Sunday, May 26, 2002

Field guide to the North American watermelon

As noted before, the name of this blog is a reference to people who cloak their political goals with environmental initiatives (they look green, but they're really red on the inside. Or else they're what Lenin called "useful idiots"). So how do we know who the watermelons are?

For one, they speak of "anti-environmentalists". No, there's no such thing. We all live on the same planet, drink the same water, breathe the same air, eat the same food...we're all in this together. Everybody wants a good environment - we just disagree about what one is, and how much we'll put up with in exchange for other benefits. And we have these people to thank for the fact that many of us now are conditioned to be suspicious of environmental initiatives - they've created divisions where none need exist.

They want you to give money to professional bitchers like Greenpox Greenpeace or the Sierra Club. Have these groups ever done anything besides pushing for bigger govt to solve problems? Would you rather spend your money on, say, developing a more efficient engine, or on buying enough Congressmen to raise CAFE standards?

They object to capitalism and private property, preferring govt control. There are problems to be addressed with resources subject to "the tragedy of the commons". But they should note that for truly deadly pollution, it's hard to top places with huge govts and/or nonexistent property rights, like Mexico or the former Soviet Union. Obviously neither capitalism nor private property are necessary.

They object to local control. If a community is satisfied with, say, the level of arsenic in their water, then why should anyone butt in? Why should automotive exhaust in Nebraska be regulated the same way as it is in Los Angeles? Why should some New Yorker who wants to see wolves in Yellowstone National Park on his vacation be able to force locals to live with them all year?

They demonize their opposition, presenting issues in terms of good vs. evil rather than your values and interests vs. mine. You cannot oppose them without having your motives questioned, and nothing is more questionable than being wealthy.

And further environmental progress in large measure will depend on kicking these people out of the leadership of environmental groups.

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