Wednesday, April 09, 2008

That Can't Do Spirit is Back

I wish Earth Day was about celebrating the joys of nature coupled with discussions on conserving resources, reducing waste and improving the quality of life on earth.

I confess. I hold the world view that life is a good thing that can be improved with insight and effort.

Sadly, I get the feeling that environmentalism is trapped in that Hegelian/Marxist mindset where the world is thrashed about thesis/antithesis conflict.

We have this Earth Day thing every year that we could use to measures our actions against our ideals.

Sadly, the primary message being given by the Earth Day Network is the nihilistic statement that Americans, simply by existing, are an affront to Gaia**.

**Gaia, as you probably know, is the new politically correct name for God. The difference between "Gaia" and "God," of course, is that Gaia is a secular god so you can use government money and facilities to worship Gaia. It is strictly forbidden to do so for God.
Nihilism and paradox are apparently compelling. People seem to be drawn to nihilistic messages like flies. The big problem is that when groups build nihilism into the foundations of their system of thinking, they end up undermining the things that the aim to achieve.

The left has a strange tendency to want to push ideas to absurdities while they are in the conceptual phase, but pull back when the idea actually becomes effective. For example, the left pushed the construction of big dams when they were just see as publicly funded public works projects, but turned against hydroelectric energy once it became a lucrative source for energy.

I suspect that there are ways that we could be making better use of the hydropower available in this nation. Unfortunately, progressive politics is such that hydropower is completely off the table.

It is so sad. We seem thrash from extremes where we either have public work projects that destroy drainages with massive dam projects or have a complete restriction on harnessing hydropower.

Handling the energy needs of the future will take a multiplicity of energy sources. Our challenge is to find a way to rationally develop resources. Sadly, our political system is such that it pushes any idea to an extreme, then recoils at the political excess to nihilistic prohibitions on using an energy source.

We are dependent on fossil fuels for energy while we prohibit the sustainable use of biomass.

The growing severity of forest fires shows that absolute conservation of forests, as advocated in the 1970s, is even less sustainable than the exploitation of biomass that comes with cultures that harvest and burn wood for heat.

Too often the environmental movement seems caught in paradox. For example, many environmentalists seem to have their entire psyche invested in elitism or counterculturalism. One dining at the organic bistros of Boulder would likely find the rich professories at the tables recoil in horror if they were to hear the servants at the bistro talking of franchising and bringing organic food to the bourgeoisie. Fresh organic food, after all, should be the exclusive domain of the elitist snits who've back-stabbed themselves to positions of power in the public university system. How dare capitalist dream of bringing organic food to the population at large?

Other environmentalists have their psyche invested in being counter-culture and turn against any good idea that breaks against the environmental movement to become part of the culture they despise.

A true environmentalist cannot be counter-culturalism as the centerpiece of their psyche because the greatest gains are made when a good idea goes mainstream.

The nihilism that seems to imbue the environmental movement is problematic as our economy is in great need of the contributions of this sector. When a person's idealism hits that shrill extreme where they undermine the overall conservation efforts of society, then they end up doing a great deal of damage to our economy and culture.


Scott Hinrichs said...

Is this why the Left is willing to bear almost any cost to support mass transit, regardless of the benefit ratio?

y-intercept said...

I am a fan of mass transit.

But you are correct that the left has a way of pushing mass transit to the point that it becomes a net negative.

Last I checked, UTA still had a net energy deficit. That is, UTA consumed more energy and released more pollutants than would have been consumed if everyone just drove cars. The numbers may have changed.

Trax uses electricity produced from domestic coal which decreases our dependence on foreign oil.

The one truism that I hold is that when thinking about environmental issues start with the subsidies, we will never arrive at the place where the new technologies are viable in the long haul.

My experience is that environmentalist get ahold of an technology. Use subsidies to push the technology to an absurdity, and effectively undermine society with the technology. We then turn wholesale against the technology.

This happened with both hydropower and nuclear power.

The current misuse of corn based ethanol is a good example of the way the government machinery works.

Fortunately for the world. Bush supports the subsidies for corn.

The left's hatred of Bush means that it is politically correct to discuss the real costs of ethanol.

In this case, we can see the effects of subsidies.

The truth is that ethanol from waste products is environmentally sound. However the ethanol produced for subsidies is not environmentally sound.

If Bush were pushing windmills, the environmental impact of windmills would be an issue.

Scott Hinrichs said...

The business community is biding its time, waiting to see how the politics of global warmism will play out. As soon as this becomes clear, they will immediately begin working to gobble up as much of the direct and indirect government spending as possible. This seems to be going precisely according to the model you have laid out.