Blogfather's blog

Environmentalism and the Yachting Class

Protecting birds, fishes, and above all, social privilege

In Jack Coleman's  Wind farmer's almanac today, he makes a strong link between the leisure class and anti-environmental efforts.

Veblen saw through this crowd - then and now

Excerpts from economist Thorstein Veblen's incisive analysis, "The Theory of the Leisure Class," as relevant today as when the book was published in 1899.

A tip of the hat to author William Tucker, who wrote an essay for Harper's magazine in December 1977 titled, "Environmentalism and the Leisure Class: Protecting birds, fishes, and above all, social privilege."

The essay describes efforts to thwart the proposed Storm King energy project on the Hudson River, an eerie precursor to similar efforts decades later against Cape Wind.

Tucker punctuated his essay with excerpts from "The Theory of the Leisure Class," several of which are also cited here.

Chapter 8, "Industrial Exemption and Conservatism" -

"... If any portion or class of society is sheltered from the action of the environment in any essential respect, that portion of the community, or that class, will adapt its views and its scheme of life more tardily to the altered general situation; it will in so far tend to retard the process of social transformation ..."

" ... In the redistribution of the conditions of life that comes of the altered method of dealing with the environment, the outcome is not an equitable change in the facility of life throughout the group. The altered conditions may increase the facility of life for the group as a whole, but the redistribution will usually result in a decrease of facility or fullness of life for some members of the group ..."

" ... An advance in technical methods, in population, or in industrial organization will require at least some of the members of the community to change their habits of life, if they are to enter with facility and effect into the altered industrial methods; and in so doing they will be unable to live up to received notions as to what are the right and beautiful habits of life ..."

" ... Any change in men's views as to what is good and right in human life make its way but tardily at best. Especially is this true of any change in the direction of what is called progress; that is to say, in the direction of divergence from the archaic position ..."

" ... The leisure class is in great measure sheltered from the stress of those economic exigencies which prevail in any modern, highly organized industrial community. The exigencies of the struggle for the means of life are less exacting for this class than any other; and as a consequence of this privileged position we should expect to find it one of the least responsive of the classes of society to the demands which the situation makes for a further growth of institutions and a readjustment to an altered industrial situation ..."

" ... The leisure class is the conservative class. The exigencies of the general economic situation do not freely or directly impinge upon the members of this class. They are not required under penalty of forfeiture to change their habits of life and theoretical views of the external world to suit the demands of an altered industrial technique, since they are not in the full sense an organic part of the industrial community ..."

"... Therefore these exigencies do not readily produce, in the members of this class, that degree of uneasiness with the existing order which alone can lead any body of men to give up views and methods of life that have become habitual to them. The office of the leisure class in social evolution is to retard the movement and to conserve what is obsolescent ..."

megayacht300jpg" ... Since conservatism is characteristic of the wealthier and therefore more reputable portion of the community, it has acquired a certain honorific or decorative value. It has become prescriptive to such an extent that an adherence to conservative views is comprised as a matter of course in our notions of respectability; and it is imperatively incumbent on all who would lead a blameless life of social repute ..."

" ... Conservatism, being an upper class characteristic, is decorous; and conversely, innovation, being a lower-class phenomenon, is vulgar ..."

" ... The first and most unreflected element in that instinctive revulsion and reprobation with which we turn from all social innovators is this sense of the essential vulgarity of the thing. So that even in cases where one recognizes the substantial merits of the case for which the innovator is spokesman -- as may easily happen if the evils which he seeks to remedy are sufficiently remote in point of time or space or personal contact -- one still cannot but be sensible of the fact that the innovator is a person with whom it is at least distasteful to be associated, and from whose social contact one must shrink. Innovation is bad form ..."

As if to echo Veblen and Coleman's observations, this story in the Palm Beach Evening News shows us how the leisure class is faring today.

 

NIMBY environmentalists say Washington Times

Yesterday's edition of the Washington Post and today's edition of the Washington Times carried these lead editorials which kindly gave credit to our online newspaper for alerting them. - The Editor 
The Washington PostBending With the Wind

FOR YEARS NOW a story line in Massachusetts has featured the Kennedy family, enthusiastic environmentalists all, loudly opposing one of the most environmentally progressive schemes in the state's history: a large, offshore wind farm known as Cape Wind, to be placed in Nantucket Sound, the only viable site for such a farm off the New England coast. Although the farm would cleanly and quietly produce three-quarters of the total electrical demand for Cape Cod and nearby islands -- a region that could otherwise soon be facing serious power shortages -- and although it has passed through multiple regulatory hoops, both Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his uncle, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), have denounced the project, in part on the grounds that it would spoil the views "from 16 historic sites and lighthouses on the cape and nearby islands" and presumably from their own summer house as well... Read the rest of  The Washington Post editorial here.

