TAG | Environment
The Art of Manliness Blog just posted a fantastic list of ten reasons why manliness should not stand in the way of “going green.” This article hits home for me because I know a number of males who tend to shy away from eco-friendly activities because they do not believe the activities are ”manly.” My favorite quote from the article:
Teddy Roosevelt fought with the Rough Riders and went on to lead the fight to conserve American lands. You can roll up your sleeves, talk tough and even clear some brush, but a real man does not react to important information by burying his head in the sand or excuse himself from rational inquiry and action with simplistic beliefs and cliche one-liners. Forget the faux cowboy schtick. Being a man isn’t about driving a truck and tearing into a bloody pork chop. If you really want to cowboy up, take the issues of your day seriously and do something about them.
Bloomberg.com reports that while economists have overwhelmingly ridiculed the idea of suspending the gas tax over the summer, Hillary Clinton has continued to stick to her guns. Clinton, after hearing that the economists thought the idea was ridiculous, stated:
I’m not going to put my lot in with economists
Ya know, it’s perfectly fine to say that you’re not going to listen to a consensus of football players giving you advice on filling out your taxes. Or a large group of lawyers giving you advice on how to paint your house. But generally, if you’re untrained in a subject, and practically an entire professional field gives you advice on the subject they specialize in, you should probably listen. And if you’re not going to listen, you’d better have a darned good explanation beyond “I know where you’re coming from, small folk,” for why you’re deviating from trained professionals. So Hillary (and Mr. McCain): if it makes sense to suspend gas taxes, please come forward and explain why rather than giving the same old pandering political speeches about how you’re trying to help “the little guy.” Call me an elitist, but I would rather that economic decisions follow the advice of trained professionals than “the little guy,” who hasn’t learned a thing about economics in his entire life.
But this isn’t even about elitists versus “the common folk.” This is about whether we want to help the country or hurt it. If I had a choice between having a mechanic fix my car or a random neighbor, why the heck would I pick the neighbor? And if I have a choice between having Hillary Clinton or John McCain making economic policy based on hunches or someone who is going to defer to a trained professional, I’m surely going to pick the person who defers to the trained professional.
This proposal to suspend the gas tax sickens me. This is why I hate politics so much.
Please note that this is not an endorsement of Barack Obama. He’s got plenty of problems, too, the gas tax is just an area where he pseudo-shines.
Update 5/6/2008: Greg Mankiw writes:
Why, then, are candidates proposing the holiday? I can think of three hypotheses:
Ignorance: They don’t know that the consensus of experts is opposed.
Hubris: They know the experts are opposed, but they think they know better.
Mendacity with a dash of condescension: They know the experts are opposed, and they secretly agree, but they think they can win some votes by pulling the wool over the eyes of an ill-informed electorate.
So which of these three hypotheses is right? I don’t know, but whichever it is, it says a lot about the character of the candidates.
Update 5/7/2008: From The Wall Street Journal
John McCain and Hillary Clinton want to send cash-strapped consumers on holidays from the federal gasoline tax. But the law they can’t rewrite — the law of supply and demand — suggests it would backfire. Lower taxes would encourage people to drive more, meaning more demand that would push prices higher again.
Happy end of Earth Day, everybody. Speaking of exciting Earth Day news, I just read that in 2009, an all-electric vehicle will be sold in the United States:
A Norwegian automaker backed by Silicon Valley investors plans to sell in the United States an electric car that goes 110 miles without a charge and costs less than $25,000.
Downsides? It only goes 65 miles per hour and only has two seats. But hey, if you’re commuting to and from a city all the time, this is a sweet ride. I’ll have to do some more research when I get a chance to find out more… looks neat!