Sunday, January 31, 2016

Turning a Subsidy into ‘Payment for a Value Delivered’: Corporate Welfare for NJ Solar Companies

A New Jersey bill introduced into the state legislature earlier in 2015 would “give New Jersey one of the nation's most ambitious goals for renewable energy sources like solar and wind power,” NJ Advance Media’s Matt Friedman reports for NJ.com. Friedman continues:


The bill (S2444) would require that 80 percent of New Jersey's energy use would be from renewable sources 35 years from now.


Supporters say the legislation is needed to crack down on carbon-producing forms of energy production like coal and gas.


“Crack down” is an appropriate term. In terms of reliability, scalability, and cost, solar and wind are incapable of competing with coal and natural gas openly and fairly in the market. So the solar power industry, as Friedman observes, has lobbied hard for the bill, because it must turn to government force, in the form of mandates—i.e., guns—to crush its competitors.


But, even the mandates aren’t enough. The renewable industry needs subsidies, as well. NJ’s existing state-imposed “renewable” energy program is funded by surcharges on electricity bills. As Friedman reports:


Stefanie Brand, New Jersey's rate counsel, said ratepayers are already on the hook for $5 billion in expenses related to solar power, and that the bill would result in almost $3 billion more.


Incredibly, as Friedman reports, “Solar industry executives disputed the idea that they're being given subsidies[!]” The $billions in inflated bills electric ratepayers are forced to pay to support solar installations around the state are “a payment for a value delivered,” said Lyle Rawlings, president and CEO of Flemington-based Advanced Solar Products and co-founder of the Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association.


Even more incredible, Rawlings—apparently believing that the public will believe anything—flipped the argument, saying that the fossil fuel companies are the ones receiving subsidies!: “Being allowed to emit those pollutants,” he said, “is a subsidy, because the cost of that is borne by the public.” (If pollution is a subsidy, then renewable energy is also subsidized in the same way. But Rawlings evades renewables’ pollution problem, which are very significant.


I left these comments, edited for clarity:


I don’t know which is worse; a bunch of politicians sitting around voting to force “renewable” energy mandates on us, or a corporate welfare recipient claiming that the handout he receives is not a subsidy, but a non-subsidy is.


The fossil fuel industry is not simply “allowed to emit pollutants.” It is subject to anti-pollution laws, and it has risen to the challenge by making regular, expensive investments in new technologies, turning its product progressively cleaner over time—all the while maintaining an uninterrupted flow of cheap, plentiful, reliable energy to the public. Do the costs of pollution control and cleaner burning fossil fuels get passed on to the public? Sure, and rightfully so. After all, the consuming public does the “polluting” by buying and using fossil fuel energy sources.


When I buy a car, I pay, through the purchase price, for the catalytic converter that cleans up the emissions coming from the tailpipe of my car. Why shouldn’t I pay? I’m the one using the car. When I buy gasoline, I’m paying for myriad additives to make the gasoline burn cleaner. Why shouldn’t I pay? I’m the one buying and burning the gasoline. When I use electricity, my electric bill includes my share of the cost of the pollution control devices on electric power generating plants. Why shouldn’t I pay? I’m the one using the electricity. Should others be forced to pay for my catalytic converter; my gasoline additives; my share of the power plant cleaners, and other pollution clean-up costs that my spending decisions generate? If there is a pollution “subsidy,” then we all—from the driller to the refiner to the energy transport companies to the consumers—are responsible for it.


Rawlings’s view is rationalization writ large. The public gets stuck with this renewable subsidy “payment for a value delivered” while not receiving any actual value for the money. If the solar industry is truly delivering a value, then why must ratepayers be forced to pay for the subsidies through inflated electric rates? Why the mandates? The answer is obvious.


Our taxes and our electric bills are artificially inflated beyond what we would voluntarily pay, and the money is transferred to solar companies and their customers, not for a value delivered but to cover the solar company’s inability to compete. By definition, that is a subsidy. And then Rawlings has the chutzpah to assert that the fossil fuel industry is getting a subsidy?