In a highly unusual concordance, The Conservative Republican Washington Times today agreed in their Editorial below with yesterday's Washinton Post Editorial condemning Congressman Don Young's attempt to stop the Cape Wind project - The Editor  

NIMBY environmentalists 

In the interconnected world of energy and environmental policy, where difficult tradeoffs have always been the rule of the day, a win-win solution like the Cape Wind offshore windmill project doesn't come around very often. Embracing cutting-edge technology, Cape Wind epitomizes the long-term need to exploit renewable energy sources to alleviate America's dependence on fossil fuels. And it could do so in real time... Read the rest of The  Washington Times

Washington Post & Washington Times Editorials agree

Yesterday's edition of the Washington Post and today's edition of the Washington Times carried these lead editorials which kindly gave credit to our online newspaper for alerting them. - The Editor 
The Washington PostBending With the Wind

FOR YEARS NOW a story line in Massachusetts has featured the Kennedy family, enthusiastic environmentalists all, loudly opposing one of the most environmentally progressive schemes in the state's history: a large, offshore wind farm known as Cape Wind, to be placed in Nantucket Sound, the only viable site for such a farm off the New England coast. Although the farm would cleanly and quietly produce three-quarters of the total electrical demand for Cape Cod and nearby islands -- a region that could otherwise soon be facing serious power shortages -- and although it has passed through multiple regulatory hoops, both Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his uncle, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), have denounced the project, in part on the grounds that it would spoil the views "from 16 historic sites and lighthouses on the cape and nearby islands" and presumably from their own summer house as well.

...Here's one possible explanation. According to capecodtoday.com, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, founded by Nantucket Island and Cape Cod homeowners and receiving 80 percent of its funding from just 30 people, has spent more than $1 million on Washington lobbyists, including some with ties to Mr. Young. One of the alliance's founders, William Koch -- owner of a Cape Cod summer home, as well as an oil and gas billionaire who might have other reasons to dislike wind farms -- has separately funneled money through his company's Washington lobbyists to another firm that has ties to Mr. Young... Read the rest of  The Washington Post editorial here.

In a highly unusual concordance, The Conservative Republican Washington Times today agreed in their Editorial below with yesterday's Washinton Post Editorial condemning Congressman Don Young's attempt to stop the Cape Wind project - The Editor  

NIMBY environmentalists 

In the interconnected world of energy and environmental policy, where difficult tradeoffs have always been the rule of the day, a win-win solution like the Cape Wind offshore windmill project doesn't come around very often. Embracing cutting-edge technology, Cape Wind epitomizes the long-term need to exploit renewable energy sources to alleviate America's dependence on fossil fuels. And it could do so in real time... Read the rest of The  Washington Times

Now is the time for all good politicians...

I WANT YOU TO BLOG...to blog for their party

We have asked every Cape Codder who is seeking elective office in this November election to let us create a free "Cape Blog" for them.

To date four have taken us up on the offer, and they're all Republicans. Is this an example of why the GOP does so well at the polls even when they're in the minority?

Free, Write and Twenty-one

So I'm calling all candidates again.  Check out our Blog Chowder, and join the fun. Remember, "all ink is good ink," as long as they spell your name correctly. Right now most Dem and GOP candidates are totally unknown to voters outside their own inner circle.

You don't win elections that way. 

We assume that one reason some pols have not responded is the normal, human desire to not attempt something new in which they have no experience.

We have a cure for that.

The Care & Feeding of Cape Bloggers

CapeCodTODAY.com is willing to train each of you, and at no cost whatsoever. We have a simple tutorial which we supply, and someone is always available if you get in a jam.  More importantly, we check every new post of every blog to look for errors, which most times we fix ourselves and email you what went wrong.

We even supply photos and other art to enhance your writing. 

In the next weeks we are putting on group training sessions for politicians by party. The Republicans have accepted our offer, and we'll start training any GOP candidate who wishes to join Bob Dwyer and myself in our training room on Route 134 in Dennis.

How about some of you Democrats getting after your Committeemen and Committeewomen to let us do the same for you?

