December 6, 2009

"Stop 'going green.' Just stop it."

Says Mike Tidwell. Why?
[S]urveys show that very few people are willing to make significant voluntary changes, and those of us who do create the false impression of mass progress as the media hypes our actions.

Instead, most people want carbon reductions to be mandated by laws that will allow us to share both the responsibilities and the benefits of change. Ours is a nation of laws; if we want to alter our practices in a deep and lasting way, this is where we must start. After years of delay and denial and green half-measures, we must legislate a stop to the burning of coal, oil and natural gas.

Of course, all this will require congressional action....
We're a nation of laws, and, in Tidwell's mind, that means not that we are free but that we need law telling us every last thing we ought to do:  Individual voluntary action is a big distraction from what we really need — compulsion.

120 comments:

SteveR said...

A scary and far too common attitude.

Alex said...

Ah the mask finally comes off. It's all about decreasing people's standard of living severely. Remember what you paid for in this green stuff when it's dead of winter and power gets cut off because the power plant can't burn any more coal for the next 24 hours. As you and loved ones huddle under blankets, you will curse the greens to hell. Too late, they will have already won.

JohnAnnArbor said...

The fascist approach to "the national good."

Alex said...

The lynchpin the AGWists believe is not the AGW data, but melting glaciers and rising sea levels. They believe glaciers have never melted before and sea levels never rose. But regardless, even if the AGWists fail now they'll win in the long run because they are brainwashing the kids as we speak in public education. Go to any public school "earth sciences" class and you only get the AGW side.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Even today, only 10 percent of our household light bulbs are compact fluorescents. Hybrids account for only 2.5 percent of U.S. auto sales.

I use come CFLs and some incandescents, depending on the fixture. In a few years, if this thug gets his way, we'll have no choice in the matter.

Wait until they move their gaze to motorsports. They'd shut down NASCAR in a heartbeat if they could.

Franco said...

I'm done worrying about the planet. What a relief!

Alex said...

Dubner & Levitt take on the AGW issue in Superfreakonomics. They make the point that even if AGW was real, there are cheaper solutions then bankrupting our economy and trashing our standard of living. The entire narrative of the warmists is:

"AGW is such a threat you must sacrifice your standard of living, and do not argue with us or you are an immoral evil denialist".

Am I right or am I right?

AJ Lynch said...

I am with Franco.

Down with these green scams. And can I finally stop with the re-cycling kabuki too?

JohnAnnArbor said...

And can I finally stop with the re-cycling kabuki too?

Some recycling makes a lot of sense. Aluminum, for example, is energy-intensive to extract from ore. And steel is just easy to recycle, even from the regular trash stream, thanks to magnets.

Crimso said...

First off, let's legislate that Congress can't spend more than it takes (i.e. Congress needs to quit going "green," as in stop spending "green" you don't have). We can eventually work our way around to legislating solutions to imagined catastrophes after we solve the real, here-and-now problems.

Maguro said...

Ve have veys of making you go green.

OldGrouchy Doug Wright said...

AGW has never been about facts, it's always been about controlling the unwashed masses, who need their social betters to lead them, to guide them through the harsh realities of life. Where would we be without our elites telling us how to behave, to correct our misbegotten desires when we wish to elevate ourselves.

Remember that as they pave pave our cobblestone streets.

traditionalguy said...

And the beat goes on from the brainwashed liberals. They really accept unquestioned the assumption the CO2 is a dirty pollutant. With that much stupidity they are trapped in an end to their own lives and insist that like the Prophet of Jonestown they shall make is all drink the cool-aid together, quickly, quickly...before an adult posting on Facebook comes and puts an end to the Cult. Crack Emcee was right all along. This is not mere politics for men like Mike Tidwell. It is a mass murder cult that desires to see us all driven out into the wilderness as Pol Pot did for the Cambodians.

SMGalbraith said...

The desire to save the world is often a cover for those that wish to rule it.

Mencken said something like that.

Yeah, except for that Mussolini thing he was a smart fellow.

The eye-opening aspect of this is the complete abscence of reluctance on the part of the "save the world" crowd. No worries about potential abuse of these power, no concerns about diminished liberty.

Zealots are like that. Whether wearing clerical collars or lab coats.

Alex said...

tradguy - somehow the falling support for AGW as true among all Americans indicates that they have no burning desire to retreat to caveman living standards.

Skeptical said...

This is a dumb response, Ann.

If AGW is a genuine problem, it is the paradigm case of when compulsion is called for. It's a collective action problem, in which there are great benefits for each if most cooperate but for each it is more convenient to act selfishly than to act in cooperative way.

You might as well say: Taxation! Why not have everyone voluntarily contribute what he or she thinks best?

The Crack Emcee said...

Give it up, you guys, it's already established you're long-term rubes for this kind of stuff.

Where is the outrage?

Alex said...

Skeptical - wrong. If you bothered to read Superfreakonomics you'd know that there are cheaper solutions to cooling the planet other then flushing 25-50% of GDP down the drain.

SMGalbraith said...

If AGW is a genuine problem, it is the paradigm case of when compulsion is called for

So any and every act of coercion is acceptable?

Even those of us - like me - who thinks the weight of evidence shows that some level of AGW is occurring (but disagrees with the catastrophic predictions) - can't question the scope of compulsion?

Exactly what type of world do we want to save here?

kentuckyliz said...

If we can't burn coal, then hell, we NEED global warming. Chilly otherwise.

I say eff it all. The world will live on. The real question is, will humans? Answer: only those that deserve to.

Enter Darwin.

Pastafarian said...

"Skeptical" said: "You might as well say: Taxation! Why not have everyone voluntarily contribute what he or she thinks best?"

Well, that would be insane, wouldn't it? I mean, it's so much more fun to spend OTHER people's money, than it is your own.

Why would you want to contribute to charities, if you believe in wealth redistribution, when you can instead mobilize the 52% of the country that will receive money under said redistribution, to tax the living shit out of the remaining 48% that will foot the bill?

As you're apparently a religious zealot, friend, I'd suggest you find yourself a more appropriate tag. Maybe "ApostleForGoracle" or something like that. You're giving real skeptics a bad name, dude.

Skeptical said...

