Carpe Diem

Why naive environmentalism is like religious fundamentalism

Excerpts below are from the chapter “Why I Am Not An Environmentalist” in economist Steven Landsburg’s book “Armchair Economics: Economics and Everyday Life,” where he explains why naive environmentalism is like religious fundamentalism:

The naive environmentalism of my daughter’s preschool is a force-fed potpourri of myth, superstition, and ritual that has much in common with the least reputable varieties of religious Fundamentalism.

Like other coercive ideologies, environmentalism targets children specifically. After my daughter progressed from preschool to kindergarten, her teachers taught her to conserve resources by rinsing out her paper cup instead of discarding it. I explained to her that time is also a valuable resource, and it might be worth sacrificing some cups to save some time. Her teachers taught her that mass transportation is good because it saves energy. I explained to her that it might be worth sacrificing some energy in exchange for the comfort of a private car. Her teachers taught her to recycle paper so that wilderness is not converted to landfill space. I explained to her that it might be worth sacrificing some wilderness in exchange for the luxury of not having to sort your trash. In each case, her five-year-old mind had no difficulty grasping the point. I fear that after a few more years of indoctrination, she will be as uncomprehending as her teachers.

In a letter to his daughter Cayley’s teacher, Landsburg wrote:

Just as Cayley’s teachers in Colorado were honestly oblivious to the fact that there is diversity in religion, it may be that her teachers here have been honestly oblivious that there is diversity in politics.

Let me then make that diversity clear. We are not environmentalists. We ardently oppose environmentalists. We consider environmentalism a form of mass hysteria akin to Islamic fundamentalism or the War on Drugs. We do not recycle. We teach our daughter not to recycle. We teach her that people who try to convince her to recycle, or who try to force her to recycle, are intruding on her rights.

The entire program of environmentalism is as foreign to us as the doctrine of Christianity (Note: Landsburg is Jewish). We face no current threat of having Christianity imposed on us by petty tyrants; the same can not be said of environmentalism. My county government never tried to send me a New Testament, but it did send me a recycling bin.”

In a footnote at the end of the chapter:

My friend Alan Stockman has made the point that there seems to be general agreement that it is better to transfer income from the relatively rich to the relatively poor than vice versa. It seems odd then to ask present-day Americans to make sacrifices [e.g. recycling, etc.] for the benefit of future generations who will almost surely be richer than we are.

63 thoughts on “Why naive environmentalism is like religious fundamentalism

  1. This kind of anti-environmentalism is on the verge of religion as well.
    one doesn’t need to sort her trash to recycle, just throwing papers and glass bottles in the proper bin most of the time is not “sorting trash” and takes zero extra time and efforts.

    • Landsburg is not “anti-environmentalism”. He recognizes the trade offs that religious environmentals refuse to even acknowledge, much less understand that choosing convenience over recycling is a perfectly acceptable behavior. That you think leaving people with this choice, rather than forcibly eliminating this choice through the police state, only demonstrates how little you understand what it is Landsburg is saying. Landsburg’s book is excellent. You should read it, since you don’t seem to understand the economics of the trade offs about which Landsburg is talking.

        • No. He is anti-environmental activism, which is not the same thing as anti-environment. As any fool knows, calling oneself an environmental, then claiming every action is “for the environment” is as valid as modern political liberals claiming they are “progressive” or that they are “liberal”.

          Additionally, Landsburg’s analysis includes the human environment, not just non-human environment, as all so called environmentalists do. Without considering the benefits of one, while only talking about the potential damage to the other in no way means you are for the environment.

        • Moe,

          He’s someone who makes a choice not to engage in the hysteria because the trade-offs aren’t worth it to him. He’s not indoctrinating your children.

    • >>>just throwing papers and glass bottles in the proper bin most of the time is not “sorting trash” and takes zero extra time and efforts.

      Compared to what?

      It takes much less time and effort simply to throw out one’s trash. Period. One big trash bin IS the “proper” bin.

      For more information on the myth of recycling, see the Penn & Teller episode of their show “Bullsh—!” It’s on YouTube in two parts:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzLebC0mjCQ
      Part I – Recycling

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wS1dv3iat8
      Part 2 – Recycling

      And for more on environmental hysteria in general, again see Penn & Teller on YouTube at:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DX3lZ8peBU
      Part 1 – Environmental Hysteria

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ELJt0vUBi4
      Part 2 – Environmental Hysteria

  2. I think Steve Landsburg should encourage his child’s school teachers to put recycling in economic terms.

    When I had was newly married I used to collect aluminum cans and sell them to recyclers for needed cash. Later, my city instigated a forced recycling program and those reycylers disappeared because almost all the cans went to one contracted recycler.

    The city contracted with one recycler to reduce landfill costs and to be part of the recycling movement.

