Hey, don't get me wrong - I am sitting here nervously wondering if next year at this time I might be contemplating losing my house if fuel costs keep going the way they are - but the overweening blather of assorted politicos and others trampling each other to get on the bandwagon of the great energy crisis is getting old.
However annoying it may be, this mad rush by talking heads to offer up profound opinions on what all the rest of us should be doing to correct the situation offers prime views of primate preening.
Recently, Rep. Mike Kelly*, formerly of GVEA, and David Van den Berg, ED of the Northern Alaska Environmental Center, got into bed together when they demonstrated their paternalistic attitudes towards others - aka those beneath them, the hoi poi loi, the great unwashed. It's not too surprising however, when one reflects that the most self-righteous tree huggers share much with their conservative NRA-loving counterparts...most particularly a finely-honed hypocrisy that enables them to judge others without looking too closely at their own lives.
In a rare congruence, there were Rep. Kelly and Mr. Van den Berg united in their opposition to Gov. Palin's proposed $100/month energy assistance to Alaskans. Mr. Van den Berg is of the opinion that "if electricity costs half as much as it does now, people would likely use more of of it". (Fairbanks Daily News Miner: Administration re-evaluating its short-term energy plan )
Sure. If I get that $100/month from Palin, you betcha David, that is just what I am going to do with it - turn on every light in my house and leave them burning 24/7. Talk about patronizing; Mr. Van den Berg, an enviro elite, plays Conservation Papa (and not for the first time either) for the rest of us who obviously are too ignorant and too greedy to be able to wisely budget or use any fuel assistance that might come our way.
Rep. Kelly and Mr. Van den Berg also assume that the reason people aren't retrofitting their homes, or buying hybrid cars, or biking to work is because they just are choosing not to. It doesn't enter these elites' heads that there are many people (in fact probably the majority) who simply do not have the financial resources to take on another car loan, front the money for energy retrofits, or have a job/lifestyle that allows them the option of commuter biking.
What makes their sanctimonious comments even more galling is their own lifestyles. Mr. Van den Berg is married to a scioness of the Cook family - and thus quite closely associated with extractive resources of the oily sort. He drives a pick-up truck, and owns a guiding/rafting business that utilizes heavily small aircraft to ferry supplies and high-paying clients in and out of remote places.
Rep. Kelly, as a member of the Fairbanks political and business elite, surely does not face the same financial constraints that a majority of Alaskans, urban and rural, are dealing with now as energy costs escalate. Rep. Kelly is also very fond of flying his private plane all over Alaska, and enjoys access to remote places of this state that many of us only dream about. Yet he too feels very qualified to speak on the subject of energy conservation, especially as it applies to the rest of us.
Personally, I don't really care how either of these two use energy - but I do care when they presume to speak for the rest of us, especially when they suggest that we are all too ignorant to make wise decisions about how to cope with escalating energy costs.
*Not my representative - I didn't vote for the man!