There's a lot of moronitude going on here.

Alex: I have no brief for AGW, or for any particular solution to it. My point was about Ann's silly suggestion that the big issue here is between individual initiative and authoritative solutions. My point is that when you have a prisoner's dilemma problem, where it is always to one's own interest to be noncooperative but cooperation yields benefits for all, this is when we think that compulsion is the way to go. Are you telling me that the Superfreakonomics solution one that is going to come off by the invisible hand?

So, Pastafarian, suppose that there was no federal spending on anything but national defense. Do you think that individual choice should fix how much folks contribute? If you do, you're a dumbass.

SMGalbraith: Did I say that every act of coercion is justified? Lean to read.

Pastafarian said...

And, Skeptical, I'm not sure how "going green" could only be done collectively.

All you have to do is convince a substantial portion of the population that the world will end if we don't stop producing CO2. Apparently, all the science is behind you, as well as the media, Hollywood, etc. Shouldn't be hard, in that case. Just convince them that we'll all die, the land inundated, the Statue of Liberty exploding, etc.

Any rational person who believed this would then minimize their own CO2 production. For example, they'll start using one square of toilet paper to wipe their ass. Perhaps they'll tear a little circle (about 0.75 inch diameter) out of the middle of the square, then put their finger through that hole, wipe their ass with the finger, use the paper to wipe off the finger, and use the little torn-off circle to clean under their nail.

All you have to do is convince, say, 60% of the earth's population that their very lives depend on this, and that 60% will cut their CO2 production drastically. If they cut it in half, that would reduce total worldwide output by 30%.

How would it be better to mandate that everyone, including those that think this is all foolishness, reduce their CO2 output by 30%, instead of allowing these AGW believers to reduce their output by 50%?

I suppose that the Catholic Church could collect a lot more money if they could compel everyone, including non-parishoners, to contribute to the collection plate, rather than just soliciting donations. Should we allow the Catholic Church to force everyone to donate?

Why would we allow the Church of AGW to do this?

PatCA said...

What dreamers like Tidwell refuse to admit is that somewhere, someone is always suffering. He would just replace the suffering of his imagined few with the suffering of the imagined affluent, SUV-loving, rabble. (The elite, of course, are free to fly around the globe to attend climate confabs.)

To the Tidwells of the world, the destruction of the individual is fair price for the imagined ideal. I hate this ideology and I hope it soon dies. Before they bring out the inevitable guillotine.

Pastafarian said...

"Skeptical", if there were no federal spending other than national defense, then we would have such a robust economy that we would have little need for federal spending on welfare and food stamps and community development and all the other wealth redistribution rat-holes that our money is currently poured down.

So, yes, we could then get by with voluntary charity for the remaining actual charitable needs.

But we mustn't have that -- if we were to actually win the "war on poverty" then the Democrats would lose most of their supporters, beholden to them for their handouts.

Palladian said...

It will get to the point where the Tidwells and the "Skepticals" will need to be opposed with violence. After all, what they're proposing, State coercion on pain of fine and incarceration, is violence in itself. The power of unjust and oppressive law is the threat of violence. The power of people to oppose injustice and oppression becomes limited to violence once the peaceful means of opposition have been rendered useless by an unjust State.

Pastafarian said...

Really, if there ever was a "problem" that could be solved without resorting to forced collectivism, this (made-up bullshit) problem seems to be it.

All you have to do is convince a substantial percentage of the population to modify their behavior.

The problem is, no one believes this AGW crap. If they did, they wouldn't own 3 giant homes, and they wouldn't fly private planes.

SMGalbraith said...

Skeptical:
Did I say that every act of coercion is justified? Lean to read.

The little questions marks at the end of my sentences are there for a purpose. They indicate questions not statements.

Again, you wrote:
If AGW is a genuine problem, it is the paradigm case of when compulsion is called for.

No qualifiers. You didn't write "some" compulsion or limit it in any way.

This isn't sixth grade English class here. Write like an adult and your writings will be treated accordingly. Otherwise try another blog.

somefeller said...

Any rational person who believed this would then minimize their own CO2 production.

Actually, they might not, due to the classic free rider / collective action problem. I am skeptical about AGW (or more specifically, the solutions to AGW being proposed), but Skeptical's point is a pretty bland one, namely that there are times in which the way to deal with large-scale problems cannot be left up to individual actions done on an individual's own time. It may make some feel better to claim this is incipient fascism/communism/whateverithinkisbadism that they are resisting, but such Walter Mitty fantasies aren't serious responses in real emergency situations. Which, as I mentioned before, I'm not convinced AGW is.

SMGalbraith said...

Skeptical's point is a pretty bland one, namely that there are times in which the way to deal with large-scale problems cannot be left up to individual actions done on an individual's own time

Sure, war being the most obvious one.

But the argument for compulsion to deal with this isn't new. We've seen lots of extremely drastic proposals being made to deal with AGW.

The issue on the table - even for sceptics - is what is acceptable and what is not.

Again, what world will be wind up saving?

Pastafarian said...

somefeller, I don't know how a rational person who thought that CO2 could destroy the world would decide to book a private flight to Zurich for a ski weekend.

Can you provide me with an example of this, where the stakes were this high, and yet people decided to act against their own self-interest, merely because there were a few other people who decided not to participate in their "solution"?

Pastafarian said...

War is the example?

I don't think we really needed a draft in WWII. I know we had one; but I'm pretty sure we would have had enough volunteers without it.

And we're able to fight wars effectively right now without compulsory service.

And the sacrifices that an AGW zealot would have to make to save the planet (wiping his ass with one square, composting his coffee grounds, and driving a golf cart to work) don't really compare to storming the beaches of Normandy. Close, sure -- especially that one-square technique -- but just not quite the same.

somefeller said...

If someone (rationally) thought that burning CO2 en masse is a problem, but their little contribution wouldn't mean much in the grand scheme of things, so then they might not care about jetting to Zurich. Let's put it this way, most people who from time to time speed, drink and drive or litter don't think what they are doing, on the writ large Kantian scale, is the right thing to do. But they will do it from time to time on their own for their own convenience or pleasures, and we have laws to prevent such things.