    The reycler sells mixed waste paper, newspaper, cardboard, plastics, aluminum cans and tin cans on the market. The city shares proceeds from sales over 100% of pre-determined market prices and pays the recycler for less than the 100%.

    If a particular market dries up to zero, then then the city will tell the recycler to take all that item to the city dump(transfer station).

    Lesson: if it ain’t making money there is no recycling, and stuff gets dumped in or on the ground and not into a market.

  3. Now, I am a huge Landsburg fan, but I really found his argument here lacking. I totally see where he is coming from, but I feel the argument wasn’t framed well.

    • Jon,

      I agree, although you may not share my take;

      First off:

      This is the type of narrow-minded logic that has this country circling the drain.

      He follows the template to perfection:
      First off – you classify your target audience; whether it is environmentalists, teachers, bankers, Mexicans, the poor or the rich as one homogenous group all sharing the same despicable traits. Most important: allow no exceptions, they (insert target group) are ALL despicable. Then, once you have freed yourself from the guilt of considering any good apples in the basket – you eviscerate them. This is what passes as logic.

      Here’s the second flaw I see in his argument:

      I recycle when I think of it – nobody coerces me.

      I took public transportation when I lived in the city – nobody coerced me.

      I re-use my styrofoam coffee cup at work each day – nobody coerces me.

      My community supplies recycle bins as well – I am not coerced to use it or fined if I don’t.

      I guess what seems like common sense to some, is coercion and hysteria to others.

      • Well, what I think he objects to is not the environmental movement itself, but rather how it is being taught to his daughter as the ONLY thing.

        Now, obviously neither one of us really know what’s going on in his daughter’s classroom. With all due respect to Landsburg, it is entirely possibly he is over-reacting to something not actually occurring. I am hesitant to take a child’s word for what occurs or what is taught because, at that age, a child just wants to do what they think the authority figure (teacher, parent, police, whatever) want. It is entirely possible that the teacher just expressed an opinion, Landsburg’s daughter picked up on it, and expressed it to Daddy Landsburg thinking she was doing the right thing.

        This could also be my own confirmation bias kicking in here. While I am no fan of the environmental movement, I am sympathetic to their goals. I recycle everything. I conserve electricity. I do my best to conserve and reuse things.

        With all due respect to Landsburg, and I think he is a brilliant guy, this could very well be an overreaction. I am sure his daughter is a good girl, but I’d rather he had a little more than just the world of a 6 year old to go on.

        • So, if I’m a teacher and I see a child throwing away a clean sheet of paper in my classroom, I can point out the benefits of him/her reusing it as long as I point out the time savings of just throwing it away?

          • Moe, you should finally read the full version of the exchange in the book. Landsburg called on the teacher to stop indoctrinating his girl. Shes asked for a talk about what concerned him about recycling. He answered that her wish was not warranted. If she was asked to stop proselytising his kid she ought to do it, not ask what parts of her religion disturb the father. He relates how that was the way teachers at a previous kindergarden in another state reacted, after he had protested their saying “only good kids get a visit with presents on christmas by the child christ”. His kid being Jewish and others being muslim meant that they would not get presents that way. Those teachers in that circumstance recognized their own proseltysing. If you act without thinking in recycling only means that you have either been thoroughly indoctrinated without noticing or you really BELIEVE. Then rational arguments about different religious believes are quite difficult on this planet.

        • jon-

          based on what i saw with the kids of my friends in the bay area, this would likely have been and UNDERreaction there.

          kids were indoctrinated into global warming, gaia theory, all manner of other environmental issues, the evil of corporations, and the need for things like socialized healthcare with the utmost fervor. this was some strong and pervasive cool aid. my friend’s daughter came home from 1st grade with an obama campaign poster that the teacher required the class to draw. some of this goes WAY over the line.

          i have long been struck by just what a secular religion environmentalism has become. it very closely mirrors the story of the fall. once there was a garden and then evil man learned stuff and screwed it up and now we have been tossed out and must repent and atone.

          those who disagree or even ask for a demonstration of the science get branded as evil or as “deniers” or as anti children.

          it would not be that easy to separate a lot of global warming rhetoric from religious fundamentalism in a blind reading. when you have leaders outright stating that they need to exaggerate the threats (which is to say lie) to get people to take action, you have some real zealotry going on.

          i have little trouble imagining that steve has a legitimate beef with the teachers. (though, of course, i have no actual knowledge of the specific situation)

          i just think he could have made a much better argument.

          the trade offs he lists do not seem like the key ones.

          i’m not terribly familiar with him, but after this argument, his bizarre focus with regard to min wage and small companies he seems like a pretty scattered thinker. i have liked some of his points, but others just belie convoluted obtuseness. his quote about alvin’s nobel prize completely missed the boat with his focus on changing the world as thought his were a peace prize, not a prize for moving matching and game theory forward.

          i am simply not too impressed with landburg. he seems to generally be caught up in some wrangle that misses the actual issue and winds up making a bunch of peripheral arguments that often border on completely orthogonal.

