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I Only Like It If It’s Not Usable

February 17, 2011

Apparently I’m not the most cynical person in the world this morning.  I must have gotten enough coffee.  Here’s Steven Hayward at NRO with something I’ve occasionally said, but this time he has proof.

I have a very basic axiom about environmentalists and energy; call it “Hayward’s First Law of Green Thermodynamics,” and it goes as follows: There is no source of energy, no matter how clean, that left-environmentalists won’t oppose if it becomes practical to scale up. It is now forgotten that nearly 50 years ago, the famous Port Huron Statement that Tom Hayden co-wrote to launch the New Left endorsed nuclear power. Then he met Jane Fonda and we know the rest of that story. Environmentalist opposition to wind power, now that it is expanding (thanks to huge subsidies), is well known, and not just where Kennedys live. Earlier this week in the Washington Examiner I warned the natural-gas industry against entering a “bootleggers and Baptists” coalition with greens to promote more natural gas use:

Although the not-quite-caffienated cynic in me would probably say that no greenie has ever liked natural gas, because it’s usually located near oil, and requires drilling.  Hayward jokes that someone will complain that solar uses too many rare-earth resourcs.

Well, let me refine that a bit.  Resource use is fine as long as it doesn’t really affect the US.  So oil is bad because it affects US roads and skies with smog… even though automotive emissions are so low that you essentially can’t tell today’s cars are emitting anything.  (That’s not true about yesterday’s cars… if greens were so excited about cleaning up the streets, they’d focus on about a thousand cars per big city and fix their mechanical and emission problems.)

Anything that sucks the resources out of some other country seems fine to the greens, as far as I can tell.  If they need rare-earth minerals to do something, they’ll suggest we buy them from China.  If we try to pull them out of the Rockies, then they whine.  I would bet most green bigots would be fine with populating all of Siberia with wind generators and just piping it over here.  Turning Oklahoma into a wind farm (like T. Boone Pickens wants to do) is just silly.

So in short, if it’s practical, it’s dumb.  Let’s just look at it through that lens for a while and see if it makes more sense.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 17, 2011 12:29 pm

    So it’s the new “in club” – by the time solar is widely affordable, it’s pooh pooh’ed because it’s widely affordable. I did a post a year ago where it talked about how greens really have become the new fashionistas, the new aristocracy. If you can’t afford to shop at Whole foods, and then switch to farmers’ markets, don’t have the time for 2 hours of yoga & grinding your own spelt for your own homemade bread, it’s not that you don’t care enough. It’s that you’re “petty bourgeois” . Green is the new way to separate the ‘haves’ from the ‘have nots’, the upper crust from the lower classes. The rules of that road are that once something becomes mainstream (because it’s affordable), the upper crust no longer want it.

    • February 17, 2011 1:34 pm

      I’m not positive it’s that. I think it’s more a factor of “it’s okay until I find out more, and then I don’t like it because everyone else does.”

      It’s not that they really wanted wind. They wanted wind when it didn’t kill birds. Now it’s bad. They didn’t want solar, they wanted it when it didn’t take away the green space outside the school. So practicality brings out problems, which mean it sucks.

      • February 17, 2011 4:48 pm

        Curses on this anti-Utopian world we live in – THWARTING their plans for a perfect universe!!!

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