Thursday, July 02, 2009

Just Do It?

Regular readers know that, while I am squarely moderate on issues related to the environment, I also hold environmentalists in low regard.

The problems with the green movement are myriad, from their unquestioned allegiance to the Democratic party, to their unwillingness to know when their beating a dead owl.

The greatest fault of contemporary environmentalism, however lies in its willingess to support any and all legislation that claims to be "green". Ban DDT? Absolutely! Ethanol subsidies? Sign us up! Stipends for SUV owners? Um, well, if the Sierra Club says so.

Objections to the above mentioned legislative failures have been met by resorting to a false choice between doing something and doing nothing. Above all else, environmentalists like to act, and they REALLY like making everyone else act.

This proclivity has been taken to new heights in the dialogue over the execrable Waxman-Markey bill, which essentially functions as complicated tax on energy. In and of itself, this idea is not untenable. However, studies show that the bill will cost us trillions of dollars, while having no measurable impact on climate change.

As Thomas Friedman writes in the New York Times:

A simple, straightforward carbon tax would have made much more sense than this Rube Goldberg contraption.

A sensible rebuke of "a mess" of a bill that Friedman "detests". Alas, so begins Friedman's bizarre defense of the bill.

Enter the gaseous reasoning of the environmental left in this country. Friedman continues:

More important, my gut tells me that if the U.S. government puts a price on carbon, even a weak one, it will usher in a new mind-set among consumers, investors, farmers, innovators and entrepreneurs that in time will make a big difference

Let's hope this guy isn't on a jury anytime soon. Relying on your gut is a rather fuzzy proposition for a movement that claims to be steeped in matters of settled science. Alas, the empirical rationale offered by Friedman will have to stand, as he provides no support for his assertion that this opaque paean to lobbyists will induce an environmental renaissance.

As for those who dare contradict this unassailable wisdom? Why, they are "anti-environment".

Nonsense. I am not anti-environment (whatever that means). I simply think that,
like most guts, that of Thomas Friedman's is full of crap.

Going with your gut is a fine approach to, say, trading a second baseman, but it is a poor way to contend with science. As for me, I don't want trillion dollar decisions to be made "in the cloakrooms of the Capitol, where the coal lobby holds huge sway."

For too long, the environmental movement has confused motion for progress. It is time to for greenies to stop stammering about science in the abstract, stop evoking spiritual and bellicose overtones (we aren't at war with greenhouse gasses; there is no such thing as "mother nature"), and start talking about efficient solutions.

In spite of a veritable Democratic super-majority in the Senate, the outlook for this bill is grim. Indeed, it's passage would constitute a Pyrrhic victory for a movement that is seldom as en vogue with working families as it is in the guts of left-wing columnists.

Asking Americans to trade their hard earned dollars (and, in many cases, their livelihood) in exchange for the nebulous virtue of ostensible action is a lousy bargain. My advice to Congress? Just don't.


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