Thomas Sowell

 Like other special interest groups, the environmental extremists have a disproportionate influence on government officials, including in this case those who run the National Park Service. One of their coups has been to get the gas station in Yosemite Valley removed. The next nearest gas station is 13 miles outside the park and it charges more than $3 a gallon.

 Was the gas station in Yosemite Valley spoiling some natural scenery? Far from it. It was part of a built-up area that included motel buildings, restaurants, and a gigantic parking lot. That parking lot remains, with something like a hundred cars on it and next to it is a very unattractive tent city.

 Esthetics had nothing to do with removing the gas station. The environmental zealots know that the automobile is the key to ordinary people having access to the national parks. The more hassles are created for people driving automobiles, the more people will be discouraged from coming, advancing the goal of reserving the national parks for environmentalists and for those who live the lifestyle that the environmentalists approve of.

 The essence of bigotry is denying other people the same free choices you have. Many of those who call themselves environmentalists could more accurately be called green bigots.

 The automobile allows people to see Yosemite in their own ways and at their own pace, which is especially important for the elderly and for families with small children. But the park bureaucrats and the green bigots want to force people out of their cars and regiment them into busses, to be taken when, where and how the bureaucrats decide.

 The restrictionists love to talk about the "fragile" environment and "saving" it for "future generations." No definition of "fragile" is offered. What this amounts to is saying that future generations of green bigots can keep out future generations of ordinary citizens and taxpayers.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate