Whatever “green jobs” are, it’s very clear America doesn’t want them. President Obama has been pushing a proposal that would spend more than $1 million for each permanent green job created in a solar-power boondoggle. Billions were placed at the disposal of avowed communist Van Jones to create these sparkling emeralds of environmentally sensitive employment even though no one in the administration can explain what they are.
If Americans wanted green jobs and industries, they would pay for them. There’s some interest in such things, of course. You’ll probably see a Prius or two on your drive home today. It’s great when people choose to make such purchases of their own free will based on valid information.
Of course, that’s not how the “green economy” works. Consumer decisions are driven by false information, batted into their faces with rotting hockey sticks by con artists and fanatics. Most of the decisions aren’t made by consumers at all. The government created the green economy through propaganda, regulations and subsidies. Many on the left, including the president, have openly stated their desire to push gas prices higher so Americans will behave according to the designs of the environmentalist movement.
Does this mean Americans are completely uninterested in eco-friendly technology or alternative fuels? Not at all. Most of us would dearly love to have cold-fusion cars or cheap solar electricity. However, we are not willing to compromise our standard of living to have them right now, when they’re not adequate substitutes for fossil fuels. The more extreme manifestations of environmentalist fanaticism, beginning with the devastating “cap-and-trade” bill, will begin pushing us back into a pre-industrial economy.
We don’t want the higher prices and reduced standard of living that would accompany this transformation, especially when we know we’ve got untapped oil resources such as the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve declared off-limits by religious edict from the Church of Gaia in defiance of logic. Our national consensus is to wait until these alternative energy technologies reach maturity and deliver acceptable performance at reasonable prices. Competition will then transition us smoothly to alternative energy.
A correspondent who works with solar technology puts it this way:
“Solar power is something I firmly believe in. It’s not a daydream, but it is a dream. Solar power has been around for over 100 years, but as an industry, it is still in its infancy. We can’t replace conventional power generation and probably won’t be able to for another century if even then.
“The problem with Obama’s approach is that it’s some sort of bastardization of supply-side economics. He is directly subsidizing manufacturers. So what we end up with is a huge solar array out in the desert, and lalala, it won’t really do much (but will make some Spanish corporation a tidy sum). This is still America (so far anyway) and to be successful, first you find or create demand for a product.”
This is all very reasonable, and perfectly in tune with the desires of most Americans - but government is a coercive force, so what we want doesn’t matter. Massive resources are seized from the free market and forced into a green economy full of pretend jobs and projects that have more in common with black holes than yellow suns. The animating principle of radical environmentalism is that freedom is dangerous and cannot be allowed because the survival of the planet is at stake. This is what makes it such a perfect fit as the state religion of a socialist elite. Its sacrament is antimatter to libertarian capitalism: righteous tyranny. One of the scientist-priests of this religion, James Lovelock, went so far as to suggest “it may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while” because “the inertia of humans is so huge that you can’t really do anything meaningful.”
As you can see from those million-dollar green jobs, the pursuit of righteous tyranny is hideously expensive. That’s because it shifts control of our society to a lesser intelligence.
What do I mean by this? Consider the purchasing and investment decisions of our 300 million citizens as a widely dispersed intelligence of tremendous complexity. Resources are allocated through a vast number of individual decisions, made with impressive speed. Each citizen becomes one element of a mighty network. It is capable of intuition, as sophisticated communications enable consumers to react to trends and opportunities in a cascade of e-mail, website postings, phone calls and casual conversation. It is creative because it’s not restrained by ideology or central directives. People adopt new technologies with astounding speed. With apologies to Alvin Toffler, the only “future shock” nowadays is felt by manufacturers, as the best high-tech products go from the expensive indulgences of trendy nerds to household items in a matter of months.
Obama-style command economics are a far more primitive form of intelligence. They are directed by small groups of people wearing ideological blinders. Politically unacceptable alternatives are ruled nonexistent. Command economies move with glacial speed, receiving corrective input only once every couple of years at the ballot box. They are wasteful, as vast resources are allocated to pay off valuable constituencies or absorbed by a useless political class through graft.
When the government uses taxes, regulations and subsidies to force the free market where it doesn’t want to go, wealth and value disappear into the gulf between the choices made by citizens and the state compulsion that destroys them. This is the Void of Desire, filled with the dust of shriveled possibilities. It grows larger and more expensive as coercion meets the law of diminishing returns, using increasingly ridiculous spending - and harsh penalties - to impose its mandates on a resentful, or fearful, populace.
You can see thousands of jobs and billions in market value vanishing into the void between our desires and Mr. Obama’s failed ideology. Soon the cost will become so unbearable that he and his accomplices will be swept out of office, and we can adopt a sane energy policy that leaves us wealth enough to create those alternative technologies of the future - which inevitably will grow from expensive boondoggles into priceless treasures, given enough time.
Or else we will find out if America is willing to submit to Mr. Lovelock’s philosophy. The Void of Desire will either be sealed … or it will become all-consuming.
John Hayward blogs at DocZero.org.