        • Jon

          I am sure his daughter is a good girl, but I’d rather he had a little more than just the world of a 6 year old to go on.

          I agree. Since most of what we know about this story appears in a letter Landsburg wrote to his child’s teacher, I would like to believe the teacher responded, in an effort to help correct any misconception the 6 year old might have had.

          I have had had similar conversations with teachers in which I relate the story kiddo brought home, and ask for the adult version of that story. Sometimes kids misunderstand, but at other times they are right on. It’s important to have good communication with your child’s teachers. Email seems to work well for that purpose.

      • moe-

        well, i’m not sure it’s quire that simple. much recycling is not actually economic especially when you include collection and sort costs etc. i think there are some very good arguments against recycling, but i agree, landsberg did not make them. i am not generally terribly impressed with his logic and thinking. i tend to fear guys like him. he tends to agree with me on issues, but then makes terrible arguments in support of the positions and winds up doing harm to his (and my) position.

        many places DO require recycling. it is quite coercive. i used to live in san francisco. in SF, you can now be fined for not composting. you have a trash bin, a recycle bin, and a compost bin.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_Mandatory_Recycling_and_Composting_Ordinance

        on top of that, the program is a massive money loser as much the recycling gets stolen.

        there are gangs of guys in pickup trucks with 10 foot tall bins on them that drive around every night and steal all your recycling right out of the cans on the street. they know what your trash day is and hit you the night before.

        then they sell the stuff to the recycler. so you, the consumer, pay to have it picked up, but it’s not and then the same sort i would have been liable for not doing is a total waste. i am just feeding the thieves, who, it seems, are not actually thieves as “once it’s on the street it’s public.”

        so, the notion that recycling is not coercive, wasteful, and ludicrous may vary a great deal by jurisdiction. you may not be being forced, but many are and that number is on the rise.

        i am all for voluntary schemes for whatever, but when you are legally forced to sort trash and food waste so that some guys in a truck can grab it and sell it, well, that seems like a bridge too far.

        of course, we also must consider just how such schemes are paid for. if the construction and operation of a recycling center comes out of taxes, then it is coercive. you are paying for it if you want it or not and regardless of use.

        if recycling made real economic sense in most cases, then a recycler should be self supporting and pick up my recycling for free or even pay me. i should not have to pay them to do it, much less be required to.

        public transport, at least in SF, is also highly coercive. it cannot pay for itself. it cannot pay for even half of itself. the riders get a huge subsidy from the taxpayers as well as all the revenue from parking meters in the city (and parking tickets) meaning that those who drive pay for those who ride the bus.

        light rail virtually everywhere is a boondoggle that cannot pay for itself. coyote over at coyoteblog loves to pick apart the numbers on this. generally, it would be cheaper to buy each light rail rider a prius and 10 years of gas than to build light rail.

        so, i’m not sure it’s as straightforward as you lay out.

        if recycling and public transport were optional, user pays and self supporting, that would be one thing, but they pretty much never are. i think that changes the debate.

        • The economics of recycling aside, it is the framing of the argument above that I have taken issue with. The choices I mention above are steps I take because I believe they make a difference and those choices are not hurting anyone, nor do I brow beat those who do things differently, unlike the author.

          The boogeyman is not everywhere Morg. We should be grateful we live in a country where we have the luxury to debate where our garbage goes in the first place.

          • moe-

            i’m not quite sure what you mean by the boogeyman not being everywhere.

            this is not about boogeymen.

            mandatory recycling is a major issue and becoming more and more common.

            even where such is not the case, taxpayers are funding it.

            i agree about the framing of the debate.

            i think the better argument is “hey, if this really makes economic sense, why can’t it pay for itself?”

            we can be grateful to be able to debate, but i’d be even more grateful if i was no longer forced to pay for and participate in programs i don’t use or want to use.

            buses are all well and good, but i think the fares should cover the cost and do not want to be forced to subsidize them even if others call them green.

            i think you are also mischaraterizing the argument landburg made.

            he’s not brow beating people for recycling or taking the bus. that appears nowhere.

            he’s brow beating people who he feels are brow beating his children. to explain that the time to do somehting “might” not be worth the gain seems like a perfectly reasonable way to teach basic thinking about trade offs. an apple costs $1 at the corer store or $0.50 at the supermarket 10 minutes away, is it worth the time to go get the cheaper apple? is a basic idea in the time value of money.

            now, i think he then flies off the bars a bit and says “We teach her that people who try to convince her to recycle, or who try to force her to recycle, are intruding on her rights.” as tries to convince is very different from force (though it sounds like the teacher is forcing).

            to start to wade into just what the role of the school is is perhaps further than i want to go here as it is too difficult to find any non subjective ground.

            i think most would agree that kids should not be “indoctrinated” but just what that means gets very contentious.

            for some, it would mean teaching evolution. for others, having school prayer. yet others see environmentalism like a religion. charting the course between all this gets very, very hard and deeply subjective.

            i find that to be a strong argument for a plurality of schools and student/parent choice. (every kids comes with money and picks his/her own school)

            let the people vote with their kids and money and let the market solve this as it is far too difficult for a government to do.

