Published on: February 11, 2010
Okay, let me see if I can explain all this fairly quickly...
Earlier this week, one MNB user criticized me for the positive things I said about an Audi commercial on the Super Bowl:While I agree on your take regarding the commercials, the one showing the “green police” and Audi left me feeling different than you. It reminded me that our big and growing government has decided what kind of light bulb we have to buy (compact fluorescent), has told us what kind of car to drive (hybrid, SUV’s are evil), is telling us what kind of energy to use (wind & solar), what kind of healthcare we are going to have or at least trying to (government run “public option”), how much money people can make (limitations on CEO pay), and more. I realize that good humor is based on reality. The reality of the “green police” is too close to reality for me and I don’t find it funny.
Yesterday, we ran a long response to this email that essentially took the position that much of what was being stated as “fact” was in fact “B.S.” This correspondent said that the government hadn’t done anything to say what kind of light bulb we have to buy, what kind of car we have to drive, what kind of energy we have to use, how much money CEOs can make, or what kind of healthcare we have access to.
And I agreed with him.
I was wrong. So was he. At least in part.
I can’t possible run all the emails on this subject that I got yesterday...but let me at least give you a taste...
One MNB user wrote:I’m sure you’ll get plenty of responses on the “BS” rebuttal of your Audi commercial piece as the world we live in is way too polarized and both those responses to your original piece reek of political polarity. At any rate, I figured I’d give you a “non-partisan” fact to clear the air a bit as your “BS” rebuttal author was wrong on the CFL issue.
On 12/17/2007 President Bush signed an Energy Bill that effectively will lead to the end of the incandescent light bulb by 2014 in the USA. The first author was mad because the CFL was being mandated by the government, but it was signed into law by a Republican (“W”). The “BS” author was wrong that there isn’t any legislation to validate the first author’s accusations.
Another MNB user wrote:In respect to the BS detector email you had today ... I wish you had vetted HIS/HER email for HIS/HER BS. The writer went through a lot of time trying to make the other person sound incompetent when he/she should have done research before sending the email.
In fact Congress and President Bush have banned the incandescent light bulb beginning in 2012 and finalized by 2014. A simple search online can confirm this from 2007.
Also an argument can be made that people's health insurance may not be as good tomorrow as it is today. Simple economics tell you that some companies may drop their coverage and chose to pay the 8% "penalty" imposed by the government for not providing insurance. There are plenty of unethical companies that look for the lowest possible price and don't value their employees at all. Politicians know and understand this and it g! ives them a little more line into the lives of the citizens. I would argue a better solution can be found by both sides working together...although the chances of that are slim to none.
As to the other points I agree that some is BS or more appropriately named "propaganda" of which both parties are equally guilty. Much of this propaganda is full of half truths meant to scare people.
So in short your BS detector should have gone off with BOTH emails as BOTH are trying to push their "propaganda". As far as I am concerned the BS detector writer today is as lazy and politically motivated as Glenn Beck.
Another MNB user wrote:Not that I want to prolong the agony of this political argument from either side, but in reference to both of your readers' comments on the government banning incandescent light bulbs, this was accomplished in an energy bill which was passed by congress in late 2007 and subsequently signed into law by then President Bush. Among other things, it requires that incandescent light bulbs be phased out of the market by 2014.
Still another MNB user wrote:I have to comment on the reader that responded to comments made by another reader on the green police.
First on the light bulbs legislation has been passed that will outlaw the use of incandescent light bulbs by 2014. So he doesn't know what he's talking about.
On SUV's there has been legislation passed that ups the CAFE mileage requirements that will make it very difficult for manufacturers to meet these standards if they sell large SUV's that get lower mileage. This will end up limiting how many they will be able to sell and be able to meet the CAFE standards.
On wind & solar the Obama administration is spending huge sums of money on "research" to develop these alternative energy. Not forcing us to use these but taxing us to pay for this research. Also the administration is blocking any attempt to increase any domestic oil/gas drilling that would help us become less dependent on foreign supplies. It's happening in NY where I live by the environmental activists trying to prevent the drilling for natural gas in our state.
And finally on the health care reform efforts that are going on now. Obviously he hasn't read the bills. I have read many pages of them (not all) and have read many articles from different points of view and there are provisions in the these competing bills that will have an impact on everyone’s health care. From increasing costs and premiums, to over time taking away your ability to choose your own doctors.
So before you support someone who obviously has a political agenda you might want to do some research on what actually are the facts. Because this person doesn't know what he's talking about!
And, from another MNB user:I couldn’t help but comment on the whole “Audi Green Police and BS” thread.
But I’m just going to say one thing in defense of the person who wrote negatively about the “green police”. Join the growing crowd! I found that commercial very offensive. You can bet I’ll never buy an Audi.
Doesn’t anyone else think it was stupid to run an ad that runs the risk of alienating a segment of your customer base? This one should go down as one of the all time stupid commercials out there. Audi’s message got lost…if they had a message…
And the person who says they want “proof” of actual legislation and is all in favor of waiting until oppressive government rules are in place before we have the right to complain about baseless green initiatives? Well, if someone wasn’t vocal about it, they would be in place already! Can’t this person see that tax incentives are already in place and no one asked us to vote on specifics!
