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Government Enforced Morality

Over the weekend Ann Althouse linked to an editorial by Mike Tidwell, published by the Washington Post, that exhibited a frightening attitude. Tidwell makes an impassioned plea for people to stop voluntarily going green. Why is that? Because it is a distraction from what is really needed--government mandates, laws and regulations.

As President Obama heads to Copenhagen next week for global warming talks, there's one simple step Americans back home can take to help out: Stop "going green." Just stop it. No more compact fluorescent light bulbs. No more green wedding planning. No more organic toothpicks for holiday hors d'oeuvres.
I find it hard to pick which parts of Tidwell's piece to quote as I disagree with almost every sentence. He pours on the imagery in the beginning and then heads straight into lunacy.
As America joins the rest of the world in finally fighting global warming, we need to bring our battle plan up to scale. If you believe that astronauts have been to the moon and that the world is not flat, then you probably believe the satellite photos showing the Greenland ice sheet in full-on meltdown. Much of Manhattan and the Eastern Shore of Maryland may join the Atlantic Ocean in our lifetimes. Entire Pacific island nations will disappear. Hurricanes will bring untold destruction. Rising sea levels and crippling droughts will decimate crops and cause widespread famine. People will go hungry, and people will die.

Morally, this is sort of a big deal. It would be wrong to let all this happen when we have the power to prevent the worst of it by adopting clean-energy policies.

...

All who appreciate the enormity of the climate crisis still have a responsibility to make every change possible in their personal lives. I have, from the solar panels on my roof to the Prius in my driveway to my low-carbon-footprint vegetarian diet. But surveys show that very few people are willing to make significant voluntary changes, and those of us who do create the false impression of mass progress as the media hypes our actions.

Instead, most people want carbon reductions to be mandated by laws that will allow us to share both the responsibilities and the benefits of change. Ours is a nation of laws; if we want to alter our practices in a deep and lasting way, this is where we must start. After years of delay and denial and green half-measures, we must legislate a stop to the burning of coal, oil and natural gas.

Where to begin?

In the first paragraph, Tidwell depicts a looming future that would make the producers of the Day After Tomorrow and 2012 proud. There's no doubt in his mind that death and destruction is coming on a massive scale and it is arriving tomorrow. There's no mention of any doubt, any conflicting scientific data. Like a good soldier, Tidwell considers the science settled.

Next, we learn that stopping climate change is an moral imperative. But--and this is rather important--he feels that people themselves won't make these moral choices. We need the government to regulate and make them for us.

After that, Tidwell goes off the deep end. After letting us know of his smug superiority--he has solar panels, a Prius, and a low carbon-footprint-vegetarian diet--he calls for a legislative ban on the burning of all coal, oil, and natural gas.

Let that sink in for a second.

Just how would the world's energy requirements be met? Environmentalists like Tidwell are typically against nuclear power, so that's out. Today's solar panels lack the efficiency needed to replace all the energy gained from fossil fuels. Wind? Tidal power? Geothermal? I guess we are all suppose to huddle in our community living centers, eating our vegetarian gruel under candle light--all forced by the caring boot of the federal government. Tidwell wants to jump in the deep end of the pool without seeing if there is any water there. This is just like the decision to ban incandescent bulbs before suitable alternatives are available but on a much more massive scale. It is emotional, not scientific, and not even remotely rational.

And it is scary as hell. If Tidwell is begging for government mandated morality on climate change, just what other moral decisions would he want the government to make for us? To be honest I'd rather not know.


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Comments (28)

People like Tidwell need to... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

People like Tidwell need to be put up against a wall and SHOT!

via the Legal Insurrection... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

via the Legal Insurrection blog, world newspapers colluding to push the 'we're all gonna die!' meme :

"Despite mounting evidence that key climate researchers were less than honest, and other indications that the science is not settled, tomorrow 56 newspapers will run a common front page editorial saying we have 'Fourteen days to seal history's judgment on this generation': .."

-

The sheep are panicked and stampeding. The shepherds are doing nothing; or actually encouraging the mania.

What will the sheepdogs do?

"it is scary as hell. If Ti... (Below threshold)

"it is scary as hell. If Tidwell is begging for government mandated morality on climate change, just what other moral decisions would he want the government to make for us?"

Whatever behaviors, thoughts and speech his religion requires.

Nothing new, remember the Spanish Inquisition? Iranian theocratic rule for the last 35 yrs?

Science confirms! The very survival of the planet is at stake!

What means are not justified in service of that end?

If humanity will not respond to Gaia's needs voluntarily, then force must be used.

When some resist force, death or the Gulag!

"And it is scary as hell... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

"And it is scary as hell. If Tidwell is begging for government mandated morality on climate change, just what other moral decisions would he want the government to make for us? To be honest I'd rather not know."

Oh, next he'll probably try to ban abortions.

Isn't that awful? Aren't you outraged that someone would try to legislate their morality onto others?

Then he'll probably try to pass a ban on contraceptive education for teens - favoring an "abstinence only" approach instead.

Man, the folks who try to legislate morality have to be stopped!!!!