          • >>>The choices I mention above are steps I take because I believe they make a difference

            But saving time and effort also make a difference: it makes possible personal productivity in ways that have higher value, i.e., that better serve consumers, than some 3rd-party’s absurd pontificating about “saving the planet.”

        • I don’t really know if Landsburg’s reaction is an over-reaction or an under-reaction. Just from reading here, my sense is that his actions and explanation are disproportionally greater than the actions the teacher took. Thus, my comment that this may be an over-reaction. But I cannot know for sure as I was not there.

          I am sympathetic to both sides here. I understand and Landsburg’s position, but the teacher may not have been doing anything wrong, too.

          Let’s do a hypothetical here. As many of you know, I am a former monk and currently a deacon at my church; I am very religious. Let’s say that sometime down the road, I get married and have a kid. My child invites one of her little friends over for dinner one night. As per tradition, my family joins hands and says a quick prayer before dinner. The friend visiting is confused, as he comes from an atheist family, but he joins in anyway. After dinner, he asks me “Mr. Murphy, what was all that?” I take the time to explain to him a little of what Christianity is. He goes home and tells his daddy that Mr. Murphy taught him all about Christianity. His dad comes over and proceeds to chew me out over forcing my religion down the kids throat. Is that really what happened? Did I do wrong?

          • re: did I do wrong?

            nope but others might point out that the child was not forced to come to dinner but was forced to go to school.

            and FWIW, kids are taught “character” and “morals” in schools also. They’re taught it’s wrong to steal and it’s wrong to blame others for something you did, and a plethora of similar things.

            is that ‘indoctrination’ also?

          • i actually agree with larry here.

            public and private are different.

            look at it a bit differently:

            for you to say grace at your home is your right and your privilege. it’s your home. you can even require me to join in if i expect to be fed. if i take issue with it, i can leave, but your home is your home and no one is required to go.

            a school is not like that. if the teacher required a kid to say grace during school lunch, i would definitely find fault with that. it is not the school’s place to require such things. this is a plural society.

            teachers set a tone for a classroom. a classroom is a public place. thus, it is both our right and our duty to keep an eye on how they do that. if a teacher taught that gays were wicked or the holocaust never happened, we’d be all over them (or at least i would). environmentalism can go either way. it really depends on how it is taught. talking about the fact that rivers and lakes can get polluted is one thing. gaia theory is another.

            recycling is a tricky one as the case for it is far from clear. it’s mostly subjective value judgements, not economic or scientific information. the economics and science largely do not make sense.

            the very same folks that demand paper be recycled say we need to take CO2 out of the atmosphere and fail to see that the 2 are at odds. (paper is sequestered carbon. bury it and grow more trees and sequester more and you get less co2. tree farming followed by waste disposal (so long as you do not burn it) is a big CO2 remover. when ideologies are so internally inconsistent, you are generally dealing subjective dogma and indoctrination, not science.

            wen we start taking about character as larry does, we get onto a very slippery slope.

            it depends on what character is. treat others as you would wish to be treated and do not harm them or their property is pretty straightforward stuff.

            beat the little girls if they do not wear a burka is not. (though, alas, quite common and considered excellent character in parts of the world)

            there is no bright line where one becomes the other.

            in the US, we ban religion in public schools, but include it in the pledge of allegiance (i found the whole pledge thing disturbing and fascist even as a child and got into some considerable trouble refusing to participate and still think this whole “allegiance” requirement is a bit disgusting. it smacks of totalitarianism)

            the lines here are very blurry and subjective. that is why the debate gets so rancorous. but it’s also why we need real debate.

            personally, i think it’s why the government ought to be taken out of the school business. this stuff is NOT their business and should not be subject to their dictates.

          • re: ” personally, i think it’s why the government ought to be taken out of the school business. this stuff is NOT their business and should not be subject to their dictates.”

            for non-public, private schools, would you want character and other fundamental things taught to kids?

            where would you draw the line?

          • I’m on the same page as you I think (feel worse now?)
            According to Mr. Landsburg you only left out the part where you explain the benefits of not saving grace.

