Latitude to care

There is a lot to think about and discuss around the Cate Blanchett carbon tax advertisements and the angry reaction from a bunch of people.

One of the least surprising elements of this is that Barnaby Joyce had something to say about it.  Here’s a bit of the poorly thought out commentary by Barnaby Joyce (commenting on Cate Blanchett’s personal wealth):

“Fifty-three million dollars gives you a whole heap of latitude to care about a lot of things,” he said.

Does Barnaby Joyce really believe that you can’t possibly care about a bigger picture unless you’re rich? Is he suggesting that people who are struggling financially can only care about their own immediate needs?

If we left the fighting of causes up to rich people we wouldn’t have much in the way of social movements throughout history.

Asking that human beings think about something other than their own needs is precisely one of the great challenges to finding mass-support for action on climate change.

I’m sure most people believe in principle that we should do the right thing by the planet and future generations. They might not yet be convinced that sacrifices today are necessary, or warranted, or maybe some people are having a hard time thinking about a bigger picture beyond their immediate needs because they’ve just received another mega electricity bill.

But let’s not set that kind of self-interest as the noble norm. Let’s not label an altruistic approach as ‘out of touch’ and offensive to those who are struggling to pay bills.  Wait, I know, let’s not listen to Barnaby Joyce anymore and let’s strive to be better than any picture he paints of the Australian people.

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