My friend Doran Barton posted the following link on his Facebook page:
One of his friends, who is very obviously a liberal, made the following comment:
“Let’s move away from stupid, dirty energy resources that were first developed over 200 years ago before they’re completely exhausted.”
This is typical liberal groupthink. It’s like abandoning a ship on the off chance that it might sink at some time in the future. Where are the lifeboats? How are we going to survive the freezing water? Or, if you happen to be a Bill Cosby fan, “How long can you tread water?”
It got me thinking, though, about the state of the energy industry, and of the environmentalist movement. And it prompted me to write a little fable:
Imagine, for the sake of argument, a community of hard-working Americans living in a town out in the middle of nowhere. There is a local grocery store selling food at very good prices. Sure, they might not be the “prestige” brands, but they allow the community to stay happy and well-fed without taking too big a dent out of their paychecks.
For various reasons, there is a group of people who don’t want these community members to shop at this particular grocery store. The store shelves are kind of dusty, and the parking lot has some litter blowing around. They sell lots more generic and store brands than gourmet foods. It’s all kind of tacky, but the people shop there because it’s convenient and the prices are good.
There ARE stores that sell high-priced specialty foods but they’re all out of state, several hundred miles away, with sky-high prices. A few snobs from the community actually do buy their food at these stores — paying two, five or even ten times as much for their groceries as their neighbors do. The additional cost is worth it to them, though, because it allows these people to look down their noses on the people around them.
The elites and malcontents do everything they can think of to convince the residents of this community to shop at the expensive, far-distant gourmet establishments. They convince the government to give some of the residents free cab rides to the expensive shops, paid for by taxing the food in the cheap local store (which, of course, raises the prices for everyone). They jack up property taxes in the town to pay for expensive “research” and media campaigns to convince the townspeople not to shop at the local store. They force the government to subsidize the shelves and cash registers and payrolls of the gourmet out-of-town shops, and to pay for larger parking lots even though very few of the town’s citizens actually shop there. They warn people that the local store will quickly run out of food — in spite of plenty of evidence that groceries can be plentiful and cheap for generations and generations if the snobs will simply let people shop where they want.
All of this pressure actually has a very positive effect on the local grocery store. They dust their shelves more often and keep their parking lot clean. They do everything they can to keep their prices low, which of course makes the local people want to shop there even more.
If the snobs and elites were to put their efforts toward building a reasonable alternative to the neighborhood grocery store, they might find some success. If they could find ways to bring down the prices in the gourmet shops, or to build some stores closer to the community, they might make some in-roads. But they haven’t. Instead, they continue to put all of their energies into trying to shut down the local shop so that hardworking people will have no choice but to drive hundreds of miles to purchase the brands they prefer.
No matter how much the elites want to force their gourmet foods down the people’s throat, the people just want to eat. They don’t want to give up their hard-won standard of living and sure as hell don’t want to go hungry. Is that too much to ask?