Wind Power, Offsets and the Valley of Ashes

This valley consists of waste land ranging for a long distance and spreading through a vast area. The author (F. Scott Fitzgerald) uses this place to symbolize the lives of the high class people who have no morals or ethics in life. They have no sense of social conscience about their personal lives.

(HT: Bookstove.com)

It was 16 July, 1562, and The Catholic Church gathered The Council of Trent to address the corruption that had soiled their good name through the sales of indulgences. The Council severely limited the practice and in 1567, Pope Pius V cancelled all grants of indulgence in return for pecuniary remuneration. It’s a shame that Albert Gore, Jr. never became a devout Catholic.

Since 1567, history has progressed rapidly backwards. In Maharashtra, India, 2007, a group of advasi tribesmen worked their traditional lands. Then the people arrived to buy that land and offered Yashwant Malche $4,000. They wanted the land to build windmills as an environmental offset for several large, European corporations who were seeking carbon nuetrality status.

Mr. Malche could not make the deal. Mr. Malche discovered that individual rights stand no prayer of being honored when Progressivism is at stake. Ben Arnoldy writes about what happened next.

“That’s the livelihood of my family, so I couldn’t possibly sell….” Mr. Malche says he told them. “When I refused to take the money, the people said the windmill will stand there no matter what.”

It did. The Dhule wind project brought the erection of about 550 windmills on land used by 2,000 adivasi. The tussle over the land resulted in a confrontation between stone-throwing tribesmen and truncheon-wielding police, bringing tear gas and arrests. Some 12,000 trees were cut to erect the turbines.

(HT: The Christian Science Monitor)

Blessed Gaea was served; the populous be damned! These windmills soothe the conscience of industrial nations attempting to provide their populations with all the latest in gadgetry and goods while avoiding the cost in negative externalities that this entails. Of course, this desire is the ultimate Fool’s Errand.

Industry will no longer pollute when complicated processes of chemistry can be executed under rigorously controlled conditions in the complete absence of both combustion and harmful leftover reagents. Welcome to the Shire, Bilbo Baggins lives a mile down on Bagshot Row.

Given the impossibility of their desires, the modern societies find ways to cheat their own standard. They sell indulgences the way Pope Urban pardoned an entire army of Crusaders for violating The Decalogue for years while at war. They call them carbon offsets. They claim this cancels out whatever evil pollution gets released in catering to the whims of many of the people complaining most stridently about the current state of the environment.

But these carbon offsets also have externalities. Externalities potentially sensitively dependent upon initial conditions. Externalities born of the hypocrisy of modern man and inflicted upon advasi of The Indian backwaters. Crammed down upon primitive, impoverished cultures unable to even comprehend, much less counter the convoluted dishonesty they bear the unjust brunt of.

In his novel The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald uses a vast garbage dump that he terms a Valley of Ashes to symbolize what he thought was becoming of the American Dream. Fitzgerald’s dump was outside New York, nearby where Tom Buchanan’s mistress Myrtle Wilson lived.

Like Jay Gatsby, Nick Caraway and the rest of the jolly revelers, the “progressive” set enjoys their luxuries and despises the hard-working factory men who make them. They revel in the lucre of Croesus, while they castigate the negative externalities implicit in its creation. They deny their petty venality by purchasing offsets and quite literally outsourcing this industrial misery to the undeveloped world. Here it wreaks devastation on the precarious lives of impoverished people; already living in despair.

All of this leads me to remember 9/11 even more than I thought of it on the actual 9-Year Anniversary. I try to put that day out of mind, like the way I try hard not to think about times in the past I’ve broken up with someone or had a close relative die. But those poor advasi are getting screwed so that some slick, hip, Euro-Meister can go home with clean hands and a clean conscience.

I despise the suggestion that somehow America’s Chickens Come Home to Roost when the worst befalls our country. However, if I were an advasi, and I were stripped of my land, and then found out later some martini-sipping Liberal King Richard purchased it for a carbon offset without bothering to check it out with me first….

Malcolm X’s exuberant “The Ballot or The Bullet” Speech pretty much sums up why I would hate us. Perhaps this at least partially explains how we came to have that giant valley of ashes, in the midst of our flagship city, where two glorious towers once proudly stood.