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Anti-modernists want volcano air delays to continue

It was bad enough that an Icelandic volcano eruption sent ash into the sky to interrupt European flight travel. The situation was made worse by the risk-averse European aviation authorities who were reluctant to lift the ban, on the basis of “precautionary" or worst-case thinking, as Frank Furedi noted. And now, to add insult to injury, come anti-aviationists who perversely argue that the grounded airplanes and days of disrupted travel are in fact a Good Thing.

Seth Stevenson is one of them. In op-ed in today’s New York Times, Stevenson writes

Governments, businesses and most travelers, irritated by disrupted itineraries and worried about lost productivity, are delighted to see planes back in the sky. But I, for one, wish this blessedly jet-free interlude could have continued a little longer. In the eccentric, ground-level adventures of some stranded passengers – 700-mile taxi rides through Scandinavia, for instance, perhaps a horse-drawn stagecoach over the Alps if things got really desperate – I’m reminded of the romance we trade away each time we shuffle aboard an airplane. 

How sick is this? People have been stranded, away from loved ones, away from their livelihoods, or some other activity. My friend is likely to miss his child’s confirmation. Some have endured tedious and arduous alternative means of transportation, just to get to their destination. But Stevenson (and others) want this hell to continue "a little longer”, just so that he can be “reminded of the romance we trade away”. I suggest that he go to O’Hare and tell that to the people who have been living there for days.

In response to similar anti-modern outbursts in the UK, spiked editor Brendan O’Neill nailed it:

Could there be any better illustration of the opinion-forming classes’ aloofness from the public and alienation from modernity than their embrace of the volcanic ash spreading from Iceland across Europe? The ash might have left hundreds of thousands of people stranded in airports, unable to attend birthdays, weddings, funerals, business meetings or simply to go on holiday, yet according to green-leaning commentators there’s a ‘silver lining’ to these grey plumes of earthly debris. Which is that by emptying the skies of CO2-farting jets, they have slowed life down, made everything oh-so-quiet, allowed us to listen to the birds singing, and basically forced humanity to come crashing back to Earth like the idiotic Icaruses we are.

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