State of Mankind

A New Way Of Thinking


It finally came!  About a week ago, I ordered the book ECO-Fads by Todd Myers and it came in the mail yesterday.  I was really interested in this book because Todd Myers is a huge environmentalist and a scientist who has worked for the State of Washington, collected data, and written this book to help people understand the actual harm caused by many eco-fads.  I’m 50 pages in, and can guarantee you’ll read a number of tidbits about it on this site.  For today, I’ll focus on one story he brings up:

Speaking to a group about environmental policy a few years ago, I highlighted the problems some “green” buildings were having in living up to their promised benefits.  Using data from a number of buildings, I was pointing to data outlining the large amounts of energy being used by buildings that environmental activists claimed would be more energy efficient than their predecessors.  I didn’t have to worry about putting my audience to sleep with columns of statistics.  The reaction to what appeared to be dry information ended up being electric.

Eventually the data was just too much for one person in the conference room where we were meeting.  Pounding his fists on the table, he said in a raised voice that what I was saying was simply “immoral.”  He had come to the meeting still wearing his bicycle helmet and riding shorts, telling the rest of the room that he was trying to live his values.  For him, questioning the validity of green building policies was about more than energy savings.  When I asked him if it was moral to promote policies that didn’t save energy, he simply said, “I’m not going to address that.”  Yet, that was the very issue at hand.  If the buildings did not save energy, then what environmental justification could there be for supporting them?

For my angry audience member, the green building policy was inextricablly intertwined with personal morality.  The scientific or economic validity of the policy was trumped by the direction it set for society, and standing up for green buildings was an important part of living his values.  Questioning the policy was not simply an issue of whether the math on the spreadsheet added up.  It wasn’t a question of the math at all.  It was a question of maintaining his sense of self-worth.  When I questioned a policy he supported, he heard an attack on his values and beliefs and responded in kind by questioning mine.  When policies are personal, questioning them becomes personal.  And eco-fads by their nature are intensely personal.  (ECO-Fads, Pages 35-36)

Running a blog that tends to question just about everything, I can appreciate his observation.  It is my experience that people tend to tie up their self-worth in many things they decide they are.  I am a Republican or I am a Democrat (or a rabid Libertarian for that matter) makes the policies of the party personal.  It is my experience that no one likes to have their world-view shattered, and I’m pretty good at doing that.  Having had my own world-view shattered a few years ago, I will now say that it was the best thing that could have happened, and I can’t withhold the experience from anyone else.  Once we get impersonal and just seek the truth, we can see past Eco-fads or party policies and come to understanding.  This will truly make us free to choose our own path and gain the results we desire!


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  1. The striking thing to me, tgouhh, is how fast the left has turned on [Obama]. Conservatives gave Bush five or six years before they really turned on him, and even then they revolted more against the Republican establishment than against Bush himself. But the left? It took about ten monthsThis may be endemic to the left but we got more or less what we expected from Bush. Obama’s coziness with Wall Street who have essentially taken our nation to the cleaners is the last thing anyone would have expected from Obama. So that is a much sharper slap in the face to many who have supported him.This is no reason to run around like Henny Penny shouting the sky is falling but the next act by our president will tell us for sure whether he is Obama as we’d expected or Obambi as others, including Krugman, predicted from the start. For most other than the hysterical left the jury is still out and there is still a desire to support the president. The next act will be, according to Austan Goolsby in the Obama administration, a push for regulation. Thus far there has only been mention of an oversight agency but many are skeptical and wonder whether it will be comprised of the likes of Bernanke, Geithner and Summers.Financial Times in asserts that without fundamental change we will continue a downward economic spiral by which the only known remedies of lax money and fiscal policies only teach the financial sector to take risks.When the Soviet Union fell apart, there were two competing views on what needed to be done: total change or tinkering. The establishment wanted tinkering it felt much less threatening. This elite believed that if they could just get the rules right, the system would work well. But they completely missed the larger point egregious loopholes in the rules were inherent to the system failing.Theres something intrinsic in human nature that makes us want to follow someone who will roll up his or her sleeves and fight. People line up behind such a person.While I don’t fit the stereotype of the hysterical progressive, I’m still looking for such a person. Will Obama be that person?


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