And examples about times when such rules should be compulsory? I just gave three. Another one would be a military draft in a time of national emergency, when you couldn't wait for everyone to join the military, and there too you can see the classic "better him than me" problem kick in.

Once again, AGW may not be the right circumstance for these sorts of rules, but let's not live in the libertarian utopia where such rules aren't ever necessary or wise.

DADvocate said...

Sure, war being the most obvious one.

The alarmists want to elevate the threat of AGW to that of a threat of war. This way they can steal our freedom for our own good. But, unlike war, the threat of AGW never ends and is never defeated so we can kiss our freedom goodbye to their fascist demands.

somefeller said...

Regarding WWII, the issue isn't whether people will sign up but when. If you need the manpower ASAP, as was the case there (and that's something you don't leave to the invisible hand of voluntarism), you do the draft. And while recent wars haven't needed a draft, our recent wars, thankfully, haven't been struggles with the immediate stakes as high as that one.

SMGalbraith said...

War is the example?

Besides compulsory service we had a number of other coerced changes.

Increased taxes, rationing, limits on travel/communications/press reporting, et cetera.

Skeptical said...

Pastafarian, No. What makes CO2 emissions bad is not little old me doing it. My doing it is a drop in the bucket. So if it makes no perceptible difference to the outcome if I am uncooperative, but I gain benefits for myself by being uncooperative, then it is in my individual self-interest to be uncooperative. Jetting to Zurich, here I come!

What you're saying implies that if I believe that taxation is necessary, I should, as a matter of self-interest, pay my taxes. Again, no.

Palladian, this 'opposed by violence' stuff is rather far beneath you. Unless you think that all use of coercive state action to deal with collective action problems is unjust, then you've no basis to object to what I said.

You people who make this about freedom are making asses of yourselves. If you really believed that AGW was going to have the disastrous results proponents say it will have, and you believed that the most likely way to avoid these bad results would be use of coercive state power, you would embrace authoritative measures with a big ole hug. You just don't believe it. And of course it would be dumb to limit people's freedom for no good reason. Nobody disagrees with that.

Pastafarian said...

Well, somefeller, most people don't litter, not because they're worried about that big "war on littering" enforcement campaign, but because they don't want to turn their surroundings into a dump.

Proably 80% of the population refrains from littering, essentially voluntarily. Probably more like 95%, with 5% remaining lazy shit-heels, but let's just say 80%.

And I'd imagine that even if we repealed all laws against drunk driving, you wouldn't see more than 40% of everyone out there veering around with a tall boy in one hand and the wheel in the other.

So again, at least 60% of everyone would still refrain from this out of common decency.

It seems to me as though the "free riders" would be the 5 to 10% of society that we might call sociopaths. And these people are unlikely to fly private jets, or make significant contributions to CO2.

I don't think that Al Gore is a sociopath; I think that he's a snake-oil salesman. I don't think he believes any of this crap.

Pastafarian said...

Skeptical, I see your point; but I think that the number of people who would believe this crap, and then choose to do nothing about it voluntarily, would be very, very low.

I think that you could get voluntary CO2 reduction at levels that would swamp those free-riders' lack of reduction...if a significant percentage of people actually believed that they would be personally adversely affected by CO2.

Pastafarian said...

You know, Skeptical, I'm trying to think of an example where I've "embraced authoritative powers with a big ol' hug" in some situation where it would actually benefit society, and I'm drawing a blank.

Unless you count the wiretapping of foreign nationals making calls to known terrorists in Pakistan as "authoritative powers". That seems pretty narrowly focused and acceptable to me.

Firehand said...

Mandatory 'voluntary' action: it's the progressive way!

And, to quote somebody, I'll believe the AGW people are serious about electric cars and such when they start pushing for lots of nuclear power plants.

somefeller said...

Pastafarian, even if we accepted your assumptions on how people behave regarding the social ills I mentioned (which I don't - that's the pessimistic classical conservative in me), that still doesn't undermine the need for such laws, right? And similarly, even if many or most people were convinced to alter their lives because of AGW (and I'd agree, most people don't really take this that seriously or they'd alter their behavior accordingly), that doesn't eliminate the need for legal sanctions for those who don't, if it is in fact a social problem that needs to be dealt with. Giant assumptions, admittedly, but the idea that people will do the right thing just because of rationality and reason seems to me to be one of the biggest mistakes that liberals and libertarians make, and the assumption that people will often do otherwise is one of the better assumptions that more old-school conservatives make.

Palladian said...

I no longer believe that there is any justification for coerced collective action save an invasion or a pandemic.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Does anyone doubt that our charismatic current president has the capacity to turn up the heat?

No indeed.

edutcher said...

Ann said...

We're a nation of laws...

Not with Tippytoes Emanuel and the Chicago/Boston/SanFran crowd in DC, sad to say

...we need law telling us every last thing we ought to do

That was Lenin's justification. Stalin found it useful, too.

Pastafarian said...

I don't think we really needed a draft in WWII. I know we had one; but I'm pretty sure we would have had enough volunteers without it.

I remember James Jones (of "From Here to Eternity") writing about his outfit, the 25th Division, as it contemplated the wrapup of the Guadalcanal campaign and the next stop up the line, New Georgia, "...Everybody who could get out was getting out".

A great many people wouldn't have gone if it had been left up to them. In fact, the rate for volunteering was greater in 'Nam.

Palladian said...

It will get to the point where the Tidwells and the "Skepticals" will need to be opposed with violence. After all, what they're proposing, State coercion on pain of fine and incarceration, is violence in itself. The power of unjust and oppressive law is the threat of violence. The power of people to oppose injustice and oppression becomes limited to violence once the peaceful means of opposition have been rendered useless by an unjust State.

The whole range of issues - the economy and taxes, health care, PC, an unwillingness to protect the people from genuine threats - shapes up exactly the way you see it.

And I think you're right about the outcome.

Palladian said...

somefeller, I think it's a mistake to characterize classical liberalism or libertarianism as believing that people will rationally make the right choices. I don't think people will make the right choices, at least not many of them. But I don't believe it's within my rights to force them one way or another. To put it another way, I accept that there may be bad outcomes in a free society, because I value liberty more than I value "good choices".