Blog ChowderHere are the GOP bloggers already getting free (L)INK on CapeCodTODAY.com:

Any Cape pol who isn't blogging should turn green with envy. These are all well written, interesting messages which will change minds and influence elections. Our web traffic (the number of people who read our website) has tripled in the past twelve months, and we credit most of that increase to local interest in our blogs which now numbers over fifty and run the gamut of local interests from a forty-something Cape Mom writing about her world to a Big Brothers/Big Sisters staffer who is just beginning a two-thousand mile hike along the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine and writing about it whenever he gets a connection.

If you're a pol (or anyone else who wants to blog on CCtoday), email me at [email protected] and we'll have you blogging in a "Cape Cod Minute". 

You know you?re from Massachusetts if...

pocketbookThis list has been making its way around the web, and no one knows the original author, but this version was sent from the wilds of Hampshire County by Chris & Julie Cowan. Please add your reasons in the comment area below:

You know you’re from Massachusetts if:

  • You know what a pocketbook is
  • You call them what they really are “sneakers” (not “tennies”)
  • You think if someone is nice to you they either want something or they are from out of town
  • Orange LineThe public transportation system is known as the "T" and you'd rather drive in bumper to bumper traffic for 4 hours to get to Boston than be caught dead on the "Orange Line"
  • You could own a small town in Iowa for the cost of your house
  • There are 24 Dunkin Donuts shops within 15 minutes of your house and that is how you give directions
  • If you stay on the same road long enough it eventually has three different names
  • 53 degrees is "on the warm side"
  • Brigham'sYou've walked to Brigham's for an ice cream cone "to go" in the snow
  • You cringe every time you hear some actor/actress imitate the "Boston Accent" on TV
  • You call chocolate sprinkles "jimmies"
  • A water fountain is called a bubbler. Say it "bubbla".
  • You can go from one side of town to the other in less than fifteen minutes
  • You know how to pronounce towns like Worcester, Eastham, Chatham, Haverhill, Peabody, Scituate, and Leominster
  • You know what they sell at a "packie"
  • You keep an ice scraper in your car all year round
  • Paranoia sets in when you can't see a Dunkin Donuts, ATM or CVS
  • You've pulled out of a side street and used your car to block oncoming traffic so you can make a left
  • Christmas TreeYou've bragged about saving money at The Christmas Tree Shop
  • You know what a "regular coffee" is!
  • You can navigate a rotary without a problem
  • You use the words "wicked" "pissa" and "good" in the same sentence
  • You know what a frappe is
  • Saint Patrick's Day is your second favorite holiday
  • You drink tonic and would never consider using it on your hair
  • You never say "Cape Cod" you say "The Cape"
  • Route 495You went to Old Sturbridge Village and Plymouth Plantation at least once, in elementary school, but never to Bunka Hill
  • You know the Mass Pike and 495 create some sort of strange weather dividing line
PLUS: Your reasons below -

Oil can make you laugh - a little

Maureen DowdNew York Times columnist Maureen Dowd (on right) continues to tweak the powerful in a most amusing manner.

I can still remember how this so-called "Eastern Establishment Liberal" was one of the most effective thorns in Bill Clinton's ego during the "Monica Monologues", but today she's being queried by the Saudi Ambassador. It's well worth the minute it takes to register and read the whole column, but here's a taste:

NY TimesOilman Plays Ozone Man
By MAUREEN DOWD, WASHINGTON

The Saudi ambassador summoned me to the embassy on Thursday, across the street from the Watergate.

He wanted to know if Americans were still addicted to oil.

I assured him we were.

The Prince with friendsPrince Turki al-Faisal (in the middle on left), the charming new envoy from the royal family, was confused about W.'s suddenly morphing into Ozone Man, as Poppy Bush called Al Gore in '92. At the State of the Union address at the Capitol Tuesday night, the prince watched with chagrin as the ex-Texas oilman urged breaking our dependence by replacing most Mideast oil imports with wood chips and ethanol, a word usually heard only quadrennially when pols pander during the Iowa caucuses.

The prince, dressed in long white robe and checkered headdress, explained that last fall, when Condi Rice was in Jidda, the Saudis and the U.S. launched a "strategic dialogue," which included a promise by the Saudis to pump more oil. And now the president promises that the U.S. will need less oil.

Which way are the desert winds blowing?

I told the prince it was politics. W. is just mouthing conservation arguments to offset Americans' disgust at the obscene profits of Exxon Mobil and Halliburton, high gas prices and a conflict in Iraq that Rummy now gallingly dubs "the long war." Shouldn't it be "the wrong war"? (Halliburton never gets punished for bilking the Pentagon. The Army just awarded the company a $385 million contract to build detention centers for the Department of Homeland Security.)

