Tuesday, March 15, 2005


You might as well drive a fuel-thirsty car. You will get taxed as if you do anyway. Upping taxes on fuel-efficient cars shows what the REAL Greenie agenda is. It's not the environment. It is good old socialism -- government control of people and their property

So. You bought some tin-can hybrid econotoy powered by a burble motor, greased with biodegradable, recycled chicken fat. Saving that gas. Doing your thing for the environment. Wearing your greenie baseball cap. Feeling all good about yourself.

Traitor! In your typically short-sighted zeal, you may not have realized you were just bollixing everything for your state tax collectivists. Less gas, less tax. Less tax, less spend.

Oh, don’t be so na├»ve. There’s never going to be less spend, just more tax. Ha! If they can’t get it for the gas they’ve convinced you to conserve, they’ll get it for the green mile you go. You can’t stop going. You gotta get there. There’s a Sundance Rally before Telluride on your way to the Freakers Ball. Racking the miles.

Oregon knows, already feeling the gas tax pinch. Got them a university, Oregon State. Engineers there got a solution, already being “road tested,” as they say. Gonna tax you by the mile. Gonna slap a GPS gadget on your car, which you’ll undoubtedly get to pay for along with your mandatory five-point seat corset (those belts just let too much fat hang loose) and your mobile safe-baby vault.

The GPS loopengooper will measure your mileage, down to fractions of millimeters. When you eventually pull in for the smidgen of gas you need, a new, smarter than you gas pump will get all intimate with your odometer and tax you, standing right there with the pump still in your hand, for the miles driven. Tax Kaching! You ain’t even gonna have enough change left for a Twinkie or a Ho Ho.

Oregon’s already got it going. California is watching closely. New tax gimmicks tarry for no man. We’d urge you to start walking, but your cell phone already knows where you are, and they can pack some pretty mean electronics into the sole of a Nike.



The underlying problem for environmentalists is not that they typically engage in factual distortions and scaremongering for a good cause. The problem is that their cause isn't good. Among the "unexamined assumptions" and "outdated concepts" of environmentalism that ought to be challenged are its core philosophic premises -- chief among them, the idea that "pristine nature" has inherent or "intrinsic value" in itself, independent of any usefulness to humans. This anti-human premise in fact lies at the root of most environmentalist scaremongering and "extremism." And ironically, Kristof himself is a major public purveyor of that premise.

Consider the recommendations in his [Kristoff's] latest article. He insists that "priority should go to avoiding environmental damage that is irreversible, like extinctions, climate change and loss of wilderness. And irreversible changes are precisely what are at stake with the Bush administration’s plans to drill in the Arctic wildlife refuge, to allow roads in virgin wilderness and to do essentially nothing on global warming. That’s an agenda that will disgrace us before our grandchildren."

But note what is tacitly implied in this passage. Why does he equate "environmental damage" with "extinctions" and "loss of wilderness"? Why is it a "disgrace" for the Bush administration "to allow roads in virgin wilderness" or "to drill in the Arctic wildlife refuge"?

These are not concerns and criticisms based upon scientific or economic facts; they are based on certain philosophical values. In fact, I dissected Kristof's value premises in some of my earliest blog entries, "A conflict of values in the Arctic" and "Krisfof's Choice -- and ours." I noted that, in a series of articles, Kristof had opposed any oil and gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve, even though he readily conceded all the following scientific and economic facts:

* that the 3,000 acres under consideration for drilling represent only a minuscule fraction of the refuge's vast area;

* that the area targeted for exploration is a frozen patch of barren tundra with zero aesthetic appeal, and isn't "environmentally sensitive" even by green standards;

* that the Prudhoe Bay area of Alaska, the bustling center of existing oil drilling, hasn't caused a biological holocaust, but on the contrary is teeming with wildlife -- that herds of carabou, for instance, have even quintupled in the area;

* and that modern drilling techniques are far less environmentally intrusive than even those then used at Prudhoe Bay.

In addition to all this, Kristof also acknowledged that "It's also only fair to give special weight to the views of the only people who live in the coastal plain: the Inupiat Eskimos, who overwhelmingly favor drilling (they are poor now, and oil could make them millionaires). One of the Eskimos, Bert Akootchook, angrily told me that if environmentalists were so anxious about the Arctic, they should come here and clean up the petroleum that naturally seeps to the surface of the tundra."

Finally, he admitted that "we need to get our oil from somewhere, and Americans are dying now in Iraq because of our dependence on foreign oil." Surely that's a fact which ought to trump all other considerations.

But no. In his series conclusion, Kristof simply tossed out the window all of these compelling factual scientific, economic and geopolitical considerations...when balanced against a single premise -- the alleged inherent value of untouched wilderness:

The argument that I find most compelling is that this primordial wilderness, a part of our national inheritance that is roughly the same as it was a thousand years ago, would be irretrievably lost if we drilled. The Bush administration's proposal to drill is therefore not just bad policy but also shameful, for it would casually rob our descendants forever of the chance to savor this magical coastal plain -- and to be slapped in the butt by a frisky polar bear." [emphasis added]

I replied:

"So there it is. Balanced against human lives, it's far more important to Mr. Kristof (and those of his spiritual brethren who can afford private excursions to remote Arctic wastelands) that he can be awakened by being slapped on the butt by a bear.

"On behalf of our kids in Iraq, would that some bear had slapped him in the face."

The problem, you see, isn't environmentalist "extremism" or "moderation." As I note in my extended essay on environmentalism, even self-styled "moderate" environmentalists like Kristof all share the notion that "pristine nature" represents a kind of moral-metaphysical ideal, and that the presence and activity of people "degrades," "mars," "blights," "ruins," etc., the purity and perfection of an "unsullied" natural environment. Pick up any environmentalist book, listen to any environmentalist spokesman, and you'll find such language tossed about with abandon. And all of them tacitly assume a value system in which humans and their activities are, by nature, immoral.

Those are the real "unexamined assumptions" and "outdated concepts" at the heart of environmentalism -- whether the proponents are violent "extremists" like PETA and ELF, scientific "alarmists" like the NRDC and climatologist Stephen Schneider or self-declared "moderates" like writers Schellenberger, Nordhaus and Kristof.

What does it mean, in practice, to hold a philosophy that pristine nature has intrinsic value in itself, and that Man and his activities are intrusive threats to the so-called ecological balance? Ideas have consequences, and the policies and laws arising from this philosophical outlook have been devastating to human life and well-being -- as I show in my own article, "Death By Environmentalism."

In the closing comment of his recent column, Nicholas Kristof says, "So it’s critical to have a credible, nuanced, highly respected environmental movement. And right now, I’m afraid we don’t have one." He's right, at least in his last conclusion. But he doesn't grasp the reason.

If environmentalists truly care to do something about their own waning credibility and influence, what they first need to confront -- and reject -- is their anti-human philosophy. For the environmentalist movement will never earn credibility and respect unless it jettisons the morally bankrupt assumption at its very foundation.

More here


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

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