Saturday, December 03, 2011

The 99%

Tam was playing MSNBC on the Magic Picture Box (no, the old-timey kind, that doesn't have comments or scrollback) this morning. I went out to the living room to hear how "99 percent..." of the People Of The Earth (or was it The Nations?) thunk the bad ol' U.S. (and the rest of the industrialized West[1]) needed to throttle back right now, so's Gaea didn't drown us.

You know what? Being in the majority does not always mean you are right.

Tellya what; for the purpose of argument, I'll assume that we're really facing anthropogenic global warming, rather than normal, solar-driven long-term variation. Say the problem is totally us, from pole to pole. Considering the way the human race keeps on breeding, we're not gonna fix it by stopping the music and everybody sitting down. Technological problems require technological solutions -- and they are not going to come from the hard-working schmoe living "sustainably"[2] in the Third World, because he is running just as fast as he can simply to stay in the same place. The opinion of 99% is wrong if it thinks otherwise.

We grew up on a world where "democracy" is a good thing. It's had great press. Even communist countries put "democracy" in their names. Yayy, voting! We've forgotten that the democracy of Athens used to be taught as a warning example -- because everything was up for a vote. Individual life, property, freedom: your fellow-citizens could vote them away.

This is the problem with the "We are the 99%" line from the Occupiers, too. Say you are -- does that make it okay to not have to pay back your student loan? Did the debt magically vanish just because there were more of you?

For that matter, just because the majority of the population holds some opinions to be repugnant, that doesn't mean they should be free to use the full force of law to suppress them. If you find someone's ideas appalling or terrible, you're free to shun them; but unless they're initiating force or committing fraud, they're free to express their ideas.

That's why we have a Constitutionally-defined and in theory limited government; its why we have the Bill of Rights and it's why pious appeal to one's opinion being shared by the majority is really no more than a simple threat of force. Might does not make right -- and shame on you if you managed to grow up here without grasping that simple fact.
1. Though Europe usually gets less criticism 'cos they feel really, really bad about having done better for themselves. Ooo, guilt-trip points!

2. Or not sustainable -- Third-World Guy, even if he's doing all right by local standards, has to take a lot more interest in where his next meal is coming from than you do. This rarely leaves a lot of time for consideration of Green-ness in the obtaining thereof.


Tango Juliet said...

:) Out of the ballpark again!

Panamared said...

I know that most of the people on this blog already know this, but the USA is not a democracy. The Founding Fathers had no use for a democracy that's why they created a Representative Republic.

Since that principle has not been taught in school for at least fifty years it is understandable that the 99%ers think that the majority rules.

The farther we get away from founding principles the worse it gets.

Old Grouch said...

Of course the question that's never asked is: If we're so wrong, why hasn't MSNBC led by example and cut its carbon footprint by turning off the lights and going out of business.

As Glenn has been known to say, I'll believe there's a crisis when the people who keep telling me there's a
crisis start acting like there's a crisis.

mikee said...

Speaking personally, my majority of one overrules any other subset of the population when it comes to decision-making for me.

MSgt B said...

Well put.

The Jack said...

Well said.

The old saw about "Democracy being two wolves and a sheep voting about what to have for dinner" comes to mind.

Yeah, the whole "there are more of us so let us do what we want" is prettymuch the logic of the mob.

Joe in PNG said...

More about 3rd world guy:
-Because 1st world guy feels guilty about AWG and Colonialism, he gives lots and lots of money to help 3rd world guy out. This money is used by 3rd world leader guy to buy Landcruisers and villas, with some going to his family and cronies.

Roberta X said...

Joe, this seems suboptimal for 3rd-world guy. Small wonder he is often a tad irked.