Saturday, May 31, 2008

More Proof that I am A Horrible Person

If you would like to see a good sample of what our University system would consider the absolute best in writing, you can check out this essay by SaltCycle. The thesis of the essay is:

As a global citizen, car ownership is one of the most resourcefully irresponsible and socially divisive means by which one can accommodate daily needs.


In summary: If you own a car; You are a horrible person.

The post doesn't say wasting fuel frivolously is bad. It says ownership of a vehicle is bad.

The writer of the above post is young, and probably doesn't realize that the same logic can be (and has been) applied to just about everything.

Most Americans do more harm to the environment by owning a house than by owning a car. Living in single family houses can also be labeled divisive. Living in a single family unit reduces the influence tribal elders have on individual live.

People living in single family homes outside the control of the local commissar is socially divisive.

Renting from someone who owns a building just transfers guilt. The only way to live is in a bunk owned by the government and in direct view of a big brother who can judge the actions of the individual in regards of the power of the whole.

So, home ownership is worse than car ownership. Of course, that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Most of the work done by Americans is far more resource intensive than their personal lives. I can explain this with a funny story: I used to work dispatching trucks. I would peddle my Schwinn Varsity to work (saving less than a liter of gas in the process). I would then work with trucks that consumed more than my annual consumption of energy in day. My little energy savings from daily cycling commute wouldn't get a big rig a mile.

On the whole, our jobs are still more resource intensive than our commutes. Have you ever been to a medical facility and seen the stuff they consume? The government consumes more than most industries.

We don't feel guilt for our careers because, as a society, people are growing more and more distant from direct ownership of the means of production. The guilt from what we consume in our careers ways less in our minds.

There used to be a very large number of independently owned small mom and pop owned small businesses and farms. A few generations ago, these business were declared by the intelligentsia to resourcefully irresponsible and socially divisive. A few generations ago, the left colluded with government to destroy small farms and manufacturing firms. They lauded a new ideal called the "Organization Man."

We used to be a country of small businesses. Some may remember the tinkerer praised in Mark Twain's "A Connecticutt Yankee in King Author's Court."

Were Hank Morgan to appear in our modern Camelot we would look down on him from our elevated perspective as global citizens and spit in his face for living a socially irresponsible resource intensive life.

The racist Mark Twain is no longer in vogue (Sam Clemens was a naughty boy who used the N word); so my literary reference probably went past most readers.

Car ownership seems to be such a big problem, because we've driven most industry from our shores. Since most stuff these days is manufactured in China, the environmental cost of our other possessions is just an illusion.


After reading SaltCycle's post I felt horrible about myself for owning a car. I actually feel horrible about myself most days. I can remember most of the dark hatred spewed the lips of professors at the U as they systematically condemned every aspect of American life.

I followed their logic for many years, and I hated everything and everyone around me.

While I've never been able to shake the hatred I feel toward myself, I've lessened the hatred I feel towards others.

Occasionally, a little classical liberal voice speaks up in my head. The classical liberal voice lauds car and home ownership. The little voice tells me that ownership of resources is great. What matters is how wisely people use the things they own.

My little voice says: If you use your resources to make life better, then you are a good person.

The little voice tells me that the solution to our energy problems might actually be more ownership. I would love to see a solar panel a top every house.

The voice tells me paradoxical things like: we could reduce fuel consumption by owning more cars, not fewer cars. I read a study once that showed that if you only owned one pair of shoes at a time, you will go through more shoes in your life than if you owned two to three pairs of shoes.

Imagine if we drove something like the 150MPH Loremo for short commutes and had an SUV or van for when we traveled in groups.

I think the key to making althernative energy rock is the greater distribution of ownership of energy resources.

The elite Professoriat tells us that societies where the little people are allowed to own things is horrible.

I am willing to believe that of myself. SaltCycle post makes me feel horrible for owning a car.

When it comes to my judgings others, however, I find that I will listen to my inner classical liberal voice. I simply say that when people live their lives well and work to make the world a better place, then they are good people. Car ownership is great because it magnifies our ability to do good.

I think it is great that people in India, China, Brazil, et al., are starting to own cars. I wish health and prosperity on all.

To sustain prosperity, we need to be mindful of how we invest our resources. That happens naturally through the free market. So, in response to SaltCycle's post, I will just sit here and feel horrible about myself, but I will wish everyone else health and prosperity.

4 comments:

Cameron said...

"There used to be a very large number of independently owned small mom and pop owned small businesses and farms. A few generations ago, these business were declared by the intelligentsia to resourcefully irresponsible and socially divisive. A few generations ago, the left colluded with government to destroy small farms and manufacturing firms. They lauded a new ideal called the "Organization Man."

This is interesting. I wonder what you think of this post and its comments?

And I think the link found in this post will make you feel even worse about yourself.

y-intercept said...

I like the piggy site. Rewording the message of the EnviroStalinists in terms of when the little piggies should die helps clarify their message.

As for the discussion on economics:

I started a similar site about this subject. The site noted that Karl Marx did not define "Communism." What Marx did was to define a perversion of the free market called "capitalism." This capitalism is an unbalanced system that is destined to implode.

Marx's view of capitalism is what they teach at our Left leaning Universities. They present the world as a conflict between capitalism and communism. The free marketeers get drawn into this debate and foolishly support capitalism.

Instead of concentrating on the dichotomy of the capitalism v. communism, free marketeers should argue for the free market v. capitalism (the perversion of the free market).

I lost the Crass Commercial site a few years back when my fly by night web host flew by night. I have the content of the files, I just haven't had time to put it back online.

zed said...

"you can check out this essay by SaltCycle"

Actually, SaltCycle isn't just a one person blog, its a multi-user contributed blog.

While the post you link to seems extreme for even me in many respects (I post regular on Saltcycle under the moniker Zed) you do little justice to debunking the essay by suggesting that we consume more.

"we could reduce fuel consumption by owning more cars, not fewer cars."

Rather, what I feel is needed is a compromise.

Alternatives to the 100 year old (this October) oil driven ford engine are needed.

Infrastructures that allow the automobile to share the road are needed.

No, I don't think the auto is going away, but some dramatic changes in how it operates in our daily lives are needed.

y-intercept said...

Zed,

The main reason for my post is that movements, like environmentalism, have to be worried about people hijacking their efforts.

The Bush administration provides great example of a movement being hijacked. The big deficit spending and the idea that we could radically transform a region of the world through war are antithetical to Republican thought two decades ago.

BTW, my statement was that if people had the right cars to meet their needs, they would consume less energy. If a person owned a Loremo and and van, then they would consume less fuel by owning more vehicles.

Yes, you proved that taking a quote out of context can make the quote sound foolish. The quote I took from the article I cited was the primary thesis of the article.

Citing the thesis of the article is different from siting a second part of a conditional.