But a subsidy is what the so-called “renewable energy” industry is forcing on me. The “renewable” industry doesn’t want its customers to bare the full cost of its uncompetitive product the way fossil fuel consumers willingly do. Instead, it lobbies for subsidies to make up for the value they cannot deliver, so they can stick taxpayers and electric ratepayers with the bill. To all of you “green” energy consumers plopping solar panels on your rooftops, I say: Welcome to the dole!


I’m willing to pay the pollution control costs embedded in the cost of the fossil fuels I buy because I judge fossil fuels to be a tremendous value to me. It’s a value not only in terms of dollar cost but also because I know that my life is cleaner, healthier, and safer—for longer—than the lives people had before life-giving fossil fuel energy prosperity arrived. Why should I also be forced to pay for somebody else’s “renewable” energy installation? Let them pay their own way.


The solar industry is after corporate welfare. They’re just not honest enough to admit it. But most of we consumers are not that stupid. We know what a subsidy is, and that we are paying for it. We know they need the subsidies, along with whatever favors and mandates they can weasel out of the legislature, for one reason and one reason only: They can’t deliver a value equivalent anywhere near to what the fossil fuel industry has been delivering for decades. Otherwise, they’d be able and willing to compete on the free market and let energy consumers decide for themselves if Advanced Solar Products and its ilk actually do have a value to deliver. They'd be confident in their ability to convince consumers to voluntarily buy their product without coercive government “help”. They won’t face the market music, because, as of now, they know that without the protection of government coercion, consumers would see more value in fossil fuels, pollution costs and all, than in “non-polluting” renewables.


Unlike the “renewable” dogmatists, I’m not against any energy source. I simply want to stop being stuck with the costs of Solar’s corporate welfare bill. Let me and all consumers decide on a level market playing field which energy source is best. It’s time to end the crony socialism. If “renewables”—which aren't actually renewable—really are that good, they will have no problem doing to fossil fuels what digital photography did to the once dominant Eastman Kodak; what modern communications technology did to the AT&T monopoly; what the personal computer did to IBM’s mainframe business; and what electrification did to John D. Rockefeller’s near-total dominance of kerosene-based nighttime illumination more. Until that day comes, if it comes, stop demonizing and hampering the fossil fuel industry and its customers.


Related Viewing:














Excerpt from Response to Pope Francis’s Intervention into Global Warming—James H. Rust, The Heartland Institute:

It takes [abundant] energy to produce clean water and dispose of sewage. Fossil fuel energy is preferable for transportation than animals used in the past that despoiled roads. Fossil fuel supported energy is far cleaner and healthier for heating and cooking than wood and dung used in the past. Electricity is preferable for lighting than whale oil or candles use centuries ago. The list goes on and on.  All of the prosperity and good health of developed nations is attributed to fossil fuels.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Discussing the Difference Between Socialism and Capitalism (Part 2)

Here is the rest of the conversation regarding socialism vs. capitalism stemming from my definitions posted at the start of my commentary on the New Jersey Star-Ledger’s June 15, 2015 editorial, Like it or not, Sanders' socialism is mainstream. For part 1, and my definitions, see my 1/28/16 post.


In answer to my statements, “Socialism holds the collective as a separate entity above the individuals that make it up. I think observational evidence of socialism in practice supports my view,” Painter in Jersey wrote:


Like the socialized medicine that exists in every European country today? Does that support your claim? Is France a dictatorship? The Netherlands? Denmark? These are all countries practicing socialism and I can't for the life of me identify any of the phantom dictators you speak of.


At this point, correspondent clancy jumped in:


You forgot the two C's. Castro and Chavez.


Painter in Jersey:


Cuba is Communist not Socialist.


Me:


Communism is socialism. So is fascism. Socialism is the broader term. Communism encompasses state ownership of the means of production—the outright abolition of private property. Fascism is total control of the means of production, with ownership superficially left in the hands of private ownership. The difference, in practice, is superficial, as the history of the 20th Century demonstrates.


