By Tim Graham ~
In the annual competition between leftist media outlets for the screwiest (or most Scrooge-like) criticism of Christmas traditions, a Huffingon Post item published Thursday morning by Michael McLaughlin (HT Breitbart) was a formidable entry.
After the HuffPo reporter’s headline noted that “U.S. Christmas Lights Burn More Energy Than Some Nations In A Year,” he suggested that “maybe we should unplug our decorations.”
Of course, that’s a ridiculous idea. Turning off Christmas lights here will do nothing to improve the situation in less developed countries (LDCs).
That said, McLaughlin inadvertently stumbled onto something when he found a researcher who criticized the developed world for attempting to dictate how LDCs should attempt to emerge from centuries of grinding poverty (link is in original; bolds are mine):
… In an interview with NPR, researcher Todd Moss said that it’s a useful comparison because many developing countries face pressure to use more renewable sources of energy.
Though switching to cleaner sources of power is important, Moss said, the graph he developed with Priscilla Agyapong shows poorer countries like Nepal and Ethiopia are just a drop in the bucket compared to the U.S.
“It’s pretty rich for me to sit in Washington, D.C., and tell Ghana they can’t build one natural gas power plant,” Moss told NPR.
In other words, one of the hidden agendas of the climatistas dominating charades like the Paris “climate change” talks is to essentially bribe LDCs to use renewable energy instead of fossil fuels using money extracted from the developed nations. This will necessarily slow down development in LDCs, because renewables are not as consistently or reliably available, i.e., the sun rises and sets, the wind is sometimes strong and sometimes isn’t. The beauty of fossil fuel-based power generation is that it is highly reliable.
So Moss’s point is a good one, and the enviro-zealots really don’t have a good response — especially when the alternative raised is a relatively low greenhouse gas power generation method. Beyond that, trying to shove renewables down the LDCs’ throats is hypocritical, because whatever supposedly “awful” damage they might do by using fossil fuels is a rounding error compared to the greenhouse gases spewed by the 1,171 coal-powered plants which the Chinese have planned or under construction. Strangely (no, not really, the greens, up to and including President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, don’t seem particularly concerned about China’s actions.
Breitbart’s William Bigelow made an important point, which I will demonstrate by pointing out what happens when things go in the opposite direction:
If countries cannot produce enough energy to afford Christmas lights, perhaps they should emulate capitalist countries a bit more.
Of course he’s right, and Venezuela has just proven him right by demonstrating what happens when a country moves away from capitalism to oppressive, state-dominated socialism. At the AFP wire service on Thursday morning, Alexander Martinez danced around the truth, but we’ll be sure to get to it:
‘Christmas is dead’ in Venezuela, and 2016 looks grim
“Christmas is dead,” says Elise Belisario, who