Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome Back to the 19th Century...

...the bad part.

Many people like myself would welcome a return to the political philosophy of the 19th century. That doesn't mean I'd be pleased at being reduced to its level of technology. Sadly, that is happening in many parts of the country. Thousands have resumed burning coal to heat their homes.

Granted, contemporary devices are somewhat more convenient and cleaner to use than those of 100+ years ago. But, when homeowners and small businesses are forced by higher oil and gas prices to use coal, and when proposals for more nuclear power plants are still met with ill-informed hysteria, this is the inevitable result.

Never mind the more fundamental issue that it's none of the viros' bloody business how you power or heat your home. In the usual collectivist manner they'll argue that what you do affects everyone else. Ignoring entirely the fact of 'downstream laws' and reasonable issues of degree, they insist on trying to control your every choice.

And it should not go unnoticed that, thanks to environmentalism, the environment is now getting even dirtier. Yes, it's ironic that the success of their own campaigns should lead to actual degradation of the environment. Ironic, but not surprising. Viro regulations that restrict nuclear power and raise the cost of oil and natural gas necessarily reduce capital and innovation that would lead to cleaner heat production.

Of course, the truly faithful will respond that people should simply use less, insulate better, blah, blah, blah. Using less heat isn't simply uncomfortable, though, nor is increased insulation necessarily better. Both lead to greater risk of health problems. Less airflow means less fresh air. Colder fingers means less manual dexterity and more accidents, such as dropped steak knives and glasses. And, just to beat that horse once more, it's none of the viros' affair what temperature you prefer.

Well, let us all install solar panels and wind turbines, then. A small extra price to pay for a cleaner environment, no? Great idea. That way we can spend time pointlessly clearing snow off the panels on a cloudy day and dodging flying icicles.

But then, environmentalism was never about making the environment better for you in the here and now. The middle of the roaders, like softcore socialists, want to make it better for some amorphous "everyone" in an ever-receding future. The more radical think we should "leave no footprint." And never mind that rise in lung diseases from indoor coal dust. That will just leave fewer people to mess up the planet.

Happy shoveling.

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