Painter in Jersey:


Communism is NOT socialism and now you are showing your blind spots. In communism there is no such thing as private property whereas socialism allows for all to gather private property.  


clancy:


Split hairs. They both espouse statism, and that's their biggest problem.


Me:


Don't confuse a mixed economy with full socialism or full capitalism. All Western countries are mixed economies—mixtures of socialism and capitalism. None are fully free or fully dictatorship.


Every issue boils down to socialism or capitalism; i.e., either you are free to act on your own judgement, or your right to self-determination is superceded [sic] by government aggression. Socialized medicine is mostly dictatorial. But that doesn't mean the country is yet a full dictatorship; just heading that way.


[Great Britain is and never was a socialist country. It is a mixed economy; a mixture of capitalism (freedom) and socialism (statism). Britain still has largely free, private enterprise, freedom of migration, freedom of speech, press, and conscience, the rule of law. Full socialism is Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Soviet Russia had the complete nationalization of the economy. In Nazi Germany, all means of production was controlled by the government, with only nominal private ownership. In essence, they were the same.]


Painter in Jersey:


No one is saying all-encompassing socialism will govern America. We are speaking of the implementation of some socialist policies, but not all.


At this point Molly53 jumped in:


an awful lot of words to spread nonsense.  So, only the right is pro-liberty?  The right that supports NSA spying or the right that has dragged us into unwinnable wars? [sic]


Me:


Yes. To the extent the NSA violates rights, it is not capitalist.


Properly understood, only the Right is pro-liberty. But in today's confused jargon, both "left" and "right" are pro-liberty on some issues, and anti-liberty on others. For example, social conservatives are anti-liberty because they want to violate rights to to gay marriage, abortion, etc. Liberals are anti-liberty because they want to restrict rights in the economic realm.


Molly53:


You don't make any sense.


Welcome marshwren:


When one argues from a position of ideology instead of practicalities, they rarely do make any sense.


Me:


Ignoring the ideology behind the practicality is not practical.


marshwren:


Which makes even less sense than what you wrote previously.


Welcome John Derr, in reply to Molly53’s comment above, “only the right is pro-liberty?”:


Yea but [Bernie Sanders is] a war hawk and a lot of defense dollars go to his state of Vermont. Don't be fooled by his progressive rhetoric? [sic]


Me:


War hawkism fits nicely into the statist socialist framework, as statism is an aggressive state that wages war against its own people, which ultimately leads to war with other countries. E.G.—the Soviet/German pact to launch WW II, the North's attack on the South in Korea and Vietnam.


[B]eing a socialist or "progressive" does not preclude being a war hawk. Statism in any form, including socialism—being based on aggressive force—is not a peaceful political ideology, whether or not it wages war against another country.


marshwren:


Sanders has been opposing the militaristic adventurism of neo-cons ever since he was first elected to Congress.  To claim he's a "war hawk" is perhaps the single most ignorant, uninformed, anti-factual thing anyone can say about him.


Me:


I did not say Sanders himself is a neo-con supporting war hawk.


marshwren:


Capitalism isn't a system of political governance; it's a system of economics that is profoundly anti-democratic.  All the advances in the conditions of the working class--minimum wage, paid leave, benefit packages, the 8 hour day, the 40 hour work week, weekends off, unemployment, disability, SS, Medicare--were achieved over the often bloody objections of capitalists, who saw unions are "restraints of free trade", and the great conglomerates and cartels as free enterprise.


Unions weren't outlawed until 1935 (Wagner Act) because they opposed all of these reforms, but because they advocated them.  Your ignorance of labor history in the US is beyond appalling; just as your equation of capitalism equals freedom, and socialism equals slavery, is simply childish.  Ordinary citizens in social democracies such as western Europe and Scandinavia have higher standards of living, a better quality of life, vastly superior governmental services, and more freedoms (particularly voting rights) than Americans. [sic]


Me:


"All the advances in the conditions of the working class--minimum wage, paid leave, benefit packages, the 8 hour day, the 40 hour work week, weekends off, unemployment, disability, SS, Medicare."


