by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The news that two young female “climate activists” have been arrested for hurling a tin of Heinz tomato soup at Vincent van Gogh’s famous 1889 “Sunflowers” painting in London’s National Gallery should come as little surprise. For Just Stop Oil, the low-level green terror group apparently responsible, attempting to ruin an $85 million masterpiece is a blow against both Western capitalism and the wider cultural inheritance from which it sprang, both of which these people openly despise.
The philistines argued unconvincingly that today’s “cost of living crisis is driven by fossil fuels” and that, as a result, “millions of cold, hungry families” could not “even afford to heat a tin of soup.” They did not explain what, precisely, the starving millions would be easily able to afford to heat their gruel with should these very same fossil fuels be taken away from them. Blazing piles of degenerate art torn down from gallery walls for firewood, perhaps?
“Is art worth more than life? More than food? More than justice?” asked junior revolutionary Phoebe Plummer. But what, precisely, is justice for these people? It’s a euphemism for imposing a form of apocalypse communism upon humanity by making a spurious appeal to willfully misinterpreted “science” instead of actually persuading people to their cause by rational democratic means — a path they eschew largely because their cause is neither rational nor democratic.
Just Stop Oil is an offshoot of another millenarian organization, Extinction Rebellion (XR). To many members, Extinction Rebellion isn’t about the climate at all. We know this as one of the group’s British founders, Stuart Basden, helpfully wrote a 2019 essay entitled “Extinction Rebellion Isn’t About the Climate.” So what is XR about, then? Destroying the West in its entirety, sunflowers and all.