Forgive me for reminding you-all about it at this happy festive season, but only a few weeks back there was that phenomenal, vital-for-our-future Election Campaign, lavishly funded with the help of your tax dollars, in which everybody who was anybody blocked up the airwaves taking all day to say nothing whatever and sound profound. Gee, talk about pollution.
In fact, that's just what I'd like to talk about, here and now. Just once in a while, the alleged "debate" between the political morons did touch upon the one important question, namely, "Government - Who Needs It?" And ever so lightly, lest anyone out here should notice, the Pols condescendingly reminded us of the towering achievements of government in cleaning up our environment for us.
When you wield all that massive power and spend all those hundreds of billions of stolen dollars, it may be that someone can prove that some part of the environment did actually undergo a net improvement, thanks to Uncle Green. The idea that there is any significant overall gain, however, from having it cared for by Uncle instead of by unfettered, greedy, capitalistic property owners, is pure fiction. This was trumpeted as Government's Finest Achievement; so let's burst the bubble and mention a few of the achievements they may not have said too much about when asking for your vote.
What They Actually Do
ITEM: the latest government fad is the Electric Car; so far, fortunately, mandated only in California. GM and other car makers have had to develop this Geo Metro at a Mercedes price, and Ta-Dah: it will drive you as far as a hundred miles! before it needs to sit down and take a rest... and a new charge of juice from wires, at the other end of which are power stations which burn dirty sulphuric coal so that Senator Byrd can win re-election, or nuclear fuel which some see as even more dangerous, or oil so that the endless war between Jews and Arabs can perpetuate and bring ample trade to the US "defense" industry at the expense of US taxpayers... I hope you're still with me.
There's more: if it had not been for alcohol prohibition in the 1920s, that vast oil cartel would have had to compete with tens of thousands of farmers distilling alcohol as an alternative and competing fuel for almost all the vehicles that were then rushing to make use of the highways; and one of the competitive features of alcohol is that when you burn it, the product is water - which pollutes nothing, except, arguably, Scotch. We could literally have harvested our automotive fuel, without ever turning the Mid East into a powder keg and without polluting one cubic foot of good American air. But no; helped along no doubt by their contributors in the Seven Sisters, government outlawed the product for all 13 of the most formative years of the auto industry. By the time Repeal arrived, it was too late. Car engines were built for hydrocarbons.
One candidate for President (Harry Browne, the Libertarian) had it just right: "government is awfully good at breaking your legs, then handing you a crutch."
ITEM: John Posgai, a truck mechanic from Morrisville, PA. Mr Posgai bought some land from a scrap merchant and set about cleaning it up; not because anyone told him to, but because his purposes needed cleaner land. And perhaps because he thought he'd contribute to the cleanliness of the Planet. So he first removed 7,000 used tires and rusting car parts he found littering the site.
Did his neighbors and the local environmentalists make him Man of the Year for improving their quality of life? - they did not. No, instead Uncle Green came along with guns from the Environmental "Protection" Agency and charged him with 41 violations of the Clean Water Act. By the weird calculus of the commissars in the EPA, the dank water accumulated in the decaying tires made the site a "wetland." Posgai was fined over $200,000 and jailed for 3 years.
When those smooth-talking Pols were soliciting your vote by telling you how they'd done so much to protect the environment, that must be what they meant.
ITEM: Riverside Rats. Riverside, CA is near the intergalactic headquarters of the Green Lobby, and 76,000 acres of it was set aside as a preserve for the Kangaroo Rat, courtesy of the force of government. Its favorite rat needs bush cover, so homeowners there were ordered not to clear brushwood on their own property and threatened with $100,000 fines if they did. So, they didn't.
Then came the fires, on October 26th 1993. We probably watched them on TV, though I bet the reporters forgot to mention the cause. Fires strike quite often in Southern Cal, so they were totally predictable. Scores of homes were destroyed, because the fire spread from bush to bush. Former homeowner Yshmael Garcia put it well, as reported in Jarret Wollstein's ISIL paper, "The Green Gestapo": "My home was destroyed by a bunch of bureaucrats in suits and so-called environmentalists who say animals are more important than people." (ISIL, 1800 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102.) The fire killed the rats anyway, so they were even wrong about their claimed aim.
The point of these and a host of other examples is not that government control of the environment is sometimes sadly mistaken and inefficient. The point is that it is always, necessarily inefficient when compared to the alternative of control by unregulated private owners! So the remedy is not a more efficient, better trained set of bureaucrats (ghastly thought!) but rather NO bureaucrats; that is, to rid the whole environment 100% of the scourge of government. There are only two choices: control of nature by actual owners, or control by non-owners, ie bureaucrats and politicians with no personal interest in the long-term effects of their work, acting on behalf of whatever lobby currently promises them most for their re-election war chest. For any genuine lover of nature's beauty there can't be a shred of doubt, which one to choose.
So what about those towering achievements, of improving the natural world in which we live: do they indeed show government at its best? - Yes, they truly do. Utterly disastrous though those achievements have been, it's entirely fair to say that everything else that government does is more disastrous yet.
|© Copyright Jim Davies 1999|
Jim Davies lives in New Hampshire,
and enjoys contemplating which way is up.
The above is Edition # 186
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