Watts (chipotle) wrote,

Slashdot rant

I came across a post on Slashdot as a comment on a link to a skeptical (but apparently somewhat dubious) article about global warming a bit ago--the post was called "Environmentalist = Communist in drag."

This was my response. I don't rant often, but sometimes you just gotta.

* * *

While I should know better than to get into this, it really pisses me off when people damn others for making huge, sweeping generalizations while making huge, sweeping generalizations themselves.

"True environmentalists" don't believe in taking people's rights away, no. News flash. You don't have a right to pollute the river that flows past your property because that river then flows past my property. You ever hear the old Libertarian maxim, "your right to swing your fist ends at my nose?" It applies to the environment, too. You don't have a right to do things with your property that affect my property, or anyone else's.

Water and air are a common good that cannot be owned by anyone. This ain't communist propaganda. It's fucking common sense, people. And it means that sometimes as a property owner your rights are going to be curtailed. Deal with it. I support gun rights, but they don't include a right to fire your gun without paying attention to where you're pointing it.

And, no, companies not wanting to clean up their act is not hogwash. Companies want to spend as little as they can and charge the highest prices they can. This isn't because they're evil, it's because they're trying to increase their capital. Hello! That's why it's called capitalism. Not all companies are responsible citizens. Some of them will do exactly the same calculation Ford made with the Pinto: balance the cost of expected fines and lawsuits from doing things sleazily against the cost of doing things the right way, and doing things sleazily if it's a lower expense. They can do this because when they're caught, they can apologize profusely and know that they will have lots of defenders saying thing like: "The presidents of these companies are pople like you and I."¹

Furthermore, people with your attitude seem to be really hep on bashing environmental groups for having "vested interests" in scaring people. You never once seem to be willing to admit that maybe, just maybe, corporations making billions of dollars on practices those environmental groups are criticizing could have a vested interest in making sure that you dismiss the environmentalists as kooks. Individual donations to the Center for Science in the Public Interest make it a scare group, but the blatant industry backing of JunkScience.com couldn't possibly influence their reporting, right? Check.

Funny, to me being about individual rights has nothing to do with promoting corporations and bashing government any more than it does to do with bashing corporations and promoting government. Some libertarians have figured that out. Have you?

Scientists who aren't on Exxon's payroll aren't arguing about whether the temperature's rising, and they're not even arguing about whether humans are having an effect--the debate has moved to what effect we are having, and how to control it. If you think this is just the province of Greenpeace kids hanging signs from smokestacks, congratulations! The industry is keeping you in the '80s. This debate isn't going on in Granola Crunch Quarterly anymore, it's going on in Nature.

Wake up. By and large environmentalists are not out to send us into the dark ages or to create a happy Marxist utopia. They're out to make us think about the resources we use and to convice us that we should use less, even if using less is going to be inconvenient. And, yes, using less might mean some industries have to change. It's happened before. Why is it so horrific to consider that it might have to happen again?

¹That was a line from the post I was responding to.


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