Then why didn't those become reality before capitalism? Statist governments have existed for thousands of years. Yet "the advances in the conditions of the working class" only came about after the prosperity of capitalism, which brought about the rise of the middle class, could finance them.


Unions were never illegal in this country, and under the freedom of capitalism never could be. What was illegal before 1935 was for unions to have the power to force employers to deal with them, and unwilling workers to join them, violating the rights of employers and employees alike.


Capitalism is not anti-democratic. Rather, capitalism properly limits the power of the majority to trample all over individuals' rights. Full socialist democracy—which does not exist in the regions you mention (they are mixed economies)—features unlimited majority rule, which is a manifestation of totalitarianism. In this sense, capitalism is anti-democratic. The feature of capitalism that prevents democratic majorities from becoming plundering mobs is a moral strength of capitalism.


End of conversation.


What comes across in this thread is that the fight for capitalism requires a difficult, long-term strategy of education. The widespread ignorance and/or denial of socialism’s nature risks a repeat of the bloody evidence of the 20th Century.


Related Reading:




Individualism vs. Collectivism: Our Future, Our Choice—Craig Biddle for The Objective Standard


Related Listening:

Radical Capitalist Episode 13: Why Socialism Won't Die—Yaron Brook

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Discussing the Difference Between Socialism and Capitalism (Part 1)

When the New Jersey Star-Ledger editorialized on June 15, 2015 that Like it or not, Sanders' socialism is mainstream, I left a lengthy commentary, which you can read about in my blog post Sanders’s Open Socialism Blows the Cover Off of the Left’s Stealth Socialism. What followed my commentary was a lengthy discussion with other correspondents on the difference between socialism and capitalism. As we head into the 2016 election campaign, which features an open proponent of democratic socialism, this debate will grow in importance. So, I thought my commentary and replies, however rambling at times, important enough to publish here, if for no other reason than to stimulate further discussion.

In my commentary, I thought it necessary to open by defining my terms. For the purposes of this blog post, here they are:

Socialism is statism based on collectivism, the idea that the group is the focus of moral concern, to which the individual is subordinate and can be sacrificed at any time and in any way, if the group deems such sacrifice to be to its good. Under socialism, the government represents the group, and may initiate aggressive force against private citizens at will, in the name of the group (society, the public, the proletariat, the race). That’s why socialism, in practice—and whether or not the government is elected or not—has always led to dictatorship, persecution of and legalized looting of the productive, poverty, slavery, and mass murder. If the group is all that matters, then individuals are rightless when it comes to their lives, property, and personal goals. Under socialism, everyone but the rulers are equal in slavery to the collective, which can only mean the state. The fact that 36% of people have a positive view of socialism indicates that a large segment of the people are either evil or ignorant.

Capitalism is constitutionally limited republicanism based on individualism, the idea that the focus of moral concern is the individual. As such the government protects individual rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of personal goals, values, and happiness—so long as the individual respects the same rights of others, and pursues his goals by voluntary trade, association, and cooperation with others—by legally banning aggressive physical force against private citizens not only by private criminals but also by government officials. No group, no matter its size or whether it’s a private mob or electoral majority or a legislative body, can violate the rights of individuals—the individual being the smallest and only true minority. Under capitalism, everyone is equal before the law, in terms of their rights—rights being guarantees to freedom of action only, not an automatic claim to material values that others must be forced to provide—regardless of their social, personal, or economic standing. The fact that only 39% of people have a positive view of capitalism indicates that most people don’t know what capitalism is.

In reply to my definition, Painter in Jersey wrote:

@zemack No, socialism isn't that " the government represents the group." Socialism: The government REGULATES with the goal of overall betterment to the populous. Historically, you are wrong- not all socialist countries degenerated into despotism and dictatorship. In fact, Great Britain is largely socialist today- is David Cameron a persecutor and mass murderer?!
It has nothing to do with the death of the individual. The demise of the individual is about our culture not our economics. We killed the individual because we fell for the allure of group power. It's purely cultural. That's why one in seven people on this planet is on Facebook. It's robotic and disgusting.

