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Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Story About Cap and Trade

Photo by Gecko

Our story begins with an ambitious lawyer from California who became a successful politician in Washington. He was the sort of man who believed fervently (or at least said he did) in the ideas of a certain early 19th century English economist, who taught that human population growth would eventually outstrip the world of its resources and destroy the planet.

I suppose it is with this economist that our story really begins. His solution to the alleged problem of human overpopulation included "positive checks" which raise the death rate, and "negative checks" which lower the birth rate of the human population. He would be a great influence on the mind of a young English naturalist- who taught that those unfit to survive, will naturally perish.

The ideas of both the economist and the naturalist spread like a fire throughout England, Europe, and the world- particularly charming and captivating the minds of the elite and "forward-thinking" -those who fancied themselves to be the vanguard of the intelligentsia. Their writings and activities, coupled with the interests of the aristocratic power-brokers who thirsted for ever more power, thrust the world into the scourge of war, pestilence and famine- "positive checks" on the fecundity of we the peasants.

This is why no century in human history compares to the 20th for wars fought, blood shed, and famines endured. And standing atop the new order, his mouth twisted into a blasphemous smile as he fancied the world and its people his footstool, was the new kind of man whose arrival a 19th century German philosopher had prophesied. He was a post-modern, post-moral, even post-human kind of man. His name was Legion, for he was many.

Now enters our lawyer from California who became a successful politician in Washington. He believed in the new ideas and the new narrative. He was impressed by their slogans and rhetoric, or at least by the power their rhetoric could conjure. Man was outstripping the world of its resources he said. Man was turning the planet into a ruin he said. Something had to be done about it he said! Something had to be done about Man and right away!

In closed-door meetings and back rooms, out of the way of questioning eyes, off the camera and off the record, they made deals and offered bribes. They put together a bear of a bill that no one would read and no one would understand. And amid all those glittering prizes and endless compromises, enough votes were garnered in Washington to pass that bill. Then a young President from Chicago who promised to change Washington's underhanded ways, signed the malicious bill, which had been passed in a most underhanded and quite secretive way.

Suddenly things began to change. The price of energy soared because of the new requirements and taxes in the bill. Winter hit the United States particularly hard that year. Despite the never-ending claims of global warming, atmospheric temperatures had been cooling for a decade by then. Poor families in the Northern states had their power turned off because they couldn't afford the extravagant bill. Some huddled for warmth in churches, and shelters, and with friends. Others froze to death, especially the elderly.

As Winter came to a close, America learned the true meaning of a Silent Spring. Thousands had died, businesses closed, there were fewer cars on the road, and the recession had deepened into a full-blown Depression. Farmers that couldn't afford the energy it required to till, plant, harvest, store, and ship their produce went out of business, shrinking the food supply and driving up grocery prices. The farmers that stayed in business had to raise their prices, making groceries yet more expensive. The middle class became poor. The poor became desperately poor. The desperately poor starved to death.

Whether or not wealth trickles down, we can be sure that costs trickle down. They trickled down and drowned the people at the bottom. When Summer came, the people of the Southern states who couldn't afford air conditioning languished in the sweltering heat. Crime rates skyrocketed. Some of the crimes were fueled by desperation and need. Many of them were senseless. By then the U.S. Attorney General had convinced Congress to tighten Federal gun laws. People couldn't keep the heat or the crime out of their homes.

The news media avoided extensive coverage of the deaths to heat and cold. They swamped the public with reports of H1N1 "swine flu" outbreaks. They plastered images everywhere of a celebrity who had recently been the subject of a scandal. They covered the allegedly sharp rise in mosquito bites and poison ivy reactions, attributing them to global warming. When they did mention crime rates, they called for stricter gun laws, and when they mentioned starvation, they called for higher taxes on the middle and upper classes to expand government welfare programs.

All the while, the lawyer-turned-politician from California had plenty of heat and air-conditioning to get through the seasons, plenty to eat, and plenty of light to live by at night when the Sun had set. The young President from Chicago- who hated cold- kept his thermostat turned up as he ate lavish meals in the White House. Our two scholars, the English economist and the English naturalist rested easy in their graves while America's living poor despaired. Their intellectual heirs in the universities preached the absurdity of life and the relativity of truth and morality.

"Everyone must be willing to make sacrifices in these difficult times." "As I see it- the poor suffer because the greedy haven't given enough to them! It's these rich businessmen hoarding their wealth who are responsible." "Starvation isn't pretty, but the world is far too overpopulated. Serves them right for bringing more children into the world." "It's not this administration's fault that it inherited a bad economy and a steep deficit. We must keep spending your money on our stimulus programs if you are to ever become affluent and prosperous again."

Dear readers, the greater part of this story which you have read has already come to pass. Though some of it remains in the future and is yet to be determined. All the characters in it are real, particular people- and their role in the world's chaos and misery is inestimable. It is up to you to avert the coming disaster by rewriting the ending to this story. I have considered supplying an alternate and much happier ending, but have decided to leave it up to you to write that ending for yourself, to inscribe it in your very actions and to make it a living history for us.

Please share this story far and wide. E-mail it. Blog it. Link to it. Twitter it. My only request is that you attribute W. E. Messamore, who blogs daily at Only by understanding our past and being cognizant of our present can we take hold of our future. We must make our stand now before the lights go out on the American dream for good.

Call both your Senators right away and demand that they vote "No" when HR2454 goes to the Senate. Tell them that you will not vote for any politician that votes for the Cap and Trade bill. Follow through in 2010. Thanks for listening to my story and for taking action to rewrite history.

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  1. Great piece man, if you read my 3 posts from friday to today you will notice that this thing passed without hardly a mention from the media. Unbelievable. We are becoming a 3rd world nation. It is shocking.

  2. BTW, Boehner sounded like a real REPUBLICAN, where have they been these past 8 years or so? So frustrating.

  3. I know! The media's been more interested in Michael Jackon's passing (which is admittedly sad for us all, but not as sad as Cap and Trade!) than one of the most dramatic pieces of legislation in American history.

    And I was really proud of Boehner too. If Republicans could act that way when they're in power, we'd be all set!

  4. Thank you for the photo plug w.e. :)

  5. Hear Hear! Great post, W.E. it's amazing how some of the most horrific things get buried under "bigger" news, like celebrity deaths. Unfortunately, even if there were no other news, most people couldn't care less about this. It's too abstract, they can't see that the costs of this will come out of OUR pockets.

  6. @gecko Thanks for the photo, P! As you know, I love your work and I love to use it when I can.

    @Gary I certainly appreciate it and agree with your sentiments. I hoped to correct the apathy you refer to as I was writing this little narrative.

    Maybe if people understood the story that puts together all the abstract facts in a meaningful way, then they'll see why this is truly a crisis.

  7. I just found out about this website and I'm thrilled with the content that I've read so far. This is a great piece, and I've shared it with several others. Keep it up


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