OldGrouchy Doug Wright said...

Pastf: Do you realize one of the compelling reasons in WWII to stop voluntary enlistments was allocation of resources (Men) to the forces that needed to be built up. The so-called "glamor" services were getting an imbalance of enlistments while the Army needed more riflemen; Marines too.

Otherwise, I have no quibble with your comments.

somefeller said...

Palladian: This is actually a very complicated topic that goes into something deeper, namely one's views on human nature. But, I will say this, lots of liberals (not just classical ones, but social-democratic ones) and libertarians do go on the assumption that people will rationally make the right choices, based on an assumption that human nature is basically good. Whether or not you agree with that, a lot of people do go on that assumption. And I reject that assumption, not because I'm against rationality, but because I don't think human nature is basically good. I don't see much evidence of that, and a lot of ideas from disparate worldviews tend to agree with that pessimistic assumption (Original Sin, nature is red of tooth and claw, etc. - I go with the assumption that people tend to go for what's in their self-interest, and if that's the moral thing to do, so much the better but that's not a requirement). And I'd agree that there are going to be bad choices in a free society that we must allow if we want to live in a generally free society. But a free society is not a suicide pact, so while liberty is an important value to support (though one must always ask, the liberty to choose what?), it's not the only factor to consider, any more than equality is.

WV: tragio - the nature of existence, if Nietzsche wrote in pidgin Italian.

Richard Fagin said...

"...but cooperation yields benefits for all, this is when we think that compulsion is the way to go..."

Yeah, well that's why we need to use the democratic process - to decide if the cooperation really leads to benefits for all, and whether those benefits are worth the price. As it is now, certain purveyors of the benefits appear to be lying through their teeth, and a gang of relatively powerful organizations, including large corporations that stand to benefit from suitably designed compulsion are doing their level best to start the compulsion without an open and honest analysis of whether compulsion is really needed.

Having said all that, they used to think it was neccessary to regulate radio frequency spectrum because it was "limited." Tell that to your cell phone provider or your ISP. Even assuming for the sake of argument that global warmists are correct, there are proven solutions available that do not require destroying whole economies through compulsion, just as most every other environmental or resource shortage problem has ultimately been solved by technology.

I learned my lesson 35 years ago picking a college major in the middle of the "oil shortage." Having lived in the "oil patch" through the busts of 1986, 1992, 1998 and 2008, I have good reason to distrust anyone pedding the next "crisis" of any kind of resource. Actually I don't just distrust them, I believe history has shown them to be completely, utter full of crap, not to mention wrong every single time.

Call me a liberal who got mugged. No, got the crap beaten out of him by reality.

Palladian said...

"And I think you're right about the outcome"

I don't think it's yet a fait accompli. As eroded and degraded and destroyed as our political system has become, I believe there's still the possibility for political solutions to the problem of our eroded liberty. But when I look at the current Republican and Democrat parties and the complacency and willfully-engendendered ignorance of much of the populace, I see a darker and darker future.

If people wait until they're completely bound and shackled and disarmed and demoralized, it will be too late

Palladian said...

somefeller, thanks for your comments. I've been typing all this on my iPhone so it's getting too difficult to respond until I'm on a real keyboard.


Word verification is vonmises!!! Seriously!!! Now I know they're screwing with us with these words!

HT said...

what's a democratparty

Palladian said...

"what's a democratparty?"

A gathering where you are invited to eat gourmet food and listen to fairy tales told by fat, rich men and then they mug you at gunpoint to pay for the food eaten by the people at the next table (plus a 200% tip) when you try to leave.

somefeller said...

Palladian: I look forward to your response. You are a curmudgeon and I often disagree with you, but I think your views are interesting and worth reading. I probably will not respond, as I'm going to bed and have a busy day tomorrow.

somefeller said...

Or I might respond. It depends how late in the day it is tomorrow and whether the thread is played out. Either way, good night.

Paul Snively said...

At what point do these assholes wake up and smell the coffee, realizing that what they're asking for is a 2nd American Revolution?

Synova said...

I was telling my husband today that Althouse is not and never has been conservative.

But you know... she might be getting there.

Synova said...

Oh, and what we can do without making laws to force everyone to be "green" in ways that actually help (as most "green" measures do utterly nothing or are worse than nothing) is to promote and pursue nuclear power.

But it's really about controlling the way other people live their lives isn't it.

Not even religions in our country try to do that.

John Lynch said...

At least what Tildwell is suggesting has some relation to what he says his goals are. Most "green" technologies have no significant impact on the problems they are supposed to solve.

So, I give him points for honesty. If people actually believe CO2 is killing the planet, I expect them to act like it. This is much more honest than flying to Denmark and talking a lot about nothing.

Synova said...

"You might as well say: Taxation! Why not have everyone voluntarily contribute what he or she thinks best?"

Yes.

Cedarford said...

Palladian - State coercion on pain of fine and incarceration, is violence in itself. The power of unjust and oppressive law is the threat of violence. The power of people to oppose injustice and oppression becomes limited to violence once the peaceful means of opposition have been rendered useless by an unjust State.

I agree with Palladian. And though we have our venomous snits, we probably agree on about 80% of the stuff.

One thing this Twit Tidwell did was extoll the Civil Rights Movement while extolling the usual garbage about how we are a nation of law, not people...and all societal behavior can be directed if only laws order each act of behavior.
He forgets that the whole Civil Rights Movement was about rejecting law meant to order everyday aspects of life of a whole race of people "for the overall public good"...and it was all about rejecting "rule of law" through mass civil disobedience and accepting arrest and other risks "law enforcement" meted out.

America is based on a social contract. All laws, even the Constitution came after that social contract was forged and exist purely on sufferance of the masses. They don't like the laws, they break them. If enough violate the law, they become effectively harder and harder to enforce until you have a Civil Rights, 55MPH, or Prohibition situation.

If it gets really, really bad, you have warfare like the one Lincoln was stuck with after the 2nd great failure of the US Constitution (the bank failure was #1), not counting the 1st Constitution the Holy Founders drew up was a pile of crap that had to thrown out and replaced by a new Constitution.

Or Revolution.