I left this brief reply to Painter in Jersey’s definition, ignoring the rest:

What is the "overall betterment to the populous" if not the group over the individual? I rest my case on your contradiction.

Painter in Jersey responded:

@zemack You miss my point- you attempt to present it as the group vs the individual whereas socialism is the notion that the group is a collection of individuals. That is the fault in your dissertation. I rest now, Professor.

And me:

"The group as a collection of individuals" is precisely my point. Socialism holds the collective as a separate entity above the individuals that make it up. I think observational evidence of socialism in practice supports my view.

----------------------------------------

Painter in Jersey didn’t rest his case there, as it turned out. And others joined in the discussion I started. We’ll continue with the discussion tomorrow.

In trying to objectively focus on the difference between socialism and capitalism, one problem stands out: Many people have solidified the premise in their minds that the collective, however it is labeled, is an actual entity that exists. People hear terms like the “public good,” the “public interest,” “society,” the “populous,” etc. Society is treated as a concrete existent, even though you can’t observe it. It is so embedded in people’s minds that even Painter in Jersey, though in one sentence properly identifies the relationship of the group to the individual (“the group is a collection of individuals”), immediately falls back into collectivistic mysticism (the “overall betterment to the populous”). I say mysticism because collectivism—being the group separated from existents (actual individual human beings)—becomes a floating abstraction.  But being a source of human action, the collective must be concretized in some way. Having abandoned individuals as referents in reality, the state becomes the collectivist’s referent in reality. this is why collectivism must, without exception, lead to statism.

The frustrating thing is, I don’t think Painter in Jersey is being deliberately disingenuous. He seems to sincerely mean it.

To be continued. . .

Related Reading:

Sanders’s Open Socialism Blows the Cover Off of the Left’s Stealth Socialism

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

k_dorf’s Rebuttals to Mulshine on the ‘Climate Consensus’ Fall Flat

New Jersey columnist Paul Mulshine had a nice article in the NJ Star-Ledger chastising the New York Times for its “example of outrageous media distortion.” It concerns the Times’s coverage of the 2015 United Nations climate change conference. The title of Mulshine’s article is The only climate question that counts: What will the consensus be in 20 years?.


Mulshine compares today’s anthropogenic global warming “consensus” to prior failed scientific consensuses, notably the early 1980s “consensus in the reporting on the connection between cholesterol and heart disease that was  discredited as more data came in.” Then, as now, there was a minority of dissenters (deniers?). Well, those deniers turned out to be right: The “consensus” collapsed.


Of course, today’s global warming consensus has been distorted by politicians and policy makers to support their draconian climate change policies. But as Mulshine points out,


The consensus in question applies only to the idea that CO-2 may have some role in trapping heat in the atmosphere. There is no consensus whatsoever on how much heat will be trapped or whether it will be enough to cause climate disruption.


Mulshine then cites physicist Freeman Dyson of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, who “argues that far from harming the planet, atmospheric CO-2‚ may have a positive effect by increasing plant growth.”


Mulshine is a knowledgeable long-time critic of the climate catastrophist establishment. Not surprisingly, his column drew in an avid advocate for the catastrophists. Below are my thoughts on a few select passages from the correspondent screen-named k_dorf, who left extensive commentary.


[On the much-touted 97% “consensus”]
But if 97% of doctors were telling me I had cancer, I'd probably get treatment, just in case.


