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Feeling virtuous?

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Twenty-six years ago, Economist and social commentator Thomas Sowell published The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy, in which he discusses "the vision prevailing among the intellectual and political elite of our time ... , a prevailing vision—which means that its assumptions are so much taken for granted by so many ... thinking people ... that neither those assumptions nor their corollaries are generally confronted with demands for empirical evidence, [which] itself may be viewed as suspect insofar as it is inconsistent with that vision."

Think for a moment about the hubris of leftists running the country (California for a generation) and its impact upon ordinary people and the future it portends. Leftists envision a "great big beautiful tomorrow," to steal a line from a ride taken at the 1964 World's Fair. The reality for most Americans, should the vision of the left be enacted, is very dark in a future impoverished America.

Of course the elite will be little affected, as they never are, with separate sets of rules for living: They fly charter jets to Earth conferences, and we don't fly at all. If current economic trends continue with California leading the way, the very wealthy will live in gated enclaves, guarded by a security class, with a host of servants in support, and a large group at the bottom of the economic scale. Somebody, after all, has to mow the lawns, wash dishes, and perform myriad tasks beneath those gifted with "anointed status."

Our political discourse today, deeply divided between the "woke/anointed" and us pickup-truck-driving plebes is best exemplified by the editorial pages of most publications dominated by the left, which almost never admits error. Sowell described the divide, asserting that the leftist "vision of themselves and their moral role in the world. Problems exist because others are not as wise or as virtuous as the anointed."

The moral crusades championed by the self-appointed anointed hold elements in common:

"Assertions of a great danger to society (with the masses oblivious)."

"An urgent need for action to avert catastrophe."

"A need for government to drastically curtail the dangerous behavior of the many."

"A disdainful dismissal of arguments to the contrary as either uninformed, irresponsible or motivated by unworthy purposes."

One need look no further than the alarmist climate crusade, which dominates nearly all economic policy, regardless of some empirical evidence that underlying assumptions about climate change aren't necessarily supported and totally ignores unintended consequences of bad policy.

For instance, Biden's war on fossil fuels, pipelines, and disfavored industries overnight cost thousands of union pay-scale jobs, caused significant increases in gas prices (which hurts those least able to afford it), undermines national security, and aids our enemies. Biden encouraged Russia and Saudi Arabia to pump more oil even though oil sales are the mainstay of Putin's economy, enabling a greater Russian military buildup. We're deeply enmeshed in Middle Eastern politics and military expeditions due to past dependence upon oil imports, primarily from the Saudis who now supply a substantial portion of California's oil. California sits on an ocean of oil, which is not to be drilled/refine; major refineries are shuttered; and we pay nearly 50 percent more for gas than the rest of the country. Under Trump, America was briefly energy independent for the first time in a generation. Biden's policies ended it.

The anointed have mandated we transition to "renewables," end fossil fuel use in cars by 2035, go all-electric. It matters not that electrical generation to power 10 million electric cars doesn't exist in California nor will it by 2035. Democrats forced the dismantling of four hydroelectric power dams in Oregon\California along with numerous natural-gas-fired plants with no replacement. Where will the electricity come from? Why not encourage shifting to hybrid vehicles instead of forcing mass conversion to all-electric cars based upon an arbitrary political date? Crickets are chirping.

Solar/wind renewables are subsidized even though every component of both involves prodigious use of fossil fuels in production and operation, not to mention required base load backup power. Wind turbine blades can't be recycled, and the batteries used in electric vehicles require massive movement of rare earth ore in China and the Congo, not exactly human-rights/environmentally conscious regimes. Wind and solar pose their own problems. Wind turbine blades use polyester and vinyl ester resins derived from petrochemicals such as ethylene, fabricated in two halves, bonded using more than 900 pounds of epoxy or modified acrylic adhesive made from propylene. Solar panels use silicon layers in the panels often made from copolymer ethylene-vinyl acetate (according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency).

China infamously uses massive slave labor in its concentration camps to mine rare earth metals used in electric car batteries; the Congo uses child labor on a massive scale with many children subjected to an early death or crippling disease and injuries, just so the anointed can tell themselves, "I'm a good person" when they look in the mirror in the morning. I think not. Δ

Al Fonzi had a 35-year military career, serving in both the Vietnam and Iraq wars. Respond with a letter to the editor emailed toletters@newtimesslo.com.

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