          • for non-public, private schools, would you want character and other fundamental things taught to kids?

            where would you draw the line?

            Larry, character and fundamental values are the prerogative and responsibility of parents, not the school. there are certain fundamentals like “don’t steal stuff” and “don’t blame others” that are pretty universally accepted as positive values, and I would expect them to be reinforced in school by example.

            Those are a far cry from morganovich’s example of an Obama campaign drawing coming home from school, which is a totally unacceptable.

            I would have no problem with teacher explaining to the class that he/she likes to recycle, as the reason he/she has two wastebaskets at his/her desk, while not suggesting that they must do the same, but a teacher forcing the class to recycle with exhortations like “We must save Mother Earth!” would cause me to spend time visiting the school.

            I often thank teachers for their help in educating and guiding my grandson, and remind them that most of what he learns, he learns from me, not them. This usually follows from their thanking ME for helping THEM.

          • “character and fundamental values are the prerogative and responsibility of parents, not the school.”

            spend some time in the classroom Ron.. and it may change your mind.

            despite what you say – the reality is that most kids do not show up knowing these things …. unless they already come from a home with lots of other kids all working in the same room on the same thing.

            for instance.. adults who name-call in this forum – have kids and what exactly do they teach their own kids about calling other kids “morons” and “pricks” ? what do you think?

          • for instance.. adults who name-call in this forum – have kids and what exactly do they teach their own kids about calling other kids “morons” and “pricks” ? what do you think?

            I think they teach their own kids to recognize others for what they are, and if those others demonstrate on a continuing basis that they are hopeless morons or obnoxious pricks they should say so.

          • re: ” I think they teach their own kids to recognize others for what they are, and if those others demonstrate on a continuing basis that they are hopeless morons or obnoxious pricks they should say so.”

            really? in most forums that kind of behavior is expressly frowned on.

            they basically say disagree all you want but do not attack others…

            and that’s what you’ll find is also “indoctrinated” in schools fella.

            all this crap from you folks on “indoctrination” and other issues belies an ignorant and arrogant attitude where you speak in terms of an entire nation of teachers “indoctrinating” your kids into values you don’t want them to have and in this very forum we see clear examples of behaviors that teachers have to deal with all the time – that parents teach their kids to do.

            People who are truly intelligent and knowledgeable do not act like some you folks… not as an adult and not as a child who is learning.

            Teachers spend their day teaching kids like yours to NOT abuse and bully their classmates..and you call that “indoctrination”. yes we need more like you like we need a hole in the head.

            yup.

          • Jon

            Did I do wrong?

            Absolutely not. The friend’s father is out of line. In your house, your rules apply.

            I can imagine you inviting but not coercing little friend to join with your family in your traditional prayer. They can chose to join or not. No big deal.

            If little friend’s father objects, he can certainly forbid any further visits to your home, but in my view if he really objects to his child learning about customs and beliefs that are different from his own, and is troubled by something as innocuous as a prayer before a meal, then he’s an insufferable bigot.

            Just my $0.02.

          • Teachers spend their day teaching kids like yours to NOT abuse and bully their classmates..and you call that “indoctrination”. yes we need more like you like we need a hole in the head.

            No, I call teaching kids that they must recycle indoctrination, and drawing Obama campaign posters indoctrination.

          • teachers actually spend quite a bit of time “indoctrinating” the kids to not do like their parents and call their classmates morons and pricks because they disagree with them.

            and we have to keep doing it even as they get older because they think their parents taught the right.

            We even have these folks get up in a public hearing and then told to sit down because they can’t get rid of those bad habits.

            so we have some parents teaching “values” to their kids that the rest of society has to try to “correct” .. including those nasty teachers trying to “indoctrinate” those kids to stifle their emotions…

          • …where you speak in terms of an entire nation of teachers “indoctrinating” your kids into values you don’t want them to have…

            Ding ding ding! Strawman Alert!

            You just can’t help yourself, can you?

          • we have an entire school system with teachers, and even police resource officers dealing with a bullying problem that emanates from some kids who are taught those “values” by their parents.

            Their parents even show up to complain when their kids are thrown out of schools – claiming that their kids were “forced” to be bullies… by others who were doing stuff they did not like – dozens of times…

            got one guy going to the Supreme court because his kid was thrown out for shooting spitballs and other kids… and then of course it gets revealed that the parent himself has been up on assault charges also.

            yep… we do have a “values” problem in our schools for sure.

          • Larry, you seem to have missed the whole point here. If someone like you proves with almost every comment, that beyond any doubt they ARE a moron and a prick, why shouldn’t we call them what they are?