This person and anyone who thinks in a liberal progressive manner will inevitably join the crowd of people who waited too long to address the oppression of their government in a number of historic oligarchies and dictatorships. They will be doomed to repeat history because they assume government is good and is here to take care of us. That’s the REAL BS buried in this thread. The most extreme being Nazi Germany under Hitler. To fix that problem after “the rules were in place” cost the entire world millions of lives and global hardship of every kind on all levels. We NEVER want to forget that!
Why don’t people see that you can’t wait for oppression to happen if you see it coming?
Or be complacent about minor oppressions initiated by a bunch of thugs who happen to be in political or economic power?
You have to fight every day to maintain your freedoms or they will erode away a little at a time. You will see “the green police” become reality if you sit around laughing about it instead of addressing the underlying problems with government.
Y’know, what really tears it for me is when people start throwing around phrases that imply that the government’s efforts to promote greater energy efficiency will start us down the road to being like Nazi Germany.
Which just strikes me as so much crap.
Where the original “B.S.” email went wrong, and where I went wrong in agreeing with him, was in the comment about the government deciding what kind of light bulbs we can buy. It is true that the Bush administration signed into law rules that will phase out the use of incandescent bulbs.
I guess where I would disagree with many of the outraged people who wrote in is in the belief that all government is bad, which seems to be at the heart of many of their arguments.
I fervently believe that government often goes too far and gets too involved in our lives. I much prefer living in a world where people and companies would behave in a socially, environmentally, financially and culturally responsible way. (Recognizing, of course, that there can be considerable and reasonable debate about what “responsible” means in this context.)
But I also think that sometimes government needs to show the way...or at least create an environment in which people are provided with incentives to show the way, or at least not discouraged from doing so.
The incandescent bulb may go away, but government isn’t telling us what we have to buy. in fact, it seems to me a reasonable bet that there are a lot of people and companies trying right now to develop new alternatives that will 1) give more light and 2) use less energy, and be ready for sale by 2014. Is this a bad thing? I have trouble seeing how this is so.
I know this will ignite further debate, but it strikes me as a reasonable statement that oil is a finite resource. We can argue about when it will run out, but it is, by its veery nature, finite. So if government believes that we can use less oil if companies create more efficient cars, this strikes me as a good thing. And I’m sure that while what we currently think of as SUVs may go away, something else, something new, something even better will be invented. (There was a time before the SUV, after all.) Is this a bad thing? I have trouble seeing so.
I would be among those who would argue that the entire debate about health care and insurance reform has been completely dysfunctional. But that doesn’t mean that government shouldn’t address it. (It may mean, however, that government is incapable of addressing it. Which is a different problem.)
It seems to me that there should be a reasonable debate about how much money CEOs should make when CEOs run companies that had to be bailed out by the federal government
. Now, I know that this is a highly complicated and charged issue... But as a taxpayer, I at least think that companies that needed my money to survive perhaps ought to be held to a different standard than those that did not. That said, encouraging free enterprise and innovation ought to be the highest priority...and we need to find a reasonable balance.
I could go on and on. But the one thing I am going to try not to do is demonize either side, or be an ideologue. Sometimes I slip, but I am going to try.
But it seems clear to me that not just the words, but the tenor of this discussion, demonstrate why all
of the institutions charged with governing seem to be so dysfunctional.
One other thought, if I may.
I wonder how many assiduously anti-government people in Washington, DC, have been complaining over the past week because there haven’t been enough snow plows to deal with the series of snowstorms that have ravaged the area.
Because we at least ought to agree that government ought to be good at shoveling snow. Instead, lately, it seems that it is much better at shoveling something else.
Speaking of snow, Michael Sansolo had a piece earlier this week about the importance of being prepared...and using his failure to keep his snow blower working as a metaphor. Which led one MNB user to write:I appreciated Michael’s admittance of failure to perform maintenance on his snow blower. Perhaps, if others had heeded this advice, things might be a bit better for his family.
I received the following communication from my close friend over the weekend….
My dad was working in their driveway Saturday (2/6) afternoon trying to dig out from the snowfall. The area where my parents reside received between 18" - 24" of snow. He had been working for a few hours when he came back in the house feeling a bit sick. My mom noticed he was pale and had him sit down to rest. A few moments later my dad was non-responsive. Mom called 911 and paramedics were on the scene with minutes. Unfortunately, they were unable to resuscitate and he passed away before arriving at the hospital.
This is a sad story that happens all too many times in the snowy conditions of the north (It is one reason I choose to live in the South). I am deeply saddened by the weekend’s event and want others to remember that physical exertion in the cold environment can have consequences. Fortunately, for Michael, it was just sore muscles and little dose of humility.
On another subject, an MNB user wrote:Just wanted to say thanks for your recent RIP on Robert B. Parker. I had not heard of him before reading your piece, and was so intrigued I am now listening to the entire Spenser series (now on book 3 – Mortal Stakes). What a great character and incredible writing style.
True. His next book, “Split Image,” is out in just about 10 days. I can’t wait, even if it is with a certain sadness that we’re coming to the end of a great run.