"The law, in its majestic equality" wrote Anatole France, "forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."
But apparently not environmentalism. On that score there's one rule for the rich and one rule for the rest.
Witness the current fight in Cape Cod over an effort to build wind farms just offshore. It features sanctimonious environmentalists, super-rich property owners, and super-rich, property-owning, sanctimonious environmentalists feeding on each other like big hungry sharks in a small tank.
The basic situation is that some environmentalists and a company called Cape Wind want to build 130 windmills way out in the ocean to help offset energy costs in the region - and to satisfy all those demands that we find substitutes for evil fossil fuels.
Meanwhile, other environmentalists and conservationists are eager to stop the wind farm from being built, largely because it will mar the view from their extravagant coastal homes. Leading this charge is Sen. Ted Kennedy, whose famous compound would have a nice view of the turbines. (To be fair, though most people say the turbines would be hard to see except on very clear days, and even then they'd be tiny blips on the horizon.)
But Ted wants no such thing spoiling cocktail hour on the veranda. So he drafted his famously green nephew Robert to join the fight - even though Robert is a senior lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council, which strongly backs the project.
Obviously, the reason this is so much fun is that the stakes are so small for everybody except a handful of people who deserve to lose. Personally, I couldn't really care one way or the other. I think the aesthetic arguments have some merit, but I also think wind power has more potential than most of its critics claim. The windmills would ultimately provide about 75 percent of the energy used by Cape Cod and the surrounding Islands, including Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard - in a clean, renewable form that, unlike older technologies, wouldn't kill birds in an avian frappe. Seventy-five percent of the area's power needs may be a rounding error when discussing America's total energy consumption, but that's a lot for any specific community.
But why get distracted by the merits of the issue when the real fun is to take a Nestea Plunge into the swirling waters of limousine liberalism.
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