The aviation industry and those who choose to fly are under constant attack.1 Environmentalists decry flying as an indulgence of the wealthy that causes disproportionate environmental damage and encourage a growing “flight shame” movement, while governments push new laws and taxes to penalize airlines and passengers.2
But, contrary to these detractors, aviation is, in fact, a vital, life-serving industry, without which human beings would live profoundly inferior lives. Here are just seven reasons why aviation is a wonderful thing that should be defended against denunciations and attempts to restrict it.
- Flight Breaks Down Barriers between Nations
For most of history, nations and cultures were relatively insular. Few people ever left their hometown, let alone their country, or had direct experience of other countries or cultures. Today, thanks to modern aviation, nations of the world are better connected than ever. It’s easier to experience firsthand how people in other parts of the world live. Trade between nations is more plentiful than ever. This global exchange of goods and ideas helps prevent wars and reduces the tendency toward nationalism. As aviation entrepreneur Blake Scholl observes, “We haven’t had a world war since the dawn of the jet age.” . . .
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1. I describe some of these in my article “The Anti-Progress Crusade against Flight” in the Summer 2021 issue of The Objective Standard.
2. Lauren Walker, “More Expensive Tickets: Belgium’s New Short-Haul Flight Tax Prompts Uncertainty,” Brussels Times, October 13, 2021, https://www.brusselstimes.com/belgium/189021/more-expensive-tickets-belgiums-new-short-haul-flight-tax-prompts-uncertainty/.
3. Suzy Strutner, “This Is What Your Flight Used to Look Like (and It's Actually Crazy),” Huffington Post, June 15, 2014, https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/air-travel-1950s_n_5461411.
4. As Johan Norberg notes, increased importing of new technologies from China was correlated with an increase in research and innovation in South Korea, the United States, and Europe. Dead Wrong with Johan Norberg: Does China Hurt Innovation?, Free to Choose Network, June 20, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExRe7IiI3j0.