Meanwhile, the hubris invol... (Below threshold)

Meanwhile, the hubris involved in thinking that we small humans have the ability to affect the weather is stunning! If we were that powerful, why wouldn't we use our power to stop hurricanes and tsunamis? Seriously - these people are freaking NUTS and I've been saying that for years. I well remember when we were all going to freeze to death due to global cooling! And of course the provenance involved - Albert Gore, Jr.? Puh-leeze! He is to intellect what Bill Clinton is to abstinence!

The way he talks the Goracl... (Below threshold)
Rich:

The way he talks the Goracle could be to GW what King was to CR or Anthony to WR,or Lincoln to slavery. Or maybe he thinks he is serving that role with this pos.

"People like Tidwell need t... (Below threshold)
Dave:

"People like Tidwell need to be put up against a wall and SHOT!"
And their families charged for the cost of the bullet.

Tidwell:"...then you... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Tidwell:
"...then you probably believe the satellite photos showing the Greenland ice sheet in full-on meltdown. Much of Manhattan and the Eastern Shore of Maryland may join the Atlantic Ocean in our lifetimes. Entire Pacific island nations will disappear."

Another view:
http://www.cfact.org/a/886/Melting-the-facts-about-Greenlands-ice-sheet

Steve Green:
"Oh, next he'll probably try to ban abortions.

Isn't that awful? Aren't you outraged that someone would try to legislate their morality onto others?"

Your outrage at not being aborted in utero is troubling to me.

Little Stevie,<blockq... (Below threshold)
Kenny:

Little Stevie,

Then he'll probably try to pass a ban on contraceptive education for teens - favoring an "abstinence only" approach instead.

Man, the folks who try to legislate morality have to be stopped!!!!

You mean people like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid?

I Agree, Sen Harry Reid must be stopped!!!

Little steve green is such ... (Below threshold)
Michael:

Little steve green is such n idiot.

Do not forget that 'The Won... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

Do not forget that 'The Won' has ALREADY stated that he is going to ban the building of new caol fired power generation plants.

Statist's have one thing as a goal, control over your life.

coal even ... sheesh.... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

coal even ... sheesh.

Let's see a plane take off ... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

Let's see a plane take off under solar power. Tell woment they can't have lipstick, panyhose and bras. Wait a minute....he might be on to something here....

Personally, I don't believe... (Below threshold)
Cstmbuild:

Personally, I don't believe in man-made global warming.

Now saying that, I think we should stop all manner of conservation. Once the liberal East and West coast go underwater I will breath much easier (assuming they don't move here!). Besides, with their dense (in more ways than one) populations, think of how much these greenhouse gases would decline. /sarc

Of course we need to legisl... (Below threshold)
Jonte:

Of course we need to legislate morality (How about murder? Rape? Theft? Assault? Should we not legislate these things?) Polluting the environment is not good, and the common man (as proven by some of the feedback on this site) cannot, or will not change their greedy and selfish lifestyles. So the only way is to change it for them. I.e. make polluting things more expensive (by using a carbon tax, or similar), resulting in items/services that contribute little pollution to be cheaper. This will bring about real change. If catching an electric bus is a lot cheaper than driving a petrol driven car, people will change. If eating a lentil burger is a lot cheaper than eating a beef-steak, people will change. If wind-farmed electricity is cheaper than coal-powered electricity, people will change. Simple. But there are too many skeptics and big corporations holding us all back.

Steve, for your analogy to ... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Steve, for your analogy to work, it would have to be:
Stop abstaining or using contraception, because the real answer is government funded abortions.

Vagabond wrote "Let's see a... (Below threshold)
Jonte:

Vagabond wrote "Let's see a plane take off under solar power."

Actually, there are solar powered planes that can stay up in the air almost indefinitely. But I see your point. You're trying to say that because solar power can't be used to fly a commercial jet, therefore why bother with it? Well, before planes were made at all, I'm sure many people said, "We have perfectly good ships. Why would we want to put ourselves at risk by flying? Planes will never work anyway". Or I'm sure before combustion engines were created, there were people saying "We have perfectly good steam-engines, why should we bother paying for something as expensive as petrol using an unreliable technology such as combustion". I'm sure people thought that TNT was the best explosive and thought that nuclear energy was a ridiculous notion. Boy, were they wrong.

So the point I'm making, just because you can't see the benefits (or don't want to see), doesn't mean they don't, or won't exist. We need to fund alternative energy research. Only then can we find bigger and better ways to harness it.

Fossil fuels are just that. They're not renewable. Once they're gone, they're gone.

Using your words "Let's see a plane take off when there is no oil".

Lots of oil left jonte...yo... (Below threshold)
Michael:

Lots of oil left jonte...your the only one here polluting with your silly delusions.

You can shove the lentil bu... (Below threshold)
Brad:

You can shove the lentil burger up your ass.

Losers like Algore nad Titw... (Below threshold)
914:

Losers like Algore nad Titwell are so tiring with their selfish abuse of our resourses.

Dan Karipides,Are ... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Dan Karipides,

Are you really opposed to Government Enforced Morality?

