So with the news today reflecting the recycling-mania of the very same peoples’ republic I voted against with my feet just a few years ago — installing “tracking chips” in recycling bins (now in Cool Ranch flavor!) to assist the Green Police — I see another, written example of the environmentalist’s fetish. (Of course, when I lived in Alexandria, I had Greenpeace tracking my garbage already, removing it every Sunday night. Think of the possibilities with this scheme had I not moved.)
Anyway, coincidentally the Washington Post runs this cute item in the center of its opinion page by environmental scold Bill McKibben. Its on-line title is something less risible than in my print edition, tossed at the gym earlier, which was “Solar’s Shining Moment at the White House” or something very close to that. Fittingly, it is accompanied by a photo of Jimmy Carter.
Noting that the solar panels that Carter had installed during his one term (Obama, you might better hurry), McKibben tells a whopper when he says that the contraption provided cheap power. That must be why that industry wouldn’t exist without federal subsidies more than 100 times those granted oil and gas, per unit of energy produced. And now demands a law mandating that people buy their stuff (McKibben does implicitly admit all of this with his citation of failed climate legislation being the hurdle to our miracle power becoming reality…). Such are the perils of prosperity, we are to believe. Or, possibly, be distracted from.
Regardless, the underlying argument, that now is the time for symbolic gestures (and mandates and more subsidies) because solar can be the miracle breakthrough technology solving our energy needs shows a deep commitment to recycling.
Consider this headline from the Wall Street Journal. Note the date.
It isn’t that Carter didn’t try to nag, subsidize and mandate breakthrough technologies into existence. You can’t legislate around the laws of physics or make the uneconomic into the economic (though it is true that you can, as President Obama serially says, make certain kinds of energy technologies “the profitable kind”; begging the obvious answer of “at the taxpayer’s and ratepayer’s expense”).
Add to this the insulting talking point that we need to begin investing in uneconomic technologies to bail out Ponzi-style speculation, which is premised on a falsehood while also ignoring what deep down most citizens surely know: the search for the ideal energy source never ended.
In fact, that search launched into over-drive, if into a ditch filled with taxpayer subsidy-addled distortions, about the time of the (also tiresomely invoked) Apollo Project. And so far we’ve spent half of what we spent on Apollo chasing Flubber and flying cars, having gotten nowhere. “Nowhere”? Yes. They admit as much, even as they try to hide it, with the very same talking point of begin to invest. The entirety of McKibben’s piece begging for more puts the lie to that.
All those billions and we’re at square one. By these modern carnival barkers’ own admissions, made while coaxing Peter into forgetting he has already had billions robbed from him to give to Paul.
Drop the symbolic gestures. Oh, and the decades of wasteful wealth transfers and inefficiencies piled on the economy. If this isn’t the time to call Bull on these boondoggles, will there ever be one?