Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Make mine a V8, thanks

Although I voted Green last election, I'm not much of an environmentalist - I mainly voted for them cos when it comes to social issues, they're like a lefty version of ACT. Who can you rely on to call banning party pills what it is, or tell the govt where to stick their amendments to the Suppression of Terrorism Act? Only the Greens and ACT. So, which one you should vote for really just comes down to how keen you are on Ayn Rand and Roger Douglas. There aren't really any other contenders.

That said, environmentalists generally give my arse the ache. Not so much because of their concern for the environment, but because they're all hippies, and their party attracts food nutters like Sue Kedgeley and opportunist commos like Sue Bradford. OK, that's not really a sound basis for forming an opinion on a political movement, but nobody's perfect, least of all me.

What really gets on my wick is the environmentalist attitude to cars. Those who recall my posts at Sir Humphreys might have noted I rather like cars. We're hearing plenty at the moment about how we shouldn't use cars, it's bad for the environment and it's using up all the damn oil. Well, OK, the emissions are bad for the environment, I'll grant you that. Nothing like so bad as Third World subsistence agriculturalists turning out a kid a year and defoliating the surrounding landscape for firewood, mind you, but it remains a valid point.

But using up the oil? What the hell kind of an argument is that? Apparently, if we were all to start biking, taking the bus and walking more often, we wouldn't use up the planet's oil reserves so quickly. Er, and? What, exactly? We use our vehicles less and it takes a few decades longer for oil to become so scarce it prices the internal combustion engine out of existence? Surely I can't be the only one to find this argument less than compelling? You know, the question of whether driving a Daimler V12 becomes an unreasonable prospect 10 years from now or 50 isn't really one that is going to drive me to getting on my bike.

Face it folks, we're going to use that oil up. The only thing that's going to stop us using it is scarcity increasing the price to the point where plastic bottle caps become units of currency. Later generations may curse us for it, but the likelihood of them being in any sense our moral superiors is about equivalent to the likelihood of us giving up using oil because it would be nice to leave some for posterity, so fuck 'em. If they were here, they'd enjoy putting their foot down in a V8 too.


Anonymous said...

"Although I voted Green last election"

Why ?

Are you a naive, giddy social science undergrad who thinks voting Green will "save the planet"? Are you an unkempt, unemployable and unproductive beatnik who wants to the state to keep providing you with a portion of the wealth siphoned off the productive efforts of others? Are you a lofty, cardigan-wearing academic wannabe who mistakingly believes that echoing liberal-leftist pieties and talking points about how "Bush lied" constitutes yourself as having a rational and courageous
intelligence? Would you have ordinarily voted Labour, except you don't deem Labour to be far-left enough?

Psycho Milt said...

Why ?

I answered that right there in the first paragraph. Did you not read further than the first sentence?

...you don't deem Labour to be far-left enough?

Bingo. Not ordinarily a Labour voter, but that last part nails it. You haven't read a lot of my posts, have you?

the deity formerly known as nigel6888 said...

totally agree. While I think you're politics are nuts, your integrity is clear - and it IS a shame that the greens have been infiltrated by hippy nutters and commies. On the oil thing, I think you nail it - there is zero reason to believe the next generation but one is our cultural superior, and i struggle to see an "instrinsic value" argument.


Mark said...

Never vote the Greens - they don't understand economics.

If oil demand is high then the price is high, and people will be forced to look for cheaper alternatives or develop new technology to use it more efficently or find an alternative source of energy.

If oil demand is low then prcie is low because people are forced to use alternatives then there is no incentive (read profit) in develop new technology to use it more efficently or find an alternative source of energy.

You need to vote ACT.


An interesting explanation of your beliefs, well said.
I think higher oil prices offers some opportunities for petrolheads.
You may recall a few weeks back I blogged on the price of some second hand cars I saw by the roadside.
A decent looking Jaguar cost $3000 or so, then later down the road I saw a little Toyota or something going for more than twice the price.
The cost of cars involves more than just running costs, so if you don't drive everywhere, why not have a gas guzzler for weekend treats, especially if you can pick one up for a song, which might be the case.
That cheap little runabout is not cheap if it costs a fortune to buy.
Whale Oil, perhaps not with his tongue in cheek, has blogged about how he is looking forwards to the day when petrol is so rich only rich people like himself can afford to drive.
Adolf has noted the roads are already getting quiter.
Certainly the bus stop at Silverdale, as I dropped at mate off a 7am this morning seemed busier than it was a few weeks back.

Of course how much of the price of petrol is down to tax? Here in New Zealand it is about half and many are unhappy.
In the UK the tax element is far higher. As a Pom I recall it was 80% of the purchase price.
Now petrol is £1.20 or $3 a litre and people are in uproar. Truckies have been protesting in London and other motorists are unhappy at Liarbour plans to increase the annual road tax on larger vehicles to several hundred pounds or more.
There is only a limit to the environmentalism that people will support. And We have seen both in New Zealand and the UK have gone way beyond what people find acceptable.

Dave Mann said...

Yes, I think your political choice is nuts too Psycho, but that doesn't make you my 'enemy' and you write well and anybody who likes a good V8 can't be all bad!

I think there's a huge lot of sense in the 'market-price' argument about gas vis-a-vis so-called 'peak oil'.

I'm sure (although I don't have figures right at my fingertips at the moment) that there are massive reserves around the world still waiting to be tapped which are rather more difficult to reach right now and are therefore deemed 'uneconomic'. But hey, economics are just a man-made concept and price is all relative, so, as current reserves are depleted, other sources will come on stream. No real problem in the medium term.