Bush presidents, I told Prince Turki, sometimes say things without realizing that they are expected to act on their words. I expressed some doubt that the Duke of Halliburton, who dismissed conservation as a "personal virtue," would let W. go all "Earth in the Balance." It's not easy being green with smoggy Dick keeping a gimlet eye on you. The Saudi ambassador said he liked the vice president...

Read the rest of this NY Times Op Ed piece here, and comment below.

How to "sell" Cape Wind to Patriots

I occurs to me that the key to getting patriots and the more conservative Cape Codders to be supportive of the Cape Wind project may be as simple a a new coat of paint. Like this:
Khaki Blades
What do you think, Jim?

It COULD happen here !

It COULD happen here!
If you've been reading our Plymouth Pilgrim Blogger, you already know the danger to Cape Cod which is inherent in the Nuclear Power Plant ten miles over the Sagamore Bridge.

Maybe Greenpeace will wake us all up with this frightening mpg entitled:

Friday The 13th.
Watch your worse nightmare unfold.

Tourism Meccas which welcome the wind

The entrance to Atlantic City

In your face at Atlantic City

According to an AP story in Monday's Springfield MA News-Leader, "The wind resource in the United States is comparable to the oil resource in Saudi Arabia," said Tom Gray, deputy executive director of the association. "It's a major strategic national resource we should be making every effort to develop."

The lead photo (on the right) in the article shows the two turbines from the Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm which are prominently displayed at the Route 30 entrance to Atlantic City, N.J., on the site of the ACUA Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Officials in Atlantic City, N.J., dedicated the nation's first coastal wind farm last month, while Fairfield-based General Electric Co. announced a startup near San Diego of the largest wind power farm on Indian land.

Whole Foods leads the way to wind

Today's Houston Chronicle features a Bloomberg News Service story entitled "Whole Foods makes record purchase of renewable energy". The story goes on to state "The purchase is equivalent to all the electricity used in the company's supermarkets and other buildings, Austin, Texas- based Whole Foods said today in a statement. The credits were acquired from Boulder, Colorado-based wind power broker Renewable Choice Energy.

"Offsetting 100 percent of our electricity use with renewable, clean energy strengthens our commitment to be a leader in environmental stewardship by helping to clean the air and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels," Michael Besancon, a Whole Foods regional president, said in the statement.

Palm Spring's attractionConventional electricity generation, from such fuels as coal and natural gas, is the largest industrial source of U.S. air pollution, said Kurt Johnson, Green Power Partnership director at the Environmental Protection Agency. The commitment by Whole Foods to wind power is "an outstanding example of environmental leadership," he said in the statement.

Why aren't Cape Codders thinking about the vision instead of the view?

Palms Springs is one of America's wealthiest cities and one of California top tourism areas. The opening animated gif of Palm's Springs official tourism bureau's web site (above on right) on the area's attractions features their wind farm on the mountains just outside the city as you approach it from L.A. 

The wind farm is one of America's first and largest and continues to attract visitors more than a quarter century after its opening. 

 

 

Hypocrisy to Protect Nantucket Sound

Why isn't anyone upset at Nantucket Electric's new cable? 

Click to see largerA few days ago in the Boston Globe and in today's Cape Cod Times there are articles and photos showing Nantucket Electric building a new electric transmission line across Nantucket Sound in order to meet the Nantucket's surging electric demand. To see the map larger, click here and here to see other maps for the project.

In the last decade 4,000 new homes almost all with air conditioning and loads of other electricity consuming devices have been built on the island.

Double the length, none of the criticism 

Since this cable is double the length of Cape Wind's planned cable and is going through the very same waters in Nantucket Sound, have you ever wondered why the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound and WindStop are not throwing themselves in front of the construction vessel?

Have you ever wondered why the Alliance spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on lawyers and so called experts fighting Cape Wind's 13 mile cable at the Mass Energy Facility Siting Board and is still appealing the Board's very favorable decision while not attending or uttering a peep during Nantucket Electric's breeze through hearings.

16 months for some, 5 years for others 

Epsilon Associates of Mayard MA built the 26-mile submarine cable from Harwich to Nantucket. The project evaluation and permitting were completed in 16 months. Permitting requirements included Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) review, a Chapter 91 license, wetlands permitting, community meetings, and Cape Cod Commission review. Evaluation of additional supply was considered but not required. A follow-up study was conducted to address environmental and permitting issues with respect to increasing electrical supply to the island with either a second cable or on-Island generation. 

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