Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
John writes: Sadly, there’s one thing on the planet that enjoys eternal life, and that’s any US feddle gummint bureaucracy. It’s only propensity is to grow, without limit, until it devours all in its path. The ever-tightening emission standards are but one example. For some time now motor vehicles have been net air purifiers; i.e., what comes out of the exhaust pipe is cleaner then the ambient air. The once time-honored means of committing suicide by locking the garage door, starting the engine, and breathing the exhaust fumes is now hopelessly passe – if you tried it you’d still sitting in the car, perhaps with a mild headache, when the fuel tank ran out. And with ever more strident gun control it’s getting harder to even blow your brains out. Always enjoy your columns!
My reply: Government, in its modern form especially, does not exist to solve problems; it exists to confect and expand them. It has the same disease process as cancer, which consumes and grows, eventually killing the host organism.
By any sane (rational, cost-benefit) standard, the “problem” of vehicle exhaust emissions hasn’t been once since the mid-’90s, which was a quarter-century ago. But the federal regulatory apparat has doubled down, if anything, because it knows it must create the impression of a problem in order to perpetuate itself.
The apparat’s greatest coup has been the characterization of carbon dioxide as an “emission” – which was absolutely necessary because all the real emissions were no longer a problem and because of this fact, further regs had no sane/rationally defensible basis other than the gratuitous – regulation for its own sake, the same as digging holes and them filling them.
Acceptance of the idea that carbon dioxide is an “emission” – in the sense that it is pollution and thus, a problem – recreates the regulatory justification which existed in the late 1960s, which resulted in the creation of the apparat.
If this idea that C02 is an “emission” – i.e., a harmful pollutant – is generally accepted, it will cement the apparat in place for the next 50 years and perhaps forever.
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