Gone with the Wind Farm

Posted: Sep 07, 2007 12:01 AM
Gone with the Wind Farm

It is good to be back to work this week, refreshed from our summer breaks. Patty and I took our time in August to visit our son and daughter-in-law and their two children at their beach cottage on the lovely island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts—yes, that Martha’s Vineyard, made famous by the Kennedys, the Clintons, and scores of other politicians and media figures who take refuge on this lovely wooded island, covered with charming cedar-shingled cottages, rocky wind-swept coastlines, and surrounded by yachts.

During the high season this summer, the island’s wealthy gentry held a succession of elegant fundraisers for the likes of Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and—with a bipartisan touch—Mitt Romney. It is a watering hole for the likes of Walter Cronkite, Mike Wallace, Carly Simon, all kinds of movie stars. John Kerry is nearby in Nantucket, and the Kennedys—including environmentalist Robert Kennedy, Jr.—look over from Cape Cod.

Clearly, Cape Cod and the islands are the places to go if you want to watch celebrities. It is also the place to be if you want to see liberal hypocrisy in action. Liberal hypocrisy, you ask?

Most liberal politicians ardently support proposals intended to save the environment. They fly around the country in private jets, urging Americans to give up their SUVs, drive hybrid cars, and leave a smaller carbon footprint. When it comes to reducing their own carbon footprints—well, that’s another story.

For years, the wealthy elite of Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod have lobbied hard against a proposed wind farm in Nantucket Sound. The proposed complex of 130 wind turbines, 400 feet high, would sit eight miles out in the Sound and be confined to 24 square miles. On a clear day, they would barely be visible from the island’s waterfront homes.

The wind farm would generate enough energy to take care of most of the electrical needs of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. And by replacing oil, it would greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Environmental groups like Greenpeace love the wind farm proposal.

But apparently, to paraphrase the late Leona Helmsley, only little people should sacrifice to save the environment. As for the rich and privileged—why, what’s the point of spending the summer in an ocean-front home if there is a chance they might glimpse a wind turbine in the distance? What a thing to ask!

That is why the elite of the islands have hired high-powered lobbyists to make the wind farm go away—or at least, into somebody else’s backyard.

Almost all of Massachusetts’s politicians are against it, except Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), who voted against killing it but will not say he is for it.

These people say they want to save the environment. But they also want their beautiful little enclave to stay just the way it has always been: a place where they can retreat from the world and contemplate great things—like how to prevent global warming.

This story ought to serve as a warning to us all—not only of how hypocritical politicians can be (sadly, we’re used to that), but also of how easy it is for people to justify their own behavior. I am grateful that, as Christians, we are held to a higher standard—or at least ought to be—that we obey gladly God’s commands to be responsible stewards of the environment, even when it costs us.

Well, now I am back in Washington—away, that is, from all that liberal hypocrisy.