16 Aug 2008

Green Authoritarianism

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Stephen Moore, in the Wall Street Journal, describes how the environmental movement has come to claim the right to regulate, tax, and control every aspect of every American’s life.

Earlier this month, while visiting a friend in San Francisco, I almost spilled my latte in my lap when I read this on the front page of the Chronicle: “S.F. Mayor Proposes Fines for Unsorted Trash.”

The story began: “Garbage collectors would inspect San Francisco residents’ trash to make sure pizza crusts aren’t mixed in with chip bags or wine bottles under a proposal by Mayor Gavin Newsom.” Isn’t that what homeless people do — rooting around in other people’s garbage? If Bay Area residents are caught failing to separate the plastic bottles from the newspapers, according to the newspaper story, they could face fines of up to $1,000.

“We don’t want to fine people,” the mayor is quoted saying reassuringly. “We want to change behavior.” Translation: Do exactly as we say and no one gets hurt. And San Francisco considers itself one of the most progressive cities in America!

When I was a kid, the environmentalists promoted their clean skies and antilittering agenda mostly through moral suasion — with pictures of an Indian under a smoggy sky with a tear rolling down his cheek or the owl who chanted on TV: “Give a hoot, don’t pollute.” Such messages made you feel guilty about callously throwing a candy bar wrapper on the ground or feeling indifferent toward car fumes. Back then I was a devoted recycler, but not for sentimental reasons. It was the financial incentive: You got up to a nickel for every bottle you brought back to the grocery store. So I would scavenge the landscape to find unredeemed bottles to buy baseball cards and candy.

But now the the environmental movement has morphed into the most authoritarian philosophy in America.

Read the whole thing.

Let’s all go out and pollute something.

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