally keeping some of our money from state extortion is immoral; it’s moral to use welfare to create a sociopathic dependent class; suggesting that man-made global warming is based on shockingly bad (and often falsified) evidence is immoral; it’s immoral to point out that there’s anything wrong with homomarriage – and so on, ad nauseam.

Every one of those surrogate commandments rests on either a cynical or ignorant, but in either case flagrant, lie. One such lie is that only energy produced by water, wind or our muscles is morally acceptable, even if other types regrettably have to be tolerated.

In other words, in order to vindicate its own mendacious morality, modernity is decrying its sole claim to legitimacy: scientific and technological progress. This is yet another clash of pieties that a fossilised reactionary like me takes so much delight in lampooning.

A small example: if you had a ruptured appendix, would you like to be taken to hospital by a) a bicycle or b) an IC-driven ambulance? The point is that the whole material progress, so dear to the hearts of those who are only capable of thinking in material categories, was fuelled by hydrocarbons. When all energy was renewable, life wasn’t always nasty and brutish, but it was almost always short.

So far the only viable alternative to hydrocarbons is nuclear energy, which is by far the safest source and also one that can claim the moral ascendancy of being carbon-free. But nuclear runs headlong into another self-refuting moral law of modernity: though hydrocarbons are wrong, any other than antediluvian alternatives to them are even more so.

I doubt the feral cyclist involved in yesterday’s conflict has ever formulated a coherent moral code to live by. It’s a simple physiological fact that most people are incapable of thinking for themselves – they act like lemmings following one another towards the precipice.

But while impervious to reason, modern barbarians are sensitive to the vibes of Zeitgeist. Hence their nauseating self-righteousness – the blighters think they’re moral, but in fact they’re only moralising.





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