The 97% figure, as used by the climate catastrophists, is a fraud. Climate catastrophists trot out the “97% of scientists agree” claim in the same nature as religionists trot out “God said”; as a witch doctor-like claim to final, absolute,and unchallengeable knowledge. The purpose of the claim is, like “the science is settled” claim, is to shut down dissent and debate and close minds on the alarmists’ anti-fossil fuel agenda. The 97% figure is so broad as to be meaningless. Yes, 97% agree that humans’ carbon dioxide emissions are likely a contributing cause of climate change. But as to the question of whether humans are the primary cause of global warming, only 0.5% explicitly agree; 1/194th of the supposed “consensus.” And even that figure is meaningless, since it tells you nothing about whether global warming is good or bad, or how much so, or what, politically, should be done about it, if anything. When I hear some climate catastrophist back up their viewpoints by asserting that “97% of scientists agree,” I see a witch doctor, not a reasonable person.


[On the possibility that the “consensus” could be wrong]
Even if we aren't sure, we still have to do something--we either have to convert to clean energy, or we have to keep burning fossil fuels.  Given the likelihood of bad effects from staying with fossil fuels, we should start moving towards clean energy, as a kind of insurance. . .against the serious, and deadly, consequences of climate change.


What insurance do we have against the possibility that the climate alarmists’ quasi-religious faith in “green” energy doesn’t pan out, and we’re left with widespread energy poverty? Solar and wind are highly uneconomical, which is why they need massive subsidies accompanied by burdensome taxes and regulations to hamper fossil fuel competitors. Furthermore, Solar and wind are burdened with two intractable technological problems; diluteness and intermittency. This is why “green” energy needs fossil fuels to back them up. The problems of economic viability, diluteness, and intermittency will dog “green” energy for decades to come, if those problems can ever be solved. Nowhere on Earth is an independent, stand-alone “green” energy generating plant on the drawing boards, let alone operational. What if fossil fuels have been outlawed—the ultimate goal of the climate alarmists—and those problems can not be solved? Lack of energy, not climate change, is the real danger for humans. The second is eminently manageable, as long as we have plentiful energy. The first would be catastrophic beyond anything man has ever encountered, leading to mass poverty, misery, and death.


First, the climate catastrophists told us to fear global warming. Then, when unusually cold weather struck, they broadened the threat to climate change. Now, they must be finding the need to cover their asses further. The very fact that climate alarmists are now starting to peddle the insurance analogy as justification for forging ahead with their anti-industrial, anti-fossil fuel energy poverty schemes—“we may be wrong about catastrophic climate change, but let’s do it anyway”—indicates that they’re getting scared that the facts are starting to catch up to them.


[On another correspondent’s charge that k_dorf is guilty of the “appeal to authority” fallacy by playing the “97% consensus” card]
I'm not appealing to authority.  I'm appealing to experts.


This is a difference without a distinction. If you treat experts as infallible authorities, rather than as sources of information and explanation from which you can draw your own conclusions, you are guilty of appealing to authority.


[On Mulshine’s reliance on Freeman Dyson to support his case]
Dyson is an expert in physics.  Mulshine is citing his views on climate.


To rely on experts in only one narrow discipline, to the exclusion of all others—e.g., to ignore physicists, energy experts, economists, etc.—is dogmatism. Climate scientists can find correlations. But you need physics to find causality. You need energy experts to help you decide on energy policies. You need economists to offer cost-benefit analysis on things like the carbon tax-and-redistribute scheme. Actions have consequences. You need the big picture, not blinders.


[On the benefits of a government-enforce conversion to “clean energy”]
Even if we're wrong about climate science (which I don't think we are), the move to clean energy can only help us--reduced pollution, energy independence (which I'll address separately) and, when done properly, an economic boost.


Help us? Not if so-called “clean energy” is imposed by government force. Only if left to free market forces; i.e., the cumulative, voluntary, uncoerced choices of consumers and producers. The very fact that the catastrophists and the “clean” energy industry have joined forces to push for government to force us into a conversion is proof that, as primary, dependable energy sources,  solar, wind, et al are crap. True improvements don’t need force. To the extent governments allow free markets to function, superior technologies have no problem superseding established ones. Technological advance can not be stopped, if consumers are convinced that the new is better than the old. Scribes couldn’t stop the printing press. John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil couldn’t stop the electric light bulb. Horse and buggy makers couldn't stop the automobile. IBM couldn’t stop the personal computer revolution. Eastman Kodak couldn’t stop the digital photography revolution. If “green” energy really is better and cheaper, it’ll win over fossil fuels. But if government forces uneconomical, unreliable energy on us, that would be a real catastrophe; a human catastrophe, as opposed to the phony climate catastrophe that, like Annie’s “tomorrow,” always seems to be a day—or a year or a decade or a century—away.


