Environment: Globe Touts Cambridge's Feel-Good Foolishness

The great William F. Buckley, Jr. once famously said that he
"would rather be governed by the first 200 names in the Boston
phone book, than by the Harvard faculty." The National Review
founder might well feel the same about the elected officials of Harvard's
home of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
For as described in a Boston Globe editorial of this morning, How green was my city?, Cambridge's
city earth mothers and fathers have unveiled a nonsensical exercise in
feel-good environmentalism. A nonsensical exercise which, of course, the
Boston Globe heartily applauds.

Beware government programs with slogans, particularly ones of the breathtaking
hubris inherent in "saving money and the planet" that Cambridge has slapped on this project. Yes, forget about
our brave warriors confronting terrorism worldwide. The true heroes are those
professors of feminist studies and purveyors of Marxism who screw in fluorescent
light bulbs.

The essence of the program is the creation of a revolving $70 million fund to
pay for insulation and more efficient light bulbs and air
conditioners. The Globe assures us that "the program will
need no local or state tax money." So where will the money come
from? "From conservation fees on utility bills and from a statewide
utility rate increase." I see. It's not a tax. It's
a "fee." And local residents will surely feel much better
knowing that the additional dollars they're being forced to spend aren't for taxes; they're
for higher statewide utility rates. And of course, driving up utility
rates should help drive more businesses, jobs and people out of the
Commonwealth, which should in turn lead to less despoiling of the environment.
Talk about your win-win!

And what will be the global impact of the program? Will it stave off by
one milisecond Al Gore's doomsday drowning of Wall Street? Please. Even
if people accept that man is responsible for global warming, so long as India
and China continue
to churn out CO2 unabated, what happens in one smallish city on the banks of
the Charles is less than meaningless.

All of which is not to say that the program is worthless. Far from
it. It will surely give those Prius-driving Harvard profs one more reason
to feel morally superior to their colleagues at institutions in other,
less-enlightened burgs.

Mark has an LL.M. from Harvard. Contact him at mark@gunhill.net

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.