Is so, what is your opinion of social conservatives? Social conservatism is based on passing laws that promote moral ideals. I know a lot of republicans that are fiscal conservatives but disagree with social conservatism. You sound like you fall in that category.

Meanwhile, the hubris in... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Meanwhile, the hubris involved in thinking that we small humans have the ability to affect the weather is stunning!

Actually, we do have the ability. China manipulated the weather to prevent it from raining during the Olympics.

http://travel.latimes.com/articles/la-trw-rain31jan31

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weather_control

Let's see a plane take o... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Let's see a plane take off under solar power.

VagaBond,

You can see it here, they have a video.

http://www.solarimpulse.com/index.php

The Swiss are making a 100% solar powered plane capable of flying around the world both day and night. The first prototype just had a successful flight last summer.

My fear is that America will fall behind in the invention of new energy technologies. The countries that lead in the development of new energy technogies will become the energy sheiks of the next century. I hope it's US.

This remindes me of some AG... (Below threshold)
Staylor:

This remindes me of some AGW hack I heard on the radio who indiganatly demanded that,
"the American people have the right to regulate their emissions."

My immediate responce was that this jerk had the right to 'regulate' his own emissions as much as he wanted but wanted to be able to tell everyone else what to do as well. Typical liberal.

So the argument is that glo... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

So the argument is that global warming is caused by CO2 and that such warming will have catastrophic results on a global scale. The problem is that the warming has stopped and the link to CO2 is tenures at best and there's no bases for believing warming will be catastrophic or even damaging on a whole. Yes, some land will once again be under water, but far more land could become habitual, and what's just habitual now could become fertile not only because of warming but because of the net benefits of higher concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere. Against all those unknowns Mike Tidwell wants the government to force the population to live the lifestyle of medieval peasants.

The reason the "going green" half measures are so popular is because most people want to feel good about their lifestyle, but without lowering it. If Environmental extremists are able to impose their religious views on the population such that it significantly and negatively impacts the economy or people's lifestyles then the next election will see an overwhelming mandate to repeal the offending laws and abrogate corresponding treaties. The only way carbon emission laws are going to stick is to go slow enough that technology and the economy can adjust enough to maintain a high standard of living.

Thus, the quickest way to reduce carbon emissions without damaging the economy or our lifestyle is to replace coal burning power plants with nuclear power plants. France gets 90% of their electricity from nuclear power and they reprocess the fuel such that 90% of the spent fuel can be reused and only 10% becomes waste. The total amount of nuclear waste produced to generate the electrical needs of a family of 4 for 25 years can be comfortably held in one hand (a representative mass, not the actual waste). The French are trying to reintroduce the technology to the U.S., but guess who stands in the way? The same environmental extremists who use the endanger species act to stop development of large solar energy plants in the desert southwest, stop offshore wind farms, and stop construction of new transmission lines.

If stopping AGW is such an emergency than it should justify modifying the endangered species act to make it much harder for environmental extremists to stop non-fossil fuel power generation or the infrastructure that supports it such as electrical distribution, mining of the needed materials, transportation of nuclear fuel, nuclear fuel reprocessing, and spent fuel disposal.

If AGW is real and warming turns out to be catastrophic I blame environmental extremists who stopped the US from switching to nuclear power over the last 30 years as France has.

All who appreciate... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
All who appreciate the enormity of the climate crisis still have a responsibility to make every change possible in their personal lives. I have, from the solar panels on my roof to the Prius in my driveway to my low-carbon-footprint vegetarian diet.

Carbon footprint is a measure of the geologically sequestered carbon that's released by a given activity. The action of a wild plant growing and being eaten by an animal has a zero carbon footprint. If the first animal is eaten by another animal, it's still a zero carbon footprint. If ground needs to be tilled, planted, weeded, and a crop harvested, processed and transported, there's usually a significant carbon footprint as most of those activities involve the burning of fossil fuel. Because humans are not herbivores we cannot efficiently digest plants and extract all the needed nutrients, thus the agricultural intensity needed to provide a viable vegetarian diet is substantial as is the associated carbon footprint.

To lower the carbon footprint of a person's diet they should include milk and meat from range fed cattle as well as meat and eggs from free range chickens. They should also hunt and fish. The complete proteins in these near zero carbon footprint foods allows a person to greatly reduce their need for higher carbon footprint vegetarian foods. I wonder if Mike Tidwell is willing to change his diet to one that truly is low carbon. Maybe Sarah Palin can teach him to hunt and fish.

> Are you really opposed to... (Below threshold)

> Are you really opposed to Government Enforced
> Morality?
>
> Is so, what is your opinion of social
> conservatives?

Tina, I hate putting strict labels on things as a quick two word label is rarely accurate. Me personally? I'm hard to classify. I would say that I am socially conservative in my own actions. But I truly, strongly, and firmly believe in limited government. So I tend not to support government interference in the moral direction of a population.

Hmmm.......not to be blunt,... (Below threshold)
andy:

Hmmm.......not to be blunt, but Tidwell can take his lifestyle and shove it up his Prius.




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