This past weekend, many cities saw demonstrations demanding corporations—or the government, or somebody—do more to stem greenhouse emissions that are causing global warming. The weekend was unusually warm, adding to their urgency. At the end of the day, many of the demonstrators looked overheated and longing to get back to their air-conditioned hotels. Today, our local paper had a letter to the editor from a Delawarean who traveled to New York City to join the protest. He did not mention walking there and back.
My own views on global warming were posted on May 26, 2014: that the effect is real and will have catastrophic consequences, but no society could tolerate the draconian measures needed to slow the effect by even 15 minutes. And the sacrifices by one society will not help unless all societies cooperate (and we know how impossible that is).
I know! Lets all recycle our newspapers. There, problem solved.
The primary danger to our atmosphere is over-population, but none of the demonstrators volunteered to do their part to correct this. Using a fan instead of an air-conditioner will not solve the problem. Traveling by bus instead of driving a car will not solve the problem. Demanding someone else solve the problem will not solve the problem. Ebola could, but no one is suggesting that.
Thinking that corporations have vast resources that can be released by popular demand without resulting in higher prices or unemployment is becoming more and more a common misconception. Mean old airline corporations jam us into tiny seats and make us pay for transporting our baggage. Mean old fast-food corporations pay low wages. Boo! Let’s demonstrate!
Making a profit is the sole reason most corporations exist, and those that lose sight of this quickly disappear. CEOs get such high salaries precisely because they are fixated on making a profit.
I am not suggesting the demonstrators are unusually hypocritical. They are human, and getting someone else to do the heavy lifting is what we humans do. We are all Tom Sawyer. Huck Finn is gone.