Sunday, July 08, 2007

A Riot is an Ugly Thing

"A riot is an ugly thing... undt, I tink, that it is chust about time ve had vun!" -- Inspector Kemp (Kenneth Mars), "Young Frankenstein" (1974)

One of the worst riots in US history occurred in 1863. During the New York City Draft Riots, more than 100 people were killed and dozens of buildings burned and destroyed. The rioting was in response to strict draft laws imposed by Abraham Lincoln to bolster Union troops.

All male citizens between twenty and thirty-five and all unmarried men between thirty-five and forty-five years of age were subject to military duty. The federal government entered all eligible men into a lottery.

The rioters -- mainly poor Irish -- were enraged at one provision of the draft law: Those who could afford to hire a substitute or pay the government three hundred dollars might avoid enlistment.


Segue to today's global warming debate. One of the tactics that global warming alarmist celebrities such as Al Gore (or performers at the recent "Live Earth" concerts) use is to purchase "carbon offsets." They live their lives any way they want, using ten times as much energy as the average citizen, then investing in companies that claim to plant trees or provide solar panels to third world countries, or some such. (Aren't they just outsourcing their own climate damage to poor people?)

In essence, the rich can pollute or use as much energy as they want, because they can buy "carbon offsets," while the rest of us have to change our lifestyles to accomodate their demands. "Do what I say, not what I do" has never been better illustrated. Many people refer to the concerts and the celebrity musicians' lifestyles as "private jets for climate change."

Like the Civil War draft laws, once again the rich can buy their way out of the responsibilities that they are desperately trying to impose on the rest of us -- If we let them make up the rules of the game.

So far hypocrites like Al Gore and Madonna (who uses 100 times the amount of energy the average Briton uses, according to one report) have been able to slide by with the "carbon offset" gimmick. The media refuse to point out the blatant violation of principle these energy hogs casually ignore.

So, while a riot is an ugly thing, will future historians talk about the "Carbon Riots" of the early 21st century?

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