Published in Nashville Business Journal as Business Improves the Conditions of Mankind

[October 23, 2003]

Business Improves Man's Environment

By Wayne Dunn

For decades environmentalists have cried that man should develop "alternative" sources of energy. So how do they pursue their alleged goal?

Well, they back like-minded politicians-- who invent nothing but obstacles to production. They stage protests-- which yield nothing but vandalism. And they rage against capitalism-- the only system in which worthy creations can effectively be financed and brought to mass market.

One environmentalist is celebrated by her peers not, say, for striving to invent a new kind of generator or more fuel-efficient engine, but for spending two years perched atop a redwood.

Clearly, a viable, cleaner form of energy won't be created by some snarling brick-thrower or some loafer who nests with squirrels. A material value isn't going to spring from those who advise we forsake material things. Progress stems from capitalists pursuing self-interest, not naturalists preaching self-sacrifice.

Yet it's the profit-oriented achievers that the "save the planet" crowd hate most. The men and women with the ingenuity, ambition, and business acumen that a successful new energy venture would require, environmentalists lob eggs at.

But really it's businesspeople-- not "Friends of the Earth"-- who, by translating scientific discoveries into practical reality, actually advance human life and improve man's environment.

Take water quality, for example. Because of modern filtration and purification systems, American parents don't have to worry about their children dying from any of a dozen water-borne diseases that kill millions of kids in non-industrialized nations. This makes for a healthier setting-- in other words, a more livable environment.

Take air quality. When the weather's freezing, we can be in warm air. When the weather's scorching, we can be in cool air. Heating and air conditioning, then, provide better living and working conditions-- in other works, a more hospitable environment.

But in France, for example, where environmental laws make energy so artificially expensive that citizens can't afford to run air conditioners and typically don't even own one, 13,000 people (mostly seniors) died in a recent heat wave.

I guess some might say those poor souls are in a better environment now up in heaven. Perhaps that's the sort of environmental "improvement" the ecology movement has in mind for the rest of us.

Indeed, if the ecologists' ideas had held sway centuries ago, few of us would be here today. Our ancestors would likely have perished in some plague, famine, or sundry "pestilence" that characterized pre-industrial times.

In fact, the average lifespan back then was around 30 years. Now, thanks to capitalism, it's nearly 80. As Ayn Rand put it, "Anyone over 30 years of age today, give a silent 'Thank you' to the nearest, grimiest, sootiest smokestack you can find."

If the planet truly did require ecological salvation (and there's evidence aplenty indicating it doesn't), ask yourself who'd be more apt to achieve a solution-- a million "Earth First!" members moved by their "love for nature"? Or one businessman the caliber of Edison or Ford driven by the profit motive?


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© COPYRIGHT 2003 by Wayne Dunn