Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Human Needs

An op-ed writer named Mike Shelton has some scattered thoughts on climate change, which can be summarized as follows:

  1. Some top scientists say it's a hoax, so all the top scientists who say it isn't are obviously wrong.

  2. Terrorists are dangerous, unlike hog-waste lagoons.

  3. It doesn't matter if you cut down a forest, 'cause you can plant a new one. Animals who don't love it can leave it!

  4. zOMG Algore wants me to wipe my ass with my bare hands!!!oneoneone

  5. Some guy in Ohio is weird.

  6. Farms are wasting away! People are starving! And you expect me to care about the climate?

  7. I object strongly to the elitist elitism of elites, unless they're "the world's top scientists" and they're saying stuff that pleases me. (And no, it's not elitism to suggest that personal choice should be as all-consuming a concern to the world's downtrodden as it is to some willfully ignorant loudmouth in Yuma, AZ.)

  8. Americans don't care about it very much, which proves that it doesn't matter.
The usual nonsense, in other words. But he does have one interesting argument up his sleeve, which ties in nicely with the current conservative strategy of relying on fictional characters to solve all the world's problems:
[W]hen Kiefer Sutherland left his “Jack Bauer” persona on Fox's “24” and said the set was green, I was so disappointed. The real Jack, and his admiring audience, would care less about the environmental friendliness of his set. Just knock sense into those soft-on-terror senators.
There's no arguing with this, mainly because there's no understanding it. Jack Bauer, who's not actually on TV in his TV show, wouldn't want the set of his show to be environmentally friendly, if he had one, because that'd interfere with his fictional prime directive of roughing up US senators. And Kiefer Sutherland should totally have respected that imaginary stance by sneering at environmentalism just like the real Jack Bauer would've, if he actually existed and starred in a TV show about himself. In real life, I mean.

Or as Joseph Conrad once observed, "what is a TV show about torturing terrorists if not a conviction of our fellow-men's existence strong enough to take upon itself a form of imagined life clearer than reality and whose accumulated verisimilitude of selected episodes puts to shame the pride of documentary history?”

Know what else is kind of disappointing, come to think of it? Ayn Rand never went Galt. Which is pretty remarkable, when you look at the high income tax rates in 1957, and the rise of deadly dysgenic evils like Social Security benefits for the disabled.

Here's a closing thought for you. Bear in mind that it comes from a man who thinks that we can mow down forests, and plant new ones, with no net loss of anything that matters.
We have too many real human needs to behave as though the cycles of nature are within our control.
(Illustration: "High winds blow sand at the original north shore of Owens Lake, now miles from the nearest pool of water, on May 5, 2007 near Lone Pine, California. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is trying to reverse the desertification of the lake that it dried up with the construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913 to divert the Owens River – the lake’s only water source – for growing Los Angeles urban areas." Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.)


Jazzbumpa said...

Your paraphrase makes Shelton's article look like a string of random non sequiturs.

So I read the article. OK. You nailed it.

But I am not giving up toilet paper.

We have too many real human needs to behave as though the cycles of nature are within our control.

I believe we have spoken before about their willful ignorance.

Phila said...

But I am not giving up toilet paper.

I regret to inform you that you are worse than Hitler.

Jazzbumpa said...

Maybe I need to reread Shelton.

On second thought -- No.

Not that Jack Bauer, or other real (i.e.) fictional Americans will care.

Really, though, I'm better than Hitler. Really.

Phila said...

Really, though, I'm better than Hitler. Really.

Well, OK. But the toilet paper thing is still way out of line. Aren't you down with the revolution?