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OpenMarket: April 2007

  • In defense of Muir

    April 12, 2007
    John-- Good post. I agree that a lot of environmentalists are wackos. But I think that Muir actually deserves some due as an environmental thinker those of us who favor freedom can admire. Why? He was honest. The quotation from Muir that you cite perfectly reflects his romantic mindset: he had strong, personal emotions about the world and wanted to share them. He understood the majesty of nature, talked about it forthrightly, and sought to preserve it for its own sake. Although I don't know the source or context of your quote, I have a good idea of where Muir was probably coming from: most plains Indians didn't care at all about the majesty of nature. They wanted to exploit the environment as best they could in order to raise their own standard of living. Among other thing, helped hunt the Buffalo...
  • Regress to the Future: Laundry Edition

    April 12, 2007
    Welcome back to Al Gore's America, where modern conveniences give way to anachronistic annoyances, all in the name of shrinking one's carbon footprint. Today's backward looking enviro-trend is...clotheslines. That's right, it's time to toss out your dryer and its sinful promise of warm, soft garments and embrace the stiff, cardboard-like bath towels of yesteryear. According to the New York Times' Kathy Hughes, it's fun for the whole family:
    As a child, I helped my mother hang laundry in our backyard in Tamaqua, Pa., a small coal mining town. My job was handing up the clothespins. When everything was dry, I helped her fold the sheets in a series of moves that resembled ballroom dancing. The...
  • Kurt Vonnegut, RIP

    April 12, 2007

    Grossly overrated novelist Kurt Vonnegut Jr. died yesterday after a fall. I've never quite understood why a man of such modest talents received so much literary recognition and became so popular. Some obituaries say that he became the most read author on college campuses. I believe them. In many ways, Vonnegut was the campus Left's answer to Ayn Rand: a competent novelist who came to take himself far too seriously and found plenty of acolytes willing to do the same.

    At his best, Vonnegut did turn out funny, creative stories and novels. His short story “Harrison Bergeron” offers an hilarious send up of the utopian ideal that everyone can be made equal in fact. Despite his own geeky interest in the scientific world—Cat's Cradle helped me understand ice physics--Vonnegut's writing dripped with hatred for science and technology. To him, every possibly...

  • How Business Rates

    April 12, 2007
    Business gets a bad rap in America, but I didn't know how bad that rap was until I saw quantified and laid out in easy to read charts. My beloved boss, Fred Smith, forwarded this old, yet still telling Business Week/Harris poll on the perception of business by Americans. Overall, the American public doesn't have a very rosy perception of business. Certainly this measurement of the cultural zeitgeist shows we haven't gone the way of Chavez's Venezuela, but a majority of Americans nonetheless find business to be unsavory in a multitude of dimensions. While libertarianism isn't pro-business, it's pro-market, and businesses make up a large part of the market. So, the perception of business is a barometer for the perception of the market itself.
  • A socialist interpretation of biofuels issue

    April 12, 2007

    Among the many articles on biofuels proliferating recently, I came across this April 11 article in the magazine In These Times.

    While the writer David Moberg does point out some of the potential problems with the biofuels food-to-fuel rush, he thinks the answer is careful government regulation:

    Both sides in the debate marshal studies predicting promise or peril. Ultimately, the evidence suggests that biofuels could be one valuable source of renewable energy. But for biofuels to deliver on that promise, governments will need to both tightly regulate agricultural and land-use practices, and carefully tailor trade and economic policies. Most important, the world—especially the United States—will have to greatly increase how efficiently it uses energy.

  • Gore's new book will be "a visionary analysis"

    April 12, 2007

    Just saw on Amazon that former Vice President Al Gore has another book coming out soon. The new book, titled The Assault on Reason — due out May 22 — is just in time to balance John Kerry's new book, This Moment on Earth and Barack Obama's current bestseller, The Audacity of Hope.

    According to its description, Al's book will go far beyond the theme of global warming and provide —

    A visionary analysis of how the politics of fear, secrecy, cronyism, and blind faith has combined with the degration [sic] of the public sphere to create an environment dangerously hostile to reason.

  • The Don Imuses of Environmentalism

    April 12, 2007
    Here are some outrageous and racist comments by environmentalists. These are compiled and documented in my book Eco-Freaks: Environmentalism Is Hazardous to Your Health. John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club: Muir said American Indians are "mostly ugly, and some of them altogether hideous." They "seemed to have no right place in the landscape," he continued. Muir is still honored without qualification on the Sierra Club web site, which proclaims, "John Muir is as relevant today as he was over 100 years ago." Paul Ehrlich, influential "overpopulation" guru and professor of population studies at Stanford University: In his best-selling book, The...
  • Smearing Coal

    April 11, 2007
    Readers of the Wall Street Journal this morning will have noticed several really expensive ads depicting pretty faces smeared with coal dust and the headline "Face it: Coal is filthy." I wrote about this on The NRO Corner when these ads started running in Texas. They aren't financed by the usual enviro groups, but by a shadowy organization called the Clean Sky Coalition. As is its right, it doesn't reveal its funding, but the Austin American Statesman discovered that it is funded by natural gas corporations. It's as clear as case of bootleggers joining baptists as you could ever find. The...
  • Save the World by Cooking

    April 10, 2007
    My wife and I are fans* of in-your-face chef Gordon Ramsay's program The F Word, which airs on BBC America (but which is actually produced by the BBC's British competitors Channel 4). In it, he regularly bemoans the loss of culinary skills among the British, particularly British women (I recall he mentioned in one episode that more British men now cook regularly at home than women). This led to one memorable exchange between Ramsay and a feminist journalist where she exclaimed that she didn't have time to marinade something for 24 hours... Anyway, my wife Kris did a little bit of lateral thinking and came up with the following, about how you can save the environment by cooking:
    Cooking is the best way to save the environment. By buying ingredients instead of processed foods and cooking rather than...
  • More from Monbiot today

    April 10, 2007

    The Guardian columnist George Monbiot today has yet another article attacking global warming deniers — to wit: “There is climate change censorship - and it's the deniers who dish it out.”

    Not much new in the column — but the comments posted are often fun — from the slavish paraphrases of “Oh George, you're so insightful!” to those hoping that mankind will indeed erase itself from the earth --


    April 10, 2007 9:33 AM

    Rich and poor will all be affected if we allow our planet to die. This planet doesn't need us to keep it going it will carry on long after we are gone. But it would have freed itself from the flea like planet draining creatures such is mankind.
    There are, surprisingly, numerous comments from more informed...


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