Forgive me for being remiss in posting. I've been preparing for my annual performance review (which is tomorrow, eek), so I've been playing tag with methane flux data for two weeks. However, every so often I see something in my morning blog feed that simply demands response. In this case, it's my favorite professional asshole, Jeffrey A. Tucker.
Mr. Tucker is a sad panda, you see. The webmaster of the Mises Institute, a libertarian think-tank, his articles all have the same mantra: Government is stealing your modern conveniences for no reason. 1 gallon per flush toilets? Low flow shower heads? Compact fluorescent light bulbs? Low-phosphorous dish detergent? Abominations unto Nuggin, all of them! Why, every one of them is an example of the reigning in of capricious resource consumption and reduction of negative externalities. If someone had invented The Sardonic Shit-Cannon (TM), that took the contents of a house's flushed toilets and fired them straight up into the air so raw sewage rained down on the town below, Mr. Tucker would get bent out of shape when the EPA banned it.
Because oh, he hates the EPA and the "goofy environmentalists." Poor saps, thinking that taking a swim in a non-poisonous river or having access to clean drinking water is more important than being able to clean your dishes without the horror of rinsing them off first. The nerve of us, asking an Important Man like Mr. Tucker to forgo consuming 20 times as much water per day as, say, someone from Cambodia, just so we can stop the Colorado River from drying up, or the Albuquerque Aquifer from collapsing. And to suggest that he might bear the "pain in the neck to carry a full tray across the room, spill a bit here and there, and then balance it carefully in the freezer," just so he can reduce his energy consumption a little bit and play his part in staving off the fucking climate apocalypse. Why should he care? He can afford the finest air conditioning and electronic security in a home high on a bluff in a safe region.
People like Jeff Tucker live on negative externalities. Libertarians exist in a fantasy world, where none of their choices have consequences, where they can consume and pollute as much as they want and "the market" will magically fix everything. They refuse to believe that they can buy a huge plasma TV directly because a family in Burma lives in abject poverty. They refuse to hear that the huge diamond rock they just gifted to their sweetheart was bathed in blood of African rape victims. They don't care that they can have a lithium-ion battery in their Blackberry because the US military blew up some Afghan kid's parents to secure the region's mineral resources. It doesn't matter that the capital gains bonus they used to buy a new hot tub came because an entire Michigan town was thrown out of work and factory moved to Vietnam. They don't see it, it doesn't appear in their ledgers and their portfolios, and they don't. Give. A shit.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is why we can't have a nice planet. We will face fires and storms and rising waters and poisonous tides and collapsing fisheries and nuclear leaks and groundwater contamination and rampant disease. We will face these horrors, and more, so Mr. Tucker and his socialite pals can live in their air-conditioned McMansions on the bluff. Because Mr. Tucker and friends so hate to be inconvenienced, and they will peddle their influence with right-wing lawmakers to take away those pesky environmental regulations that only matter to people down in the shit, anyway.
It's about freedom. Didn't you get the memo?