Thursday, November 24, 2005


Stephen Moore [1][2] and I do not think alike. I suppose I should defer to him, though, on the basis of all his credentials and accomplishments. Who am I to question the sanity and morality of a man with titles such as CEO, President, Senior Fellow, Senior Research Fellow, "member of the Board of Scholars", "adjunct scholar" and so on? Hell, I'm just an aging engineer who can't even punctuate correctly. What do I know?

Moore recently published a piece in the WSJ, "The War Against the Car". You have to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal to access the source, but others have cached it as you'll see on the link to Google in the title of this post. (I was a WSJ subscriber for a while, but I came to regard their editorial stance as insane so I left. I assume the caches I've seen of Moore's screed are accurate.)

Moore compares second-graders' "indoctrination" with the arguments of "presumably educated adults", calls those adults Luddites, paints global warming and peak oil worriers and their "tirades" with the "Malthusian" label.

He actually writes that if all those poor people had just had cars they wouldn't have had to be warehoused in the New Orleans Superdome. As if that weren't enough, he invokes the memory of Rosa Parks and credits the hundreds of cars owned by black voluneers ferrying people around the city with the success of the bus boycot Ms. Parks sparked so few years ago.

Moore refers to the call to conserve energy as a "maniacal obsession", and ridicules recent oil company ad campaigns, comparing them to a MacDonald's campaign to promote less beef on the basis that cows are terrible things to lose. He writes that "simplistic notions" regarding the car reflect ignorance of the history of masses of horse shit in the streets. Ewwww!

And so on. What an ass.

Moore concludes:
Americans are rugged individualists who don't want to cram aboard buses and subways. We want more open roads and highways, and we want energy policies that will make gas cheaper, not more expensive. We want to travel down the road from serfdom and the car is what will take us there.
Moore's "rugged individualist" is a myth, proof of which is readily apparent in areas as diverse as fashion, suburban architecture, media preferences, marketing maleability, you name it. That we want this, want that and want the other is undeniable; we behave like the second-graders he considers some of us to be. His statement that the car will deliver us from serfdom, though, is a dangerous delusion at best, a flat-out lie at worst.

Moore is one of the founders of something called the "Club for Growth". The hard place this rock runs into lies in the exponential consequences of steady growth, something to which Mr. Moore seems oblivious.

So what does the MXC have to do with this? MXC is a hilarious (if you like that sort of humor) adaptation of a Japanese show called Takeshi's Castle. One of the games in the show is called Wallbangers, and features contestants whose success lies in racing through a number of walls, each with several doors, one of them of paper, the rest solidly closed. Contestants run headlong into the doors they select, passing through paper if they selected correctly or crashing violently if not. Funny as hell!

Moore reminds me of a Wallbangers contestant. Skanky's about to get him.

Seriously though, I don't know much about Wolfgang Sachs, but this quote seems spot on: "The world will no longer be divided by the ideologies of 'left' and 'right,' but by those who accept ecological limits and those who don't." That seems exactly right for Stephen Moore and yours truly.

Hat tip: Energy Bulletin. AF is correct about Moore's piece almost reading like parody.

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