Dude ... Where's My Car?
Monday, July 7, I saw a tourism ad on TV for Chihuahua, Mexico. Immediately following the ad was another ad featuring Mayor Marty talking about a car being stolen every few seconds in Albuquerque. I wondered if the underlying message was to go to Chihuahua to look for your stolen vehicle.
An Alternative Point of View
Come on, Alibi, what gives? Your masthead says you are Albuquerque's "alternative" newspaper. So why do you continue to publish the right-wing gibberish of Jim Scarantino? If I want those conservative establishment views, I will read the Albuquerque Journal or watch Fox News.
Take three recent columns.
• A few weeks ago, he wrote about the so-called "fair" tax [Re: The Real Side, “The Fair Tax,” April 17-23], which does away with income taxes and puts a 20 to 30 percent tax on everything you buy. There is nothing fair about this. It is simply a way to move the tax burden from the rich onto poorer people. The less income you have, the more of it you spend to buy the things you need. The richer you are, the more of your income is saved or invested or spent overseas and thus would not be taxed.
• Then he writes a column on high gasoline prices [Re: The Real Side, “The Udall Economy,” June 19-25]. He argues the solution is to open up the coastline for oil drilling. Even President Bush says we are addicted to oil. So what's Scarantino's solution? Get the addict more of his drug. Never mind that it will take 10 years to produce any oil from new offshore exploration. By that time, gasoline may well be $15 or $20 a gallon, global warming will be that much worse and there will be wars everywhere over oil. The solution is mandatory efficiency now—higher-mileage cars, more mass transit, etc.—and a crash program, like the Apollo Moon program, to develop sustainable energy resources.
• And this week he attacks global warming as fiction [Re: The Real Side, “Got Your Mind Right?” July 3-9]. Who does he use as an expert? Some unnamed, local, “well-respected” solar energy entrepreneur who feeds him information. Assuming there is a local entrepreneur and not just an imaginary friend, being a solar-power expert does not mean you know any more about global warming than the guy who packs your bags at the grocery store (no offense intended to those guys). Instead, he should read, for example, the latest U.N. climate report written by climatologists and people who actually study what is going on. The reality is, those in the scientific community who actually study the climate issue and its effects are near unanimous in its human cause and its growing impact. It is those in the fossil fuel industry—who have no particular climate experience, just tremendous financial interest—who continually publish reports denying the obvious.
So, Alibi, how about you dump Scarantino and find a writer who will actually give us an alternative view to the important issues of the day?
Dear Jim Scarantino,
Paging through the Alibi, I was just about to throw it in the trash, having had my fill of the blatant, politically correct point of view. And then I saw your article [Re: The Real Side, “Got Your Mind Right?” July 3-9]. Well done, very refreshing, a wonderful contrast! You posed a very important question, beyond climate change, regarding our inability to hear each other. I am a blog writer (jimludwig.com), and this subject is actually a chief interest of mine.
A few comments regarding what you said:
First, regarding climate change, I think there is a point of view that resolves this matter. I don't think there is any way to know for sure that human energy consumption is causing climate change. I am not going to spend too much time listening the the purportedly rational-scientific arguments of either camp, as one can sink like a stone in that shit and still not know what's up. Instead, I am going to conclude that since we may not be able to know for sure, we will have to decide what to do, given that unknown.
And the answer isn't rocket science. There is a lot of stuff we don't know for sure, but we still take common sense action. I don't know that while driving today I will be struck by another car, and yet I still put on my seat belt. If I perceive that there is sufficient risk, then I take prohibitive action. Given how much energy we humans are burning (population growth multiplied by the crazy practice of "consumerism"), it sure seems plausible that we could be causing (or contributing) to climate change. And given the huge risk that climate change represents, we ought to take action.
In short, the rational-secular crowd says the greens are half-baked in their science, and maybe they are right. But rather than engage in a "being right" war with them, doesn't common sense dictate that we commit ourselves to cultural adjustments? Aside from climate change, it seems evident that there are other reasons that "consumerism" warrants serious reconsideration as the primary value system of our society.
In any case, thanks for a thoughtful and worthy article!
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