First of all, subsidies are regressive. If something costs more in human and capital (monetary) resources than the market value of the end product, that’s regression toward poverty, not progress toward prosperity. Money stands for wealth produced. Wealth represents resources consumed. If it costs more money to produce something than the end product is worth, resources are destroyed, not created. Wealth and thus prosperity have been destroyed, not created. Market-based profits represent value created. Subsidized “profits” represent value destroyed. That’s why subsidized production—including most of today’s alternative energy industry—is destructive. So, there is no “economic boost.” There’s never any economic boost from the broken window fallacy, and subsidized solar and wind are manifestations of that fallacy.


Moreover, the wealth destruction wrought by “green” energy subsidies translates into a net loss of productive jobs. Never mind “green jobs.” “Green jobs” is a red herring. The issue is not jobs. The government could put millions of people to work building giant piles of rocks (pyramids). The issue is remunerative jobs—jobs that actually create value, as opposed to welfare jobs that replace real, value-creating jobs. You need to look not only at what is seen—the “green” jobs—but what is not seen—the jobs destroyed or not brought into existence. What is not seen is the alternative spending and investment not made because of the shift of money from other areas of the economy to the subsidies for economical “clean” energy investments.


Less pollution is not desirable if our lives become worse. It would be better and more humane to keep the benefits of superior fossil fuel energy and work to minimize the pollution side effects, as we’ve been successfully doing for decades. Weighing the positives against the negatives is crucial. More reliable energy with less pollution should be the goal, not less reliable energy for marginally less pollution. Besides, “clean” energy is not all that green.


In regard to energy independence, the fracking revolution has dwarfed every other recent energy technology. Fracking didn’t need force to emerge and gain wide acceptance among drillers or consumers. It required only relatively free markets and protection of private property rights, both of which are strong in America. If energy independence is the goal, free energy markets, not government favors to one energy source at the expense of others, is the way to go. Energy independence, though it sounds good, is, in my view, an unrealistic abstraction. We don’t need to produce every drop of energy within our borders to be energy independent. Leaving aside countries that present national security risks, such as Iran, all we need is a vibrant, domestic and global free trade system, so that energy can be produced and traded without restriction.


[On a carbon tax]
And a properly designed policy, such as a rising fee on fossil-fuels, with 100% of the proceeds then returned to household in a monthly dividend check, would actually boost the economy.


And if you want to help, I recommend: http://citizensclimatelobby.org/.


The alleged “boost to the economy” is another example of the broken window fallacy. But there’s more to it than that. Environmentalists have been likened to watermelons—green on the outside, red on the inside. This is meant to say that environmentalists are necessarily former communists. It’s not true, although statists of every stripe—including communists—have flocked to environmentalism as a path to political power. But the Citizens Climate Lobby’s ridiculous carbon tax-and-redistribute scheme lends credence to the watermelon analogy.


In actuality, Environmentalism is worse than communism. Yes, this is a harsh statement, given communism’s bloody record. But, Environmentalism is anti-humanism. Communists, at least, profess the goal of spreading prosperity around, even though in reality their policies only spread the poverty. Environmentalists hold the natural state as their standard of value. Since humans survive and thrive by altering and improving the natural state to human benefit, human prosperity and well-being is at odds with environmentalists’ standards. Whereas communists superficially value prosperity, environmentalists explicitly oppose it. Long term, Environmentalism, as an ideology, is more of a threat to human life than communism ever was.


Climate and energy must be considered from the humanist perspective, not an environmentalist perspective.


Related Reading:




The Environmentalists’ War on People—Ari Armstrong for The Objective Standard





Related Viewing: