Truth is the beginning of wisdom…


Posted by straight shooter on February 11, 2010 under Environmentally Speaking, General

When the “Green Police” commercial came on during the Super Bowl, I was at first distracted.  As the commercial wore on, however, it seems the commercial is an attempt at humor from Audi, which can be taken one of two ways.

Way #1: Audi is as fed up as most of us with the legalistic approach of government-worshippers who want to enforce responsible behavior through the power of the state.  In a good stab at such misguided beliefs, Audi basically tried to sell an awesome car to people fed up with getting in trouble with the viciously politically correct.  I am okay with this view, though the imagery was still very scary.

Way #2: Audi agreed with the stance that would require governmentally enforced global eco-wackoism and thought it was funny to poke fun at people who don’t share the extreme “granola” viewpoint.

Obviously, the commercial was so controversial because it rang close to the truth.  Many of us share the viewpoint that ecological hysteria is being used to increase statist’s power at the expense of individual freedom.  Just like wars, if a government can get people freaked out enough (i.e. the world is coming to an end, we will be nuked in five minutes, the earth is going to overheat, the polar ice-caps are melting, global warming, and now, the ever-flexible “climate change”-allowing people to freak out when temperatures trend in either direction) then they can justify taking emergency, draconian measures to enforce their “protection.”  It used to be that this protection was from enemies in war.  Now the protection is against ourselves and neighbors who dare to flush their toilets a bit too often.

This is tragic.

Why? … because the loss of individual freedom will kill everything else.  The parasite in totalitarian government always ends up killing its host (usually millions at a time).

But there is another tragedy, too.  It is the tragedy that will certainly befall our environment if the extremists succeed in giving something like the Green Police the power the commercial showed us.  What some don’t seem to understand is that totalitarian, tyrannical, communistic, socialistic governments have a very consistent track record of being the worst polluters.

For those of us who truly enjoy nature and care about passing a clean, well-cared-for planet on to our grandchildren, and who also realize that the private sector is more effective at administering nearly anything when compared to pervasive governments, the issue is a hot one.  There is no way a statist power of even the most invasive kind can effectively control the behavior of 6 billion people.  It is up to individual responsibility and stewardship.  This has always been accomplished best through community activism, social norms, private enterprise, proper incentives aligned to reinforce the correct behavior, and the like.  None of these are perfect, and we have a long way to go, (if only all the effort toward empowering government toward this end were being used to empower the private sector) but, rest assured, they will far surpass the efforts of any government to make a difference, and, they come with the additional benefit of individual freedom instead of its opposite.

Government is like a sledge hammer.  It is only good at one thing, and the use of a sledgehammer is obvious.  However, when you are a sledgehammer, every problem tends to look like a cinder block in need of smashing.  A sledgehammer can be used to cut a board in half, but it will do a messy and destructive job of it.  (Don’t even get me started on how the sledgehammer works on the economy!)  The board may eventually be pulverized into two pieces, but not as effectively as it would have had the correct tool been used.

The question isn’t whether or not we should be responsible stewards of planet earth.  Of course we should.  The question is rather which tool is most appropriate to bring about the most effective results.  History is clear that individual initiative and the private sector properly incentivized are consistently far superior to the government sledgehammer.  The people who don’t believe this don’t read history, I guess, or haven’t traveled enough to third world countries.  Or maybe, just maybe, they simply want the power and prestige governmental decree in service to a worthy political correctness can bring.