“The largest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and
prosperity is no longer socialism. It is, instead, the ambitious,
arrogant, unscrupulous ideology of environmentalism.”
―Czech president Vaclav Klaus, quoted by Charles Krauthammer in a
2008 column included in his new book, “Things That Matter.”
its lesson about socialism the hard way. Since Dr. Krauthammer used
this quote in his column, the United States has accelerated on the
road to learning its lesson about socialism the hard way, too.
This doesn’t negate
former President Klaus’ point about radical environmentalism. A huge
subject, so I’ll keep it local for now.
I did buy a thick
flannel shirt to keep me warm if the enviro-radicals delay or kill
the proposed natural gas Salem Harbor power plant. I know I depend
upon National Grid for my own heat, but...
I once thought that
having gas would ensure I had heat during an electric power outage,
until I learned that I need electricity to turn on the furnace.
Salem uses its plant to generate electricity, which I get from
Marblehead Electric, which gets it from MMWEC, which gets it from
the electric power grid, of which Salem is a part. So, technically,
I might sometimes depend on Salem for the electricity needed to fire
my gas furnace to keep warm.
Let me reassure the
enviro-rads who are protesting the new Salem plan that even if it’s
built, I’ll still wear my flannel shirt so I can keep my thermostat
lower and help save Mother Earth. Of course, if everyone had my
small carbon footprint, Mother Earth probably wouldn’t have the
fever that Al Gore says it has. Or a cold. Or whatever it has now
that the globe is no longer warming but instead just changing its
I laughed about the
global warming scientists stuck in the summertime ice in Antarctica
over Christmas, but I feel bad about the kangaroos dying in the
drought in Australia, not to mention my son and grandson missing
skiing in the nearby Sierra Nevada, which has no snow this year. I
think something is going on, climate-wise, and would be open to
discussion if it didn’t require I make the “ambitious, arrogant,
unscrupulous ideology of environmentalism” my personal religion — or
fund Gov. Patrick’s new state climate change czar and his $40
resistance to enviro-rads: the vote by the Marblehead Board of
Health last week for a ban on plastic checkout bags. This came a
week after I got a notice from the Marblehead Sewer Department
asking me not to put garbage down the disposal, but to put it in a
plastic bag and then in the trash.
I don’t have a disposal
and always wrap the garbage in the plastic bags I get at the grocery
store when my cloth bags are full; then, I put it in the freezer
until trash day. But the Board of Health doesn’t want me to have
plastic bags, apparently following state Rep. Lori Ehrlich’s
argument that they’ve become an environmental menace, harming
beaches, oceans and animal life. I won’t mention clogging landfills,
because Marblehead doesn’t have one anymore; we send our plastic
bags to the Saugus incinerator, where they are burned and, I assume,
pollute the air? I’ve never seen anyone here toss a plastic bag onto
the beach or into the ocean, but I’d support a crackdown on all
litterbugs; remember when we used to beep our horns at them? I
suppose that’s noise pollution; instead, let’s put a plastic bag
over their heads (with a nose-hole) and shame them in the stocks at
Incredibly, the Board
of Health wants shoppers to choose paper instead of plastic! They
want to kill more trees? I grew up downwind from a paper mill: On a
clear day you could smell it 15 miles away, not to mention the
sulphates in the Clarion River.
We should be using
cloth bags. Some people fear they will become contaminated by meat,
but the clerk always wraps the meat in a plastic bag before putting
it in the cloth bag. Oh, wait.
Here is the difference
between libertarian/conservatives like me and enviro-rads. We, the
former, understand trade-offs. Every kind of energy and container
causes some kind of problem: We weigh the pros and cons and make the
best decision. Liberals grab one trendy issue and go nuts with it.
I hope there will be a
gas-powered plant on Salem Harbor, down the street from my house, to
generate electricity, so I can read without killing whales for lamp
oil or beheading eagles with windmills; so I can fire my gas furnace
instead of using gasoline or propane for a generator or chopping
down the trees in my yard for a wood stove. Maybe someday solar
power will make more economic sense, once politicians with taxpayer
dollars are no longer distorting the market.
Meanwhile, I hope that
we can remember, voluntarily, to carry enough cloth bags when
shopping, instead of killing trees while banning the plastic bags we
should use to keep our garbage out of the sewer system.
The Board of Health has
decided to ask Marblehead voters to make this decision. It will be
an interesting debate at May Town Meeting between environmental
ideology and common sense.