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Liberal_Jihad_Cover.jpg Forward USA

Monday, January 10, 2005

Global Warming?  Don’t Short your Oil Stocks Just Yet.

Expensive and dangerous junk science captivates the liberal-socialists.

My recent posting, The Kyoto Protocol: an Economic Free Rider Problem, described the political and economic objectives of the pseudo-science of environmentalism.

Tom DeWeese’s There is NO Man-Made Global Warming on presents the facts.  The global warming scare is at best unproved and probably a phony issue.  Environmentalism has become a sort of modern-day pagan cult.

To introduce students to this cult public schools have abandoned real subjects like geology and geography and substituted something called earth sciences.  What is being poured into young minds by intellectual state-planners and professional educators is described by John Tierney, one of the few sane voices on the New York Times reporting staff.  The analytical piece below appeared when Mr. Tierney was still writing his insightful columns about New York City’s political follies.  Happily from the standpoint of his career, but sadly from my personal viewpoint, he was transferred to the Times’s Washington bureau to cover national stories.

April 20, 2001

The Big City: Turning Tykes Into Zealots for Recycling


IN honor of Earth Day, our text is “RRR You Ready?” the new waste-reduction manual, weighing five pounds and prepared at a cost of $2 million, that has been distributed to public schools by the New York City Department of Sanitation. For safety purposes, let’s begin with Chapter 4, “How I can be a TrashMaster!”

This chapter instructs students who have learned the modern three R’s ? reduce, reuse, recycle ? to “share” their knowledge with their families. That means getting their families to follow dozens of rules, including this one: “Return wire hangers and plastic bags to the dry cleaners.”

Before your family sets up a new bin for dry cleaners’ bags, you might consider advice from another source, the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Never leave plastic bags lying around the house,” the academy’s child-care manual warns. “Bags from the dry cleaner are particularly dangerous. Knot them before you throw them away so that it’s impossible for your child to crawl into them or pull them over her head.”

Perhaps a truly dedicated RRRer could carefully knot each bag, store it out of the reach of children and then unknot it for the dry cleaner. But why take any risk to save a few pennies’ worth of plastic? Why waste so much time and effort to save a bag that may well be useless by the time it gets back to the dry cleaner?

You could raise similar cost-benefit objections to just about every other “waste reducing” tip in the manual, and you could end up agreeing with the wayward student who appears in an accompanying video. “Recycling is just another evil plan by grown-ups to keep kids from having fun,” he complains. “What’s wrong with a little garbage?”

But you, like that unenlightened student, would be missing the point of the curriculum. It’s not intended to teach children about economic tradeoffs. Its purpose is to inculcate a system of beliefs and values.

To Catholics who grew up on questions in the Baltimore Catechism like “Who is God?” or “Did Adam and Eve obey the commandment of God?” the questions in the RRR manual have a familiar feel. “What is waste?” “Why do we need to think about our waste?” “Why do we waste so much?”

These are not questions meant to be debated. Our wastefulness is a given, just like Adam and Eve’s original sin. “In previous generations, people lived by the adage of `waste not, want not.’ They were careful to buy only what they needed, and reused whatever they could,” the manual explains. But now we have eaten from the apple, and it’s wrapped in plastic. “Every time we throw something away,” the manual laments, “we are throwing out a lot.”

The manual does mention in passing that recycling is expensive, but it doesn’t bother noting that it’s more expensive than burying trash. And it certainly doesn’t point out how much money (more than $500 million) New Yorkers could have saved over the last decade if there had been no recycling program.

No, the manual instead preaches reverence for handling waste. Students who can’t pass reading or mathematics tests are urged to spend classroom time building a museum of garbage, then go home and determine the weight of their family’s trash, all the while hectoring their parents to avoid “overpackaged” takeout food in plastic containers.

Saving plastic is a new spiritual quest, but past societies have just as passionately revered natural resources and reviled human pollution. The Druids worshiped trees and sacrificed people. Saving dry cleaners’ bags seems tame by comparison.

BUT not everyone today shares these values or wants to see $2 million in public money spent on a manual to promote those values in public schools. I don’t want my child to be a TrashMaster who weighs garbage and feels guilty for polluting the planet when he writes on only one side of a piece of paper.

I respect the neo-Druids’ beliefs, but why should these beliefs be taught in public schools? Robert Lange, the director of the Department of Sanitation’s recycling program, answered by pointing to the widespread support for recycling. “It is a value judgment,” he said, “but it’s advocated by a large part of the population, including the City Council.”

True enough, but a majority of the population also believes in Christian dogma, and that doesn’t justify preaching it in public schools. New York intellectuals like to mock Kansans who insist on teaching creationism, but at least creationism is presented as an alternative to Darwinism. In our schools, recycling is the one true faith.

Posted by Thomas E. Brewton on 01/10 at 12:11 AM
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