Right now, there is already a larger than expected number of people that wish the Constitution, the IRS Tax Code, every trade with China deal, and most state law thrown on a bonfire pile. And something better written that eliminates bewildering onerous tax law, eliminates lifetime tenure of judges, the whole seniority system of Congress and their ability to spend money without check. To eliminate the thousands of state laws, regs, ordinances no one knows about.

John Stodder said...

Got to thinking while I was walking my dog... Tidwell's column is truly appalling and almost noxious, especially this part, which is really the hinge of his argument:

The country's last real moral and social revolution was set in motion by the civil rights movement. And in the 1960s, civil rights activists didn't ask bigoted Southern governors and sheriffs to consider "10 Ways to Go Integrated" at their convenience.

First of all, this guy is a historical idiot. Even before the Civil War, and certainly after it, there were brave ministers, educators, publishers and ordinary people, white and black, who risked their lives and livelhoods to make a stand for civil rights and against bigotry. Tidwell's view is these people impeded racial progress. If anyone who favored civil rights was insane enough to offer advice like Tidwell's, it would have been exactly what bigots would have wanted to hear.

Secondly, apparently he believes that until the government passes a law against something, nothing has been done about it. In fact, the incredible progress that has been environmentally has been due to a combination of legal mandates and individual creativity. The best example is the hybrid vehicle. EV technology was what government tried to force into existence. Hybrids were considered an unacceptable compromise -- until Toyota produced the hybrid. Now, the dream of a commercialized all-electric vehicle looms far more likely. Non-profit organizations, and individuals like Ed Begley Jr. -- a thoroughly admirable person -- have stretched the boundaries of what's possible.

If Al Gore's damn house uses 20 times the power of the average American, it must use 200 times what Begley uses and generates 1/100th of the trash. In fact, the way Gore lives is the perfect exemplification of Tidwell's addled point of view. Gore, despite his advocacy, won't walk the walk until he's forced to, by laws he himself will lobby for. But there are thousands if not millions of individuals who are creating markets for green products, innovating water and waste recycling and conservation and serving as the early-adapters for now-expensive technologies like solar power. Without them, we'd be nowhere near as far along as we are. Even Tidwell, back-handedly, admits that significant progress was made on energy conservation during the Bush years when he says,

For eight years, George W. Bush promoted voluntary action as the nation's primary response to global warming -- and for eight years, aggregate greenhouse gas emissions remained unchanged.

During six or seven of those years, the economy was growing. But if emissions were unchanged, that means on a per capita basis, significant progress was made. If Tidwell had his way, the environment would be objectively worse.

I'm interested in seeing how many enviros chime in with agreement for what Tidwell says. I suspect, and hope, the answer will be very few. This is one of the stupidest op-eds the WaPo has ever published. The Chesapeake Climate Project needs to return this idiot to the village that's missing one.

Synova said...

As for the idea that IF we believed that the climate crisis was real and reducing human carbon output as much as possible was perceived as necessary to Save The World that we'd be all for general government compulsion...

Well, okay... that may be true.

But it's not the doubters and deniers that don't BELIEVE.

If the true believers actually believed they'd be desperate to make up the difference by going zero-carbon... they don't. They'd actually reduce their carbon foot print instead of paying off their debt with carbon indulgences that allow them to maintain a high-carbon lifestyle. They'd look for ways to get the skeptics on board with carbon use reduction even if it meant pushing nuclear power. They'd push REAL conservation such as the use of existing cars instead of new and high-carbon manufacturing of new vehicles. They'd be pushing for industrial development in developing countries to speed up past the dirty part to reach a level of development where people can afford to be green.

But they don't.

The believers have a vision of the future that involves pastoral primitive peoples living in harmony with nature and they aren't the least interested in doing what will WORK but only what makes them feel good and instead of proving their faith by changing their ways and taking the threat they promote seriously, they prove their faith by their willingness to enact coercive measures on others... even when those coercive measures are clearly ineffective.

So... true enough I don't "believe" this is a crisis. But I haven't found a single person alive on this planet who does believe it. Not. One.

Synova said...

Perhaps Ed Begley Jr. believes.

Alex said...

If the lefties believe in AGW that fervently, then the only logical conclusion is all deniers have to be rounded up and put away in concentration camps.

Synova said...

"In short, if you feel bad about your CO2-emitting jaunt to Barbados, or the new Ferrari you just splurged on, then simply give some money to a charity which helps to "convince" Third World women not to have children, and -- presto! -- the carbon saved by having one less black child in the world will put your guilt-ridden mind at rest.
The Optimum Population Trust is a creepy Malthusian outfit made up of Lords, Ladies, and Sirs who all believe that the world's problems are caused by "too many people."
"

The Other McCain has a quote and link to this and this is exactly what I'm talking about.

Even if you agree that there needs to be less people you ought to be able to easily and clearly see the fallacy (and nastiness) of continuing your own high-carbon, privileged life-style while paying some poor person not to have an additional child they most probably wouldn't have had anyway (or certainly wouldn't have had anyway, if decent medical care was available to ensure the children that they do have survive, and if strong economic and industrial progress reduces the dependency on large families.)

This is the purchase of indulgences... where the sin never has to be given up at all, simply paid for, and generally paid for by keeping (at least attempting to) other people living in poverty and squalor.

It's not "pastoral" it's obscene.

Joel christ said...

Nice post that i immersed into your blog and your thoughts.

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vbspurs said...

Synova wrote:

This is the purchase of indulgences... where the sin never has to be given up at all, simply paid for, and generally paid for by keeping (at least attempting to) other people living in poverty and squalor.

Oh. This is brilliant, Synova. Paying for carbon credits is exactly like being granted Roman Catholic indulgences after having paid for them.

Allow me to use this in future, with all due credit to you.

Cheers,
Victoria

Administrator said...

Here's a different view, sure to be met with openmindedness and reasonably thought out consideration? Or is that too optimistic.

Alex said...

Administrator - the reason why Althouse attracts readers is her open-mindedness. She doesn't have blind faith in markets or socialism.

Paddy O. said...

Another sign that there are just some people who tend towards being a zealot. I think it's a personality type more than a dogma. The dogma is really extraneous.

