Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Arianna Huffington has become a spokeswoman for the watermelon movement. Like a watermelon that is green on the outside and red on the inside, Mrs. Huffington’s recent attack on the manufacture and use of large SUVs has adopted the “green” rhetoric of environmentalism along with the philosophy of coercive utopianism that is the hallmark of “red” socialism.
Mrs. Huffington is the author of anti-SUV television ads that attempt to paint SUV owners as aiders and abettors of the September 11 terrorists.
Mrs. Huffington claims that those who drive SUVs are aiding terrorists because SUVs use more oil-based fuel and oil money inevitably ends up in the hands of international terrorists. This is an insult to every American family in Texas, Oklahoma, Alaska, and other oil-producing states. Terrorists? Hardly.
Based on this dramatic leap in logic, Mrs. Huffington wants to use the government to force everyone else to follow her own personal views on such matters. If we all behaved like Mrs. Huffington and her Hollywood pals, the world would be so much better.
I, for one, believe that the coercive power of government should not be used to force others to follow my personal views. Use of that power should be reserved for actions that harm others or violate the basic moral laws of God.
But let’s give Mrs. Huffington’s theory a few moments of consideration.
First, as a coercive utopian it is required that the spokesman demonstrate personal consistency. She feels good on this score since she traded in her own large SUV for a more fuel-efficient car. But this is rank hypocrisy on her part. Why? She traded the SUV. This means someone else is going to be driving her old SUV. Mrs. Huffington has no basis for feeling good about herself unless she did the honorable thing and took that SUV to a recycling center so that the metal and other parts could be fashioned into something she could still use with moral dignity.
Perhaps the recycled SUV metal could be made into a limousine. I will wager anything that a media hound like Mrs. Huffington (as well as her Hollywood buddies) occasionally rides in a limo-probably a stretch limo from time to time. Talk about fuel inefficiency.
The next step for Mrs. Huffington is to give up that first-class airplane seat. There could be three seats in the row instead of just two. Also more coach rows could fit in the space now devoted to first class seats. Doesn’t Mrs. Huffington know that terrorists are aided with such fuel inefficiency?
It may be obvious by now that I own an SUV. Wrong. I own two. Large ones. Two Yukon XLs. Best car I have ever driven. Nice and roomy. Although they are a little small when we drive all seven of our children (we have 10 but three are married) at one time.
If Mrs. Huffington wants to force me to follow her personal choices-how would she and her Tinseltown friends like to be forced to follow those my family has made?
First, Mrs. Huffington should stop going to work. My wife stays home with our children. Arianna should stay home too. Stay out of the studios. Stay out of the editorial offices. Fuel is wasted with every trip. My wife’s Yukon XL is 6 months old and has less than 3,000 miles on it. I dare Mrs. Huffington to match my wife in terms of total amount of gasoline used in the last six months.
Then Mrs. Huffington and her pals could take up the cause of home schooling. If everyone home schooled, like my family does, just think of all the fuel that would be saved by keeping those truly huge yellow SUVs (school-utility vehicles) off the roads every morning and afternoon.
How about vacation? Where does Mrs. Huffington go? If she would stay in the United States preferably in California she would save the fuel that is required to fly her and the rest of the jet set to Europe or wherever they like to go.
Shopping? The more often she goes shopping and the more stores she visits, the more fuel Mrs. Huffington uses. Mrs. Huffington, I have a shopping tip for you. Go to Wal-Mart. You can buy your clothes there and practically everything you need for your daily life. You could even buy hair coloring products and perms at Wal-Mart to do your own hair and stop driving to the beauty salon. Every time you get your hair done you have put more money in the hands of international terror. Getting a manicure? Out of the question. Wasted fuel for both you and the manicurist.
Mrs. Huffington could clean her own house. It is a fair guess that maids have to drive to her house. Perhaps gardeners as well. More fuel wasted. More terror supported.
Mrs. Huffington, listen. If you want a smaller car, fine. Have at it. But I dare you to prove that your life is more fuel efficient overall than countless families who drive SUVs.
Just leave us alone. We resent your coercion and want no part in your utopia.

Michael P. Farris is the president of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Va.

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