          • well Ron – because many blogs have rules that would get fools like you banned and for just cause.

            most papers have similar rules. most classrooms do also as well as public hearings and in general the world frowns on idiots like you including the teachers that had to deal with your own kids no doubt.

            here we have a good assemblage of people like you. Many blogs – you’d not even get a word out once you showed what kind of person you are. But you have found yourselves here, I’ll grant you that.

            this is what you find in most blogs:

            Blog Rules and Etiquette

            We have managed, so far, to avoid posting elaborate rules for participating in this blog. We simply urge contributors and commenters to maintain a collegial atmosphere. Direct all the fire and fury you want at another person’s argument, but do not engage in ad hominem attacks. The publisher reserves the right to delete any comments that violate this basic rule. Additionally, blog contributors have the right to delete any comments on their own posts only that they feel detracts from the quality of the dialogue.

            here’s another:

            All commenters must treat their fellow commenters, authors, and other users of the site with respect.

            Comments should address the substance of the argument being made, not the person making the argument.

            Arguments which criticize a person rather than specific ideas are not permitted.

            Name-calling or comments which berate or belittle other individuals will not be tolerated. If you disagree with someone’s ideas, please make your case using a well-reasoned, logical argument.

            Comments should not discourage other commenters or contributors from posting their views. Greater Greater Washington is a space for people to post ideas and opinions which may or may not be fully thought through in every detail. If you think something is missing or incorrect, provide useful additional information rather than criticize another for posting without that information.

            there are many others who all basically work the same way.

            this is one of few places where people like you can post your garbage.

          • well Ron – because many blogs have rules that would get fools like you banned and for just cause.

            As usual you have avoided addressing the actual question, but instead write something slightly off to the side. Do you really not understand plain English?

          • doing a little research on blog rules and etiquette and it dawned on me why so many of you idiots flock to this site.

            it’s because many if not most other sites would simply not tolerate you. You’d be tossed off as soon as you started your foolishness.

            you’d be thrown out of classrooms ..out of public hearings.. just about anywhere including most online news and blog sites …

            so you boys flock to the sites that won’t ban you so you can play your silly little ad hominem games..

            starting to make sense now…..

            Here’s another you fools would not last more than one comment on:

            Comments guidelines

            1. Be respectful. No personal attacks.
            2. Please avoid offensive, vulgar, abusive, hateful or defamatory language.
            3. Read and follow THE RULES.
            4. We will ban or block repeat offenders.

          • You forgot the most 2 important rules.

            5. Please write intelligent and meaningful comments that address the issues being discussed. Off topic moronic drivel will not be tolerated.

            6. That means you, Larry.

      • “My community supplies recycle bins as well – I am not coerced to use it or fined if I don’t.”

        You’re lucky. I have lived in communities where households could be fined if recyclables were found in the trash rather than in the recycle bin.

  4. People that believe in Global Warming and the reasons stated as to why it is occurring have no personal knowledge of it. They believe what they are being told by a handful of people. They are truly, Believers and as such are the same as religious believers.

    Other enviornmental concerns the average citizen did have personal knowledge of: Smog, water, etc. But not long term, miniscule weather changes. We are witnessing the biggest cult event in world history.

  5. I have, as per my usual, a slightly different tilt on this:

    First…where did the world Conservative come from?

    second – if it’s a virtue to save money and time why isn’t a virtue to conserve resources also.

    If someone told you that your share of the electricity produced was X would you insist that you should be able to get 2x and waste it as you see fit even if adding more electricity generates more pollution that in turn costs others money, and time (clean up) and even some of their lives. (lung disease).

    If the are X fish in the sea – should we pretend there are 2X or just totally use up the X as long as we get “full value” before they go commercially extinct?

    so where did the world “Conservative” come from anyhow?

    pesky questions, eh?

    • Larry the Idiot,

      if it’s a virtue to save money and time why isn’t a virtue to conserve resources also

      Because it’s always impossible to conserve all of these at once. You trade off one for the other.

      Also, you use the word “resource” as if you understand what it means. The Ehrlich-Simon bet put that one to bed as anyone that knows even an inkling about economics knows that there are more resources today than at any other time in history.

      • “Because it’s always impossible to conserve all of these at once. You trade off one for the other.”

        that’s true numskull.. and different people have different values dumbass…

        money alone is NOT the only variable but folks like you do not even value things like environmental damage or damage to others.

        • that’s true numskull..

          Really? So the same time you use to relax in a bath can be the same time be used to separate your garbage for recycling? Are you somehow able to defy the laws of space and time to be in two different places, performing two different tasks, at the same time?