The trouble is when these kinds of people begin to become the definers of a cause or movement. The other problem is if the cause or movement is either itself distorted or abusive. This is the issue that those of us who study theology are pressed to address. Taking the fundamentalists and giving them a more rightly ordered path--that enables the kinds of attributes that should be reflected in the mission (peace, hope, love).

For the AGW crowd the trouble also is a bad "theology" of sorts as is clear by the corrupted science. It's also undermined by the fact the reaction has been generally to be anti-environmental.

Instead, there should be a positive turning that emphasizes technological response to environmental programs, which allows for both reducing pollution (a great cause no matter what the AGW realities) and economic advancement. New technology is profit-making. Like the 90s show.

The trouble is that corporations do resist both. Innovation and risk that lead to both advance and profit are avoided in order to maintain a safe, steady income. Sometimes it does take regulation, I think, to force companies to innovate and bring things to the market that ends up helping their bottom line.

The trouble with this present suggestion in the post is that it restricts for the sake of restricting, more than as a way of pushing for innovation. It's authoritarianism in the worst sort of religious way.

It's bad theology to treat people like this, no matter what their religion. They tend to get feisty.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Having looked at the link-whore's essay, I'll never call Glenn Greenwald pompous and long-winded again.

Crimso said...

"If the lefties believe in AGW that fervently, then the only logical conclusion is all deniers have to be rounded up and put away in concentration camps."

I don't know if Hansen is necessarily a lefty or not, but he is on record as suggesting something not too far removed from just that.

damikesc said...

Ill stick with Glenn Reynolds policy: I will believe it is a crisis when the alarmists act like it is a crisis.

class-factotum said...

RE Ed Begley Jr: He spent $75,000 to install the solar electric system in his house and that was in 1990. I'm not sure I'd be willing to invest 1/3 of the value of my house in a new electric system.

No. I'm sure I wouldn't be willing.


http://www.usaweekend.com/09_issues/091115/091115solar-power-begley.html

AlphaLiberal said...

Did Tidwell say "every last thing?" No he did not. Stopping carbon pollution is not the last thing we should do. It is the first thing.

You missed Tidwell's main point, in your dittohead sort of way.

Ann, why don't you just woman up and make your case against global warming. Do you deny it is occurring? Do you deny we should do anything?

Make your case and stop hiding behind your personal assaults on scientists and activists. (You won't because you cannot).

Or do you just dislike the idea you'll have to change anything? You don't want to be inconvenienced. That's your issue.

AlphaLiberal said...

Maybe the Law Professor can explain her legal grounding for claiming that a Right To Pollute exists.

It can't be a property right because people and corporations are relinquishing their hold on their ownership of their pollution when they dump it on everyone else.

Why does Ann Althouse see a right to use the atmosphere as a dumping ground, regardless of the effects on others?

Is the Right to Pollute in the Constitution?

Why, exactly, does Ann Althouse love global warming pollution so much? Is she capable of making a coherent case or just attacking people and twisting their arguments?

The latter! Ha-ha! She can't make a case against global warming action worthy of a college freshman!

AlphaLiberal said...

Krugman addresses this topic today:

The truth is that conservatives who predict economic doom if we try to fight climate change are betraying their own principles. They claim to believe that capitalism is infinitely adaptable, that the magic of the marketplace can deal with any problem. But for some reason they insist that cap and trade — a system specifically designed to bring the power of market incentives to bear on environmental problems — can’t work.

Conservatives and Althouse in the face of the global warming challenge:
"Run away! Run away!"

John said...

Does this moron honestly think that electricity comes from the light socket? Is we stopped burning coal oil and gas, we would literally go back to the pre-industrial age. We really do live in an age of stupid. There has always been stupid people with lunatic ideas. But they used to be confined to laundrymats and dumpsters and seedy downtown bars. Now they write for the Washington Post.

John said...

Yes Alpha, cap and trade can deal with the problem, by raising energy costs and making everyone poorer you fucking moron. How do people like you tie your shoes or manage to live daily lives?

Maguro said...

Here's something alarming:

Increased CO2 levels are making trees grow faster.

Someone do something! Stop the killer trees!

Balfegor said...

Alex: I have no brief for AGW, or for any particular solution to it. My point was about Ann's silly suggestion that the big issue here is between individual initiative and authoritative solutions. My point is that when you have a prisoner's dilemma problem, where it is always to one's own interest to be noncooperative but cooperation yields benefits for all, this is when we think that compulsion is the way to go.

Her answer is no sillier than the column itself, which wants to force the prisoner's dilemma by telling all those people who otherwise would pursue a "green" lifestyle to stop doing so, and stop trying to persuade people to do it voluntarily.

I should also note that it's perfectly possible to get people to act against self-interest voluntarily -- just look at the use of white feathers in shaming an entire generation of Englishmen into signing up for suicidal fighting in the Great War. Social pressure is an extremely powerful thing. Tidwell, however, would prefer the jackboot and coercion to social pressure and voluntary action. Which, I suppose, has a certain honesty to it. But it's a silly perspective all the same.

Balfegor said...

Yes Alpha, cap and trade can deal with the problem, by raising energy costs and making everyone poorer you fucking moron.

Haha, it is to laugh! People will get rich off of carbon credit trading, just like any other government regulatory scheme. Through fraud.

Synova said...

"They claim to believe that capitalism is infinitely adaptable, that the magic of the marketplace can deal with any problem. But for some reason they insist that cap and trade — a system specifically designed to bring the power of market incentives to bear on environmental problems — can’t work."

And you have to figure that Krugman understands his essential dishonesty. But he's counting on the fact that most people will not immediately see the difference between "market forces" working without the warping of centralized control and those "market forces" being twisted and forced toward an unnatural goal. It's all "market forces" after all!
I agree with the people who used the word "moron" here.

To be *factual* this statement would have to read... "But for some reason they insist that cap and trade, a system specifically designed to subvert and redirect market forces,..."

Synova said...

"Maybe the Law Professor can explain her legal grounding for claiming that a Right To Pollute exists."

Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.

Egad... and they call conservatives anti-science.

Douglas2 said...

"For eight years, George W. Bush promoted voluntary action as the nation's primary response to global warming -- and for eight years, aggregate greenhouse gas emissions remained unchanged."

