March 15, 2011

Ignorance and Hypocrisy

Nobody ever said that "progressives" are actually a very smart lot. (Scratch that -- as Paul says in the comments, plenty of people have said that ... and they're all "progressives!") Recent case in point is CNN's Roland Martin who complains about the oil price situation and desires alternative energies:

The crisis in northern Africa, specifically in Libya, has led the dramatic rise in the cost of oil, which now tops $101 a barrel, over the past month. And with summer approaching, Americans are fretting over whether to hit the highway for vacation because the price of gas, averaging $3.52 a gallon nationwide, is expected to go even higher.

Embracing non-oil energy alternatives -- wind, natural gas, electric and solar -- can absolutely create jobs in this country, and we should require Americans to make their homes more energy efficient with products built by Americans. What's wrong with that? How can the United States create solar technology and then allow the Chinese to become the leading manufacturer of wind turbines and solar panels?

No one alternative energy source can replace oil. It has to be a comprehensive plan that addresses our long-term needs. And it is going to mean we will have to spend money. Yes, we will be affected in the short-term, but if someone told me we could spend $500 billion today, and that would create millions of jobs over the next several years and lead to a transition to an alternative-energy economy, I would ask where I should sign up.

But as Steven Hayward notes, we already did make massive changes in the way we do things -- back in the 1970s. We used to generate approximately 20% of our electricity using oil; now, it's around 1%. High prices did that. The market functioned as it should, leading the public, and companies, to react accordingly. Coal and nuclear power replaced that 19-something percent, by the way.

But why didn't these industries expand further? Well, in the case of nuclear power, the Three Mile Island incident halted that power source for over thirty years. (1986's Chernobyl explosion didn't help either.) Environmentalists seized on this incident (despite there being not a single documented radiation-caused illness as a result of TMI's partial meltdown) to thwart expansion of a power source that Europe -- yes, progressive Europe -- has utilized more and more over the decades. France, for example, generates almost 80% of its electricity from nuclear power, and even exports said electricity to neighboring countries.

This is the key ingredient missing from Martin's diatribe, aside from the usual "progressive" "let's have government spend even more and create many jobs" mantra. Even the New York Times managed to get its journalistic thumb out of its keyster and write on the following:

Park Slope, Brooklyn. Cape Cod, Mass. Berkeley, Calif. Three famously progressive places, right? The yin to the Tea Party yang. But just try putting a bike lane or some wind turbines in their lines of sight. And the karma can get very different.

Last week, two groups of New Yorkers who live “on or near” Prospect Park West, a prestigious address in Park Slope, filed a suit against the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to remove a nine-month-old bike lane that has commandeered a lane previously used by cars.

In Massachusetts, the formidable opponents of Cape Wind, a proposed offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound, include members of the Kennedy family, whose compound looks out over the body of water. In Berkeley last year, the objections of store owners and residents forced the city to shelve plans for a full bus rapid transit system (B.R.T.), a form of green mass transit in which lanes that formerly served cars are blocked off and usurped by high-capacity buses that resemble above-ground subways.

"Plain 'ol NIMBYism," writes the Times -- "Not In My Backyard." From ... "progressives"?? But I thought ...? That's right -- like Martin, they're the most vociferous in advocating environmentally friendly power sources ... low or no GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions is the latest en vogue facet of such. But as long as you develop these in a way that doesn't irritate them!! It's akin to people like Al Gore bitching about massive quantities of GHGs being emitted by the everyday activities of your typical Joe Six-Pack, while he jets all over creation producing tons of the stuff. Not to mention many other famous hypocrite leftist bigwigs.

This is also like the recent leftist catcalls for "more civility" in our political discourse. In other words, it's all a bunch of bullsh**. Period. Really. Like this alternative power complaint, the Left doesn't really want more civility in discourse; they want their opponents to be more civil in their discourse, while they can do whatever the hell they please. Martin's is just the latest example of "progressive" paternalism -- they must "lead" us because their collective intelligence is so "superior" -- that is in reality stupefyingly condescending. "We" just cannot be trusted to do the right thing ... we must be guided by the "anointed" (with apologies to Thomas Sowell) such as Martin, et. al.

Meanwhile, Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds for some time has been writing about, and linking to, the subject of thorium reactors as a clean, plentiful and safe nuclear power source:

Three to four times more plentiful than uranium, today's most common nuclear fuel, thorium packs a serious energetic punch: A single ton of it can generate as much energy as 200 tons of uranium, according to Nobel Prize-winning physicist Carlo Rubbia. In the mid-twentieth century, some U.S. physicists considered building the nuclear power landscape around thorium. But uranium-fueled reactors produced plutonium as a byproduct, a necessary ingredient for nuclear weapons production, and uranium ended up dominating through the Cold War and beyond.

Thorium produces no such byproducts, and overall much less toxic remnants than our current commercial reactors. And it's being developed commercially -- no big government cash infusions, "stimulus," or so-called "shovel-ready" projects.

Just don't expect something like this to catch the glance of people like Martin and co. The boogeyman of the term "nuclear" is bad enough which means that "progressive" NIMBYism is the least of its worries.

Posted by Hube at March 15, 2011 12:40 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Nobody ever said that "progressives" are actually a very smart lot.

Plenty of people have said that. Of course, they're all progressives.

But to your broader point, I forget who it was, but someone once stated that environmentalists will support any form of alternative energy until it becomes commercially viable. Recent years indicate the wisdom of that statement.

Posted by: Paul Smith at March 15, 2011 01:07 PM

Libruls are illiterate when it comes to math. How can we create millions of jobs? Will Americans stop using oil to heat their homes? [I can't unless I replace my just replaced $5,000 oil furnace]. Will they pay more for green energy? I pay less than $150 per month to PECO for my electricity- how many good jobs can that support? At $100,000 per job, they'd need to get 54 customers like me to switch to green energy and then they could pay $50K for the employee and $50K for new equipment, raw energy etc.

The numbers just don't work I'm afraid. And Roland Martin was a religion or communications major in college so you know he is a typical dopey talking head. Btw, did you know Ali Velshi was also a religion major in college! WTF - can't CNN find qualified people for these jobs?

Posted by: AJ Lynch at March 15, 2011 05:33 PM

Wow. I made Hube edit his post. I feel so powerful.

Posted by: Paul Smith Jr at March 16, 2011 09:27 AM