          If you’re so certain that recycling is the same as saving money, why don’t paper and plastic manufacturers pay you to give them your paper and plastic garbage, paying you the difference it takes to recycle, rather than simply manufacture new paper and plastic?

          and different people have different values dumbass…

          It’s funny that you call me the dumbass, but you are the one who believes that you can be in two different places at the same time or that despite the savings you claim exist for recycling that most people have to be forced to do this by the police state. That you think I don’t understand that different people have different values, like valuing time reading and time spent separating trash differently, yet you’re the one claiming that I can save time and resources by doing both? That you simply think most people want some forest near their house rather than a shopping mall or parking lot shows clearly you don’t understand that different people have different values.

          You are the archetypal dumbass that you fail to understand the very thing you claim I don’t understand.

          money alone is NOT the only variable

          That you say this only means you’re not interested in balancing what one group of people value vs what another group of people value. How do you know how much someone values something if they aren’t willing to pay for it? You simply want to use force against the group that doesn’t value the same things you do. This is the “moral” assertion you use to justify the use of force to impose your values on others who do not share your values.

          folks like you do not even value things like environmental damage or damage to others.

          And therein lies your complete ignorance of human understanding summed up in a nice brief statement.

          I value woods in which to go hiking, but I value highways that get me to my work and family and friends’ houses more.

          Do you really think people who pollute do so simply because they enjoy hurting others and the environment? Or do you understand that pollution is an unavoidable side effect of doing something immensely valuable and beneficial?

          The most polluting activity humans are involved in are chemical processing. I’m certain you’re glad that that pollution is occurring so you can have the electricity in your home, the soap in your shower, dishwasher, and laundry, the plastic in your car, cell phone, computer, and cups. That people value others is the entire reason that pollution occurs in the first place. That you think polluters are somehow the devil incarnate gleefully killing everything in sight only shows your pre-school level of how people actually interact and provide value to one another.

          And that you separate out the human environment, which is clearly benefiting from all of the above activities, from what you are calling the environment shows, yet again, that you do not understand what you are talking about.

          • So as not to let even the tiniest accomplishment go unnoticed, I’d like to point out that Larry actually wrote the following:

            “and different people have different values dumbass…”

            This is the very first time he’s EVER admitted that value is subjective, so it’s something. Not much, but something.

    • “if it’s a virtue to save money and time why isn’t a virtue to conserve resources also”

      Conserving resources is great – I was raised to be frugal. I don’t waste things I’ve paid for. (Within reason – I also don’t store every unused thing I’ve ever bought just because it “might be useful someday.” If the trade-off isn’t worth it, I throw it away.)

      Unfortunately, some communities’ recycling programs cost more than the market value of the recyclables. Community members use recycling bins, special trucks collect the contents, the recyclables are processed, and then the market value is less than the cost of making them available for sale.

      That’s not conservative – that’s just feel-good wastefulness.

      • sounds “conservative”:

        http://www.recyclingnj.com/

        What are the benefits of reducing waste and recycling?

        Waste disposal costs money. Your local community pays about $75 per ton of general trash to dispose of this waste at a landfill or incinerator. You are paying for this waste disposal through your local taxes or through trash haulage fees.
        By reducing the amount of waste you generate or sending materials for recycling you not only reduce the waste disposal costs for your community but your local town profits from the sale of these materials to recycling companies. The more you recycle the more money a community can make from the recycling collection and consequently the more money the town has to spend on local schools and other services.
        Recycling helps conserve valuable resources and energy.
        Recycling helps to protect the environment.

        is NJ “indoctrinating” ?

        • “pays about $75 per ton of general trash to dispose of this waste at a landfill or incinerator”

          I guess the question is whether that cost is more or less than the cost of a recycling program. Some recycling program don’t save money, they cost money.

          • even if the recycling lost money – it it lowered the costs of land-filling by an equal amount – or more.. then it would be worth it.

            Most of the schools themselves have separate containers for different kind of trash and recycle themselves.

            In our area – up until very recently they solicited paper from the parents – until the price cratered and the economics changed from the recycler paying (marginally) to …charging to take it – but it still saves land fill space.

            then you have stuff like motor oil and in our area the local transfer stations do collect oil and anti-freeze and even other chemicals which is deemed cheaper than those things getting into local water supplies.

            But the bigger point here is the claim that teachers teaching recycling are ‘indoctrinating’ when recylcing is pretty widespread and in general economically beneficial.

            What kids in the local grades do not get taught is economic tradeoffs.

            In the 1-3 grades, they’re basically taught the concept of different coins representing different economic value and how to count.. and stuff like that.

            in 1-3, it’s not so much about recycling itself as it is about not wasting things… understanding what “share” means when a plate of cupcakes or slice of cake is offered – and not taking others if you want more, etc.

