Poyser: On Ayn Rand and global warming


I get press releases from the Ayn Rand Center ( I dunno why. I get a lot of crap in ye olde email inbox. Mind you I don't always disagree with the individualistic, DIY mentality of the Ayn Rand-ers, but when they start waxing idiotic about global warming, it makes my blood boil...

Today, for example, I get the following communication, entitled: "Pain of Recession Foretells Agony of Green Economy."

Here's a sample quote from the article (and I've bolded the pertinent partsblog-):

"This recession, with all its grim news of job loss and economic hardship, should be seen as a cautionary tale against coercive energy and climate policies," said Keith Lockitch, fellow of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. ? ?"Energy is the motive power that fuels production and trade. When economic activity slows, so does energy demand. But it goes the other way too. Imposing restrictions on the use of energy--as would occur under a system of carbon regulation--would choke off the economy's fuel and shut down productive activity. The economic pain we're all feeling in this recession is nothing compared to the pain we would feel if we adopt green policies that cut off fossil fuel consumption."

Lockitch goes on to say: "Whatever you think about global warming--and there is ample evidence to reject the hysterical claim that we are facing any sort of planetary emergency--the reality is that a drastic reduction in carbon emissions means a reduction in the use of energy far greater than anything we are seeing right now, and the corresponding economic decline would make this recession seem like a party."

So it makes me wonder, what PhD did this guy get that he doesn't realize WE ARE FACING A PLANETARY EMERGENCY? Maybe he got himself a PhD in Denial. Of course this the same guy who said in an earlier email: "Everything we do to sustain our lives has an impact on nature. Every value we create to advance our well-being is produced by extracting raw materials and reshaping them to serve our needs. Every good thing in our lives comes from altering nature for our own benefit."

Yeah. That's worked out purdy good, hasn't it, Doctor?

It occurs to me these articles sound like they were written during Rand's more productive years (she died in 1982). You know, back when cigarettes were good for you. And as the Arctic melts and sends the temperature rising, as methane is released from the permafrost, as ocean acidification removes links from the food chain, as deadzones proliferate, as glaciers melt, as invasive species gobble up pine forests, and as all this happens at the same time, accelerating each separate phenomenon, resulting in a hellishly fast environmental collapse, what will happen to these romantic belief systems of rational self-interest and individualism?

Welcome to the monkeyhouse perhaps?

Because there will likely be nothing more rational and self-interested and individual than removing oneself from the equation altogether. I noticed a story the other day where the number of people who committed suicide in national parks is on the rise. Perhaps a trend? As Lockitch himself says: "The only way to leave no '[environmental] footprint' would be to die."


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