Monday, March 31, 2008
Cutting to the Chase
A Jehovah's "Witness" left a pamphlet in my front door a few days ago that gave me a good chuckle.
After only three paragraphs and two biblical references, the pamphlet got right to the point:
You are invited to a special Bible talk entitled "Who Is Qualified to Rule Mankind?" which will be given at the time and place shown below. [bold added]At least anyone who goes will know what he's getting himself into....
How to Run a Cult
Over the weekend, a news story surfaced about yet another doomsday sect whose followers holed themselves up for the apocalypse on the word of their "prophet".
Nothing new there, but I was both startled and amused by the degree of personal autonomy its congregants had forfeited to their pastor:
He reportedly told followers that, in the afterlife, they would judge whether others deserved heaven or hell.I frequently comment here on the power of the philosophical ideas one holds to affect his actions, and yet even I am amazed from time to time at what some people are willing to forfeit in favor of otherworldly considerations.
Followers were not allowed to watch television, listen to the radio or handle money, Russian media reported. [bold added]
This is one of those times.
Every Hour is "Earth Hour" in North Korea
Jim May pointed me to this news story, which mentions Google's annoying part in this anti-capitalist crusade:
From the Sydney Opera House to Rome's Colosseum to the Sears Tower's famous antennas inChicago, floodlit icons of civilization went dark Saturday for Earth Hour, a worldwide campaign to highlight the threat of climate change.The bulk of the rest of this mindless article is a long litany of cities -- not including my own, I am happy to say -- that took part, but I did find the following noteworthy:
The environmental group WWF urged governments, businesses and households to turn back to candle power for at least 60 minutes starting at 8 p.m. wherever they were.
The campaign began last year in Australia, and traveled this year from the South Pacific to Europe to North America in cadence with the setting of the sun.
"What's amazing is that it's transcending political boundaries and happening in places like China, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea," said Andy Ridley, executive director of Earth Hour. "It really seems to have resonated with anybody and everybody."Count me as someone for whom this does not "resonate" and please explain to me why being "wedded" to the technologically advanced "lifestyle" natural for my species is somehow wrong.
"There's a widespread belief that somehow people in the United States don't understand that this is a problem that we're lazy and wedded to our lifestyles. (Earth Hour) demonstrates that that is wrong," Richard Moss, a member of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the climate change vice president for WWF, said in Chicago on Saturday. [bold added]
Revealingly, North Korea, which resolutely keeps its lights out all day, every day, as seen in the satellite image to the right, is left completely unmentioned.
Oh. But that might have distracted everyone from the equivocation that dismissive words like "lifestyle" are meant to encourage. Man survives by using his mind to alter the environment to better suit his needs. When we start treating untouched nature as inherently good, we are renouncing our own means of survival. "Earth Hour" is meant to make these contradictory objectives -- preserving nature untouched and our own survival -- seem compatible long enough to get people to buy into the green agenda.
In fact, man needs electricity and the freedom to use it as he sees fit. The environmentalists want to take both from us, but know that they will not convince us to accept their agenda if it is advocated openly.
I don't like to waste money by burning lights that I do not use, but such waste illustrates on a concrete level that capitalism brings abundance and that men are free to use it. To make a point of turning out as many lights as possible is a powerful symbol -- but not a positive one.