The "Alternative Energy" Farm Bill Fiasco
Aug 6, 2007
Irvine, CA--Congressmen from both parties are celebrating the $300 billion 2007 Farm Bill, much of which grants huge subsidies to producers of agricultural "alternative energy," such as corn ethanol, as a "progressive" achievement. "But this bill represents not progress, but regress for America’s energy future," said Alex Epstein, a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute. While any government action to 'do something' about global warming is considered virtuous on its face, the truth is the exact opposite."
"The purpose of government is the protection of the individual rights of all to their lives, liberty, and property. For government action to be justified in response to claims of global warming, it must be scientifically demonstrable--in a court of law--that individuals' burning of carbon fuels will do demonstrable harm to specific individuals through some sort of catastrophic change in weather. The state of evidence regarding global warming today is not even close to that; even the highly politicized, highly speculative United Nations projections of a gradual 8-degree average warming over the next 100 years, would be easily dealt with by industrialized people, who have sturdy houses, air conditioners, and sunscreen to cope with heat or bad weather, and ample time to migrate if necessary.
"The focus of Americans' energy concerns should be the continuing growth and progress of industrial civilization, which progressively improves the length and quality of our lives--including our ability to cope with any bad weather. This requires liberating energy producers of all kinds to produce and sell abundant, cheap energy. The new 'progressive' farm bill does the exact opposite. It enables contribution-grubbing, central-planning energy ignoramuses in Washington to whimsically bestow favors or impose punishments on energy producers--while at the same time continuing to pass legislation that severely restricts the production of practical, plentiful, life-giving energy from fossil fuels and nuclear power.
"America does not need an 'energy policy' of congressional emperors strangling energy production in the name of vague, indefinable threats. Our only energy policy should be economic liberty for energy producers."
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Alex Epstein was a writer and a fellow on staff
at ARI between 2004 and 2011.