Also not a problem is the fact that mankind is hardly likely at any point to just sit down and say "oohh... no gas, lets all go back to the caves". If you have ANY faith at all in mankind as an intelligent species, it is blindingly obvious that we will develop other means of generating power. Also, the 'Oil' companies aren't actually just 'oil' companies at all; they are in the business of providing a readily accessible power source for vehicles. What the fuck does anybody think THEY would do if there was no more oil? Just go off to a cave with everybody else? Of course not.... they are probably at the forefront of researching alternatives right now, but they'd be stupid to make too much noise about it.

Psycho, you can look forward to the day when you can drive a V8 lookalike of your choice powered by a pea-sized pellet with a built-in rev/vibration noise generator which simulates your daimler better than the original.

Thats the V8 problem fixed.... now, what can be done about your voting pattern? lol

Anonymous said...

PM it seems to me that you are a bit of a freedom lover, libertarian maybe.
So why do you vote for those watermelon greens? Green on the outside but red on the inside.
Greenies just want to control everything we do.
This is true be it smacking, smoking, eating pies and forcing people onto public transport.
If you are a lover of freedom and it seems you enjoy the freedom of the open road, you need to reassess your voting.

Clunking Fist said...

I quite LIKE my little Toyoita THANK YOU.

It's my Scottish heritage.

Psycho Milt said...

Why the Greens and not ACT? I have a lot in common with ACT, except for one fairly important thing - I'm a socialist. I expect you can imagine that making a vote for ACT reasonably difficult.

I may agree with ACT on plenty of things relating to individual freedom, but there's a problem of overarching philosophy. As a socialist, my philosophy is "We're all in this together, how can we help each other out?" As property-worshippers, the ACT supporters' philosophy tends to be "What's in it for me, asshole?" The Greens, for all that they're smelly hippies who hate cars and have bizarre beliefs about damn near everything, at least are not guilty of elevating property above people or declaring "Me first!" to be some kind of virtue.

Gooner said...

Ah yes Milt, but there's a philosophical theory, Utilitarianism I think (it's been a while, must dust off the cobwebs form the Ayn Rand books) that says, and I've known of socialists to agree, that by individuals acting in their best interest is best for the community.

Only by individuals being as free as possible to achieve what is best for them will society achieve what is best for it.

Or something like that.

the deity formerly known as nigel6888 said...

hmm PM, not sure I agree, capitalists, or at least those on the libertarian side of the isle, remain attracted to the invisible hand of Adam Smith. Whereby self interest is definitely in the interest of the wider community.

Its a believe I subscribe to passionately, greed is good because it lubricates economic transactions, which drive the engine of prosperity.

Every socialist regime is poor and authoritarian, as a reasonable bloke of a liberal disposition, you must appreciate that the dogma and the practice of socialism seem to diverge. Even in NZ, where fortunately the greens have little real power, their urges are to control and to stop people exercising their liberty.

Psycho Milt said...

All very good in theory Nigel6888, but in practice amounts to the freedom to exercise all the liberty you can afford. To put people in charge of the country who consider single-minded devotion to their own interests to be a virtue strikes me as utterly insane. It's a recipe for ensuring magnificent prosperity for those at the upper ends of the bell curves of human ability, at the expense of completely writing off the lower ends of those curves. It's not a vision of society I find attractive.

Clunking Fist said...


For a very basic idea of how the market "works".

You say libertarianism "amounts to the freedom to exercise all the liberty you can afford."

I say socialism amounts to the freedom to exercise all the liberty someone else decides you deserve, paid for by what the taxpayer can barely afford.

Why do you believe option 2 (socialism) superior to option 1 (libertarianism)? No two people think alike, but socialism (and conservatism) would have you believe that they can be moulded in such a way that they can be.
Maybe that’s why, after you see through the initial appearance of liberal-ness, you see the cold hard reality of the necessity of conforming to what the group (or rather its leaders) dictates. This lack of liberty sees socialists respecting one religion, but not another. One lifestyle choice, but not another. Conservatism does that too, of course, and it’s a good reason to avoid that, too.

Ultimately socialism fails because it fails to recognise that only free enterprise CREATES wealth. A society cannot tax its way to riches. A society cannot spend its way to riches.
Psycho, I suspect that you are not a “socialist”. I suspect that you are a normal bloke who believes that we need the backstop of a welfare system, to catch those that fall or fail.
Socialists take welfare beyond that, resulting in dependency and waste. Their rose tinted glasses prevent them from seeing this, so it gets worse as they tinker more and more with “programmes” and “initiatives” that spend an awful lot of money, but achieve next to nothing. Not understanding the value of money, they fail to understand how spending it loosely, unwisely, results in opportunities lost.
Libertarians and Conservatives, on the whole, do understand the value of money. This is probably why they get lumped together by those on the left, when they don’t have a lot else in common. Just see how National (conservative) vote with Liarbore (socialist) on things that Act and Greens vote against. The party pill issue being a good case.

I like the wording: The “selfish” who consider “single-minded” devotion to their own interests to be a virtue.
I think folk get too emotional when those words are used. “Selfish”and “self-interest” is what we do when we spend our money, when we change jobs for better pay or less hours, when we give to a charity of our choice. It is a jargon word used by economists, but unfortunately it conjures up images of Gordon Gecko. It actually refers to you, me, the family running the fruit n vege shop, the self-employed plumber, the two guys who set up their own software company and now employ 20. It is a simplistic way of explaining how transactions take place in that complex beast called the economy.
Anyway, I’m just rambling now, so I’ll shut up.