TOS Blog: Daily Commentary from an Objectivist Perspective

The “Green” Agenda, the Cost of Energy, and the Price of Freedom

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USA_Flag_Map.svgInvestor’s Business Daily recently exposed one of the lies behind the Energy Department’s efforts to force Americans to be “more green.”

The department reportedly claims the new [energy efficiency] standards will save consumers from $250 billion to $300 billion on their energy costs through 2030. But that’s what Democrats always say about their green schemes: “We’re doing this to clean up the Earth, and we’re going to save you money while we do it.”

Don’t believe it.

“If past experience is any guide, these regulations will raise the purchase price of appliances — in some cases more than is ever likely to be earned back in the form of energy savings,” [says] Ben Lieberman, an environmental policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute…

It is of course true that government-mandated purchasing standards raise the price of goods in the aggregate. But what if, just this once, government mandates didn’t? What if, somehow, magically, this mandate actually lowered costs? Would that justify the intervention? It would not.

Whether such interventions raise or lower costs is superficial and largely irrelevant. The fundamental principle is that the government has no moral right to impose them.

The proper purpose of government is not “to clean up the Earth,” or to manipulate the economy, or to reduce the cost of energy. The proper purpose of government is to protect citizens’ rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. And the only way the government can serve this purpose is by banning the initiation of physical force from social relationships and refraining from the initiation of physical force itself.

If Americans want to put an end to government interference in the economy, we must demand that government be strictly limited to the protection of individual rights. This is the principle on which America was founded; this is the price of freedom; and, if we are ever again to be the land of the free, this is the principle to which we must repair.

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Posted in: Environmentalism, Individual Rights and Law

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