I know we're supposed to reduce output to 1990 levels and all, but how does keeping output UNCHANGED in a time of economic growth become a liability, when most of the G20 countries had INCREASING output over the same time period?

John said...

"And you have to figure that Krugman understands his essential dishonesty. But he's counting on the fact that most people will not immediately see the difference between "market forces" working without the warping of centralized control and those "market forces" being twisted and forced toward an unnatural goal. It's all "market forces" after all!"

Exactly. Krugman is not stupid. But he knows most of his liberal readers are.

Lincolntf said...

"Conservatives and Althouse in the face of the global warming challenge:
"Run away! Run away!"

Should read: Liberals and Alpha in the face of proof that the climate change alarmists have been hiding data and falsifying records: "Run Away! Run Away!"

Of course we all know it's common practice for scientists to hide data that proves them right, so there's probably an innocent explanation for Jones' e-mails...
Face it, the Climate Change scam has run its course. Even Al Gore himself is being forced to skip Copenhagen rather than risk exposure of his involvement in the conspiracy. It's all over but the shouting.

Balfegor said...

Should read: Liberals and Alpha in the face of proof that the climate change alarmists have been hiding data and falsifying records: "Run Away! Run Away!"

There's enough red flags with the CRU crew that, for the time being, none of their results (or other researchers' results predicated on their data) should be relied on. But there are at least two other comprehensive temperature series in use in the field (NOAA, and one I've forgotten the name of). Apparently, the data sets are all like 90% overlapping, but I don't know what level they're overlapping at. If they overlap at the level of the raw data, rather than the adjusted data, and those other two data sets have maintained intelligible records and documentation of the various transformations they performed on the raw data to get the adjusted data, their results still have credibility. There are probably some methodologies and transformations whose reliability was "tested" on the adulterated CRU dataset, in which case those should be thrown out, until they can be tested on reliable data, but it ought to be possible to trace through the literature to quarantine these kinds of effects of the adulterated CRU data and research. We can't say that, because CRU failed to adhere to the standards of scientific inquiry, therefore the entire field is suspect. CRU wasn't everything. Far from it.

Parker Smith said...

I am confused.

Is AlphaLiberal saying that he has no legal right to emit carbon dioxide?

I'm not saying I disagree with him - just want to be sure I understand him...

Lincolntf said...

CRU wasn't everything. Far from it.
12/7/09 10:16 AM

No, it wasn't everything, but take a look at the other sources of data that the IPCC/Sierra Club/Congress have used. By most accounts (links galore at Wattsupwiththat), the code that was doctored and altered was then used by governments and other agencies all over the world. I know for a fact that my neice and nephews have textbooks that include the disproven "hockey stick" and omit the MWP. I assume others have been mis-educated in this way for years.
Also, the fact that Jones was willing to casually share his plans to destroy data makes me think that this problem is larger, not smaller, than we currently believe.

craig said...

"Paying for carbon credits is exactly like being granted Roman Catholic indulgences after having paid for them."

Actually, no. It's worse, because the popular misunderstanding of Catholic indulgences is erroneous (due to actual abuses coupled with 16th-century Protestant propaganda).

In Catholic doctrine, indulgences are for individual self-improvement (sanctification) and undoing the bad effects of sin, but not for forgiving sin itself (as the popular misconception has it). One must still confess one's sins and be absolved first before thinking about indulgences; it is not a "Get Out of Hell Free" card but more akin to a merit badge in scouting.

But in AGW doctrine, carbon credits work exactly as the earlier poster described: "the sin never has to be given up at all, simply paid for, and generally paid for by keeping (at least attempting to) other people living in poverty and squalor."

The Crack Emcee said...

"Althouse is not and never has been conservative.

But you know... she might be getting there."


My thoughts exactly.

The Crack Emcee said...

But, needless to say, it's harder for artists,...

damikesc said...

Alpha, are you actually demanding Ann explain why its unconstitutional to simply allow the govt to have nearly limitless power?

Heck, how about separation of church and state? It is a faith and little more at this point.

And as has been pointed out, releasing CO2 into the atmosphere is a basic part of living.

As for Krugman, cap and trade is about as "market based" as Lysenkoism.

Dark Eden said...

The Green Dream:

Everything not forbidden is mandatory.

Do as your government commands, citizen, you love the planet don't you?

Inkling said...

This reminds me of what they used to say about the law in Prussia:

Everything that is not forbidden is required.

JBlog said...

"Surveys show..."

"Most people want..."

Well, I'm sold. Who can possibly argue with such OVERWHELMING evidence as that?

Ranks right up there with "experts agree" and "we have TOP people working on it."

"TOP people"

Flight-ER-Doc said...

Clearly, more talk the talk, but not walk the walk...as the stroke-fest shows us.

Want to do something about CO2 levels? We're a nation of laws? OK!

Lets get rid of those laws that make it nearly impossible to build and license nuclear power plants, and build a LOT of them. That will have a measurable effect on our CO2 emissions, in a practical time frame. It will also allow us to tell the various terrorist cabals (in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela) that we don't need their dirty oil...and we wish them well.

More people died last week in a single coal-mining accident in China than have EVER died from commerical nuclear power: You can even count TMI and Chernobyl if you like... Safe, efficient (except for man-made obstructions), clean power.

John Lynch said...

I think it's important to look at AGW as a problem. Then we need to look at solutions that actually have the result of solving the problem.

If it's going to take what Tidwell advocates to solve the problem-- enormous government powers and loss of freedoms-- than is the solution worse than the problem? I think it is.

That's why most solutions proposed, like international treaties and carbon credits, don't actually solve the problem they are supposed to address. If AGW was happening prior to 1990, then going back to 1990 emissions won't help. If China and India keep modernizing, cutting EU and US emissions won't solve the problem.

That's why I think the whole thing is about intent, not reality. It's a way to show that we're the good guys, not a way to save the planet.

ChrisA said...

"We're a nation of laws, and, in Tidwell's mind, that means not that we are free but that we need law telling us every last thing we ought to do: Individual voluntary action is a big distraction from what we really need — compulsion.>

You mean everyplace isn't like the People's Republic of Boulder? I gotta get out more!