            Many, many children who start school, even those from families with multiple kids do not have solid grounding in dealing with others who are not siblings and an authoritarian figure who is explaining more than “do this because daddy/mommy tells you to).

            little children will walk right up to a non-sibling and hit them up side the head sometimes… for no apparent, discernible reason at times. they’ll take his pencil because they forgot their own… they’ll interrupt others when they feel like it … all sorts of behaviors that parents apparently tolerate but don’t work as well when there are 15 others…

            when the teacher asks what is 3+5 and they say 8 and she says GREAT then she says what is 5+3 and they say 6 … and she’s about to deal with that – the kid in the next seat starts throwing things across the classroom or some such…

            I’d like to see half the critics spend a day in a classroom (which you can do by the way – as a volunteer).

            and that’s right.. telling the little boys not to hose down the toilet seat and spread TP all over the floor is “indoctrination”.. you bet it is.

  6. re: what kids are taught

    also..

    1. – not to waste food

    2. – not to break pencils and tear up things including those that do not belong to you.

    3. -to not waste other people’s time by being disruptive

    … many, many more….

    it’s amazing how many of these young uns show up not understanding basic things….even though their parents have taught them to read …..and they do good on tests.

    • It should be Larry?????, not LarryG. My question is, if the ? key on Larry’s keyboard was to break would he ever be able to post again?

      My take is that Landsburgh is upset over the lack of critical thinking that his child is being taught. He relates the obsession with environmentalism to a religion that is based on “faith” and “belief” rather than on logic and critical thought.

      He is trying to get her to look at it objectively rather than to just go with it on faith, based on what the teacher believes. He has a point, although he could have phrased it better. But how he phrased it doesn’t detract from the fact that much of the current environment movement is faith/belief based rather than fact based.

      • re: ” lack of critical thinking that his child is being taught. ”

        all teachers everywhere? none that do better?

        see this is the problem… it’s like we are saying the entire ficken country has this same problem.. millions of teachers.. and ALL of them do this.. like it’s some kind of a conspiracy.

        re: lack of critical thinking that his child is being taught. ”

        on this I do agree for the US. it’s not the teachers – it’s our curriculum… it’s easier, in part because of parents who do not want Johnny over-loaded with difficult work.

        • all teachers everywhere? none that do better?

          thanks Larry?????, you proved my point, you can’t post without the ? key.

          Landsburgh was referring to his daughter’s teacher….not all teachers everywhere….that was your extrapolation.

          Here is a challenge for you Larry, for the next few days, don’t use the ? key in any of your posts. Make factual statements only.

          I think that the posters here may start having an impact on you then.

          • re: ” Landsburgh was referring to his daughter’s teacher….not all teachers everywhere….that was your extrapolation.”

            really? did he actually say that he was not talking abut all teachers just his daughters and he gets national publication for that?

            “Here is a challenge for you Larry, for the next few days, don’t use the ? key in any of your posts. Make factual statements only.

            I think that the posters here may start having an impact on you then.”

            here’s a challenge for you friend. STFU if you can’t be polite and deal directly with the issue without Ad Hominens

            Got that?

  7. I guess, those “litter bug” commercials back in the ’70s were a waste.

    Fortunately, Joe, the garbage, blow, who people perceive his time as less valuable, is getting $20 an hour to sort your trash, and may be getting more overtime.

    The girl will be a job creator when she dumps her trash in the McDonalds parking lot for an illegal alien to pick-up.

    We need to stop the “mass hysteria” on the War on Drugs, like the War on Crime.

    A little pot smoke or pickpocketing is no big deal.

  8. Environmentalists are not simply annoying, they are dangerous and deadly.
    1. They oppose DDT. Malaria kills 1 million African children per year, which DDT would eradicate.
    2. They opposed Norman Borlaug’s green revolution, which saved millions from starvation. They got Borlaug ousted from many African nations.
    3. They oppose fossil fuels, which are the lifeblood of prosperity, including the fantastic recent improvements of India, China, and many more.
    4. They oppose golden rice, recently approved in the Philippines, after a 12 year political fight against Greenpeace and others (recent article by Bjorn Lomborg).

    Environmentalist political actions are often quite deadly.

  9. In my community, the local school kids collect newspapers, magazines, cans, milk cartons (properly cleaned, cut and flattened!), and PET bottles from their neighbors and sell them to a contractor to make money to support student activities. They collect this stuff every three months, which means participants have to keep all that trash in their homes for three months.

    I’m not doing that!

    • I would, however, happily pay some students to take my trash out to the designated pick up area (about 120 yards from my house) thrice a week. If they cared to go through it and pick out the recyclables, that would be fine with me!

      • where I live – the county has provided different containers for different recyclables.

        From what I understand in places like N.J. if your recyclables are embedded in your trash and not separate you don’t get trash pickup.

        It’s not “feel good” policies or indoctrination – it’s real – it has a direct effect on the cost of landfill operations and it’s deemed more cost effective to recycle rather than not.

        http://www.recyclingnj.com/

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