Martin said...

In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny: "What an ultramaroon.'

Fat Man said...

Back in the Carter Administration, I remember a bumper sticker on a car with Texas plates that said: "Out of Work? Freezing? Burn a Yankee."

Ernst Stavro Blofeld said...

Ah the mask finally comes off. It's all about decreasing people's standard of living severely.

Not really--it's more about telling people what to do.

The power to tell people how to live is intoxicating to many. The global warming angle is just an excuse to get to the desired endpoint: the enlightened few telling the great unwashed how to live their lives via the government that the elite controls. Oddly enough, the people being given this power will make the rest of the people live pretty much how an enlightened grad student does, only with less air travel to interesting places.

If the solution to global warming involved tax cuts and deregulation then global warming research would be denounced as racist.

SH said...

Alex said...

"Am I right or am I right?"

Yeah, you’re right. I've been saying for years, if they really believed it was a real problem they'd get out of the way of building more nuclear plants.

It would screw coal producing areas but maybe we could build the factories building parts for all the new reactors in coal producing areas…

Side benefit, we’d stop exporting tons of cash to buy oil… it would take a hack saw to the trade deficit.

RJ said...

we must legislate a stop to the burning of coal, oil and natural gas.

And get the energy to replace them... how? Ah, the power of wishful thinking, of course! What a perfect example of something I just read a few minutes ago:

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/12/06/government-by-wishful-thinking/

Alex said...

If you try to legislate reducing fossil fuel burning w/o first bringing replacement energy online(wind, solar, nuclear, geo-thermal, etc..) then what you are really saying is you want to massively reduce the American way of life. Let me spell it out to you:

* there will be electricity rationing
* there will be frigid winter nights due to no heating; rationing
* gasoline rationing

Basically the end result is economic catastrophe, but that's right up the left's alley.

AlphaLiberal said...

Someone willfully misinterprets my question:

Alpha, are you actually demanding Ann explain why its unconstitutional to simply allow the govt to have nearly limitless power? .

No. Why do conservatives think there exists a right-to-pollute?

Simple question. None of you can answer it. nor can Law Professor Ann Althouse.

AlphaLiberal said...

Another idiot claims environmental legislation spell doom:
Basically the end result is economic catastrophe, but that's right up the left's alley. .

You guys say this with every piece of environmental legislation to come down the pike. You are proven wrong over and over.

HT said...

Since most of the commenters here leave me seriously befuddled and unable to really respond - it's almost a Venus Mars thing - and though I'm silently applauding AlphaLiberal for sticking it out, let me ask what I hope is a fairly non controversial question.

In your mind, what are you doing to "save the earth," conserve, save, whatever formulation you want to use? Sure, be selfish about it: i don't wanna pay x amount in heating, so I blah blah blah. If you can't think of others, then tell what you do to save your own resources.

Thanks.

John Lynch said...

HT, I have a well insulated house that costs less to heat to 70 degrees than the old drafty place cost to heat to 60. Am I better or worse for the planet than I used to be? Does self deprivation matter more than actual energy use?

HT said...

Thanks for answering my question. Yours seems rhetorical so I'll just leave it there.

Congrats on getting a more efficient energy system. You old place must have been extremely cold.

jr565 said...

hey Alpha, if you believe so strongly that noone has a right to pollute, then what the hell are you doing on the internet posting on blogs? Don't you know that for your comments to make their way on this board requires a tremendous amount of energy to be consumed. Do you think that Blogger is carbon neutral with all the thousands of blogsites that are hosted and millions of blog entries housed on servers somewhere? Do those servers run on magic pixie dust?
And all so that you can get your jollies off by posting insignifcant commentary. You think the environment should suffer so that we can read your utterances? how many polar bears are dying right now, because of your need to pontificate about other peoples pollution.

Unplug your laptop and stop acting like a hypocrite.

Douglas2 said...

HT asked
"In your mind, what are you doing to 'save the earth,' conserve, save, whatever formulation you want to use?"

Aside from the Icynene foam insulation in the walls and white metal roof -- since it is now winter, I've replaced all the compact flourescent lamps with incandescent bulbs. Although my energy cost is higher for the electicity, they provide heat more efficently in terms of carbon output than my small domestic forced-air system. (Strange that industrial sized oil and gas burning is more efficient...) As well, the heat is generated locally where it is needed, rather than being ducted and having losses in unheated portions of the home. I also get the benefit in winter of the more pleasant light!

Big Mike said...

Apparently Mike Tidwell never heard of the 21st amendment.

From Inwood said...

In the interests of conservation & good citizenship, must my family & I wait ‘til someone has had a solid bowel movement before the toilet may be flushed?

Oh, wait, as noted in these comments, someone's trying to flush 75% of our GDP down the toilet!

Nagarajan Sivakumar said...

But a free society is not a suicide pact, so while liberty is an important value to support (though one must always ask, the liberty to choose what?), it's not the only factor to consider, any more than equality is.

Oh, please dont be dramatic.Suicide pact ?? what are you talking about dude ?

The entire human existence has been filled with stories of people's freedoms and liberties being either plain crushed or systematically stripped away.

there has NEVER been a shortage of people who have given every possible excuse to limit and circumscribe people's freedoms so that they can gain more control and people over the lives of the "others".

You may not like the consequences of living in a free society - and that may be borne out of a lasting skepticism of man's ability to learn from his mistakes/abuses of freedom.. but that's the cost of a free society.

That cost is much lesser to pay than a benevolent authoritarian regime telling you what you should be doing for the "common good" as defined by the "common do gooders"

As a conservative, you should there is no such thing as a free lunch. A free society comes with its own costs.It has NEVER been more burdensome than the cost of the most benevolent authoritarian regime.

principlex said...

Since force negates responsibility, defiance is the only remedy. I think it's time to organize "Fart Ins" as a form of political defiance. Beans are to be the food of choice.

Some could be public and we could resist arrest. Others could be done by stealth - especially if we go visit Congress.

AST said...

In the 30s these people would have been Communists.

OldGrouchy Doug Wright said...

AST: Damned straight. Except they still are only under different names, like Progressive, Liberal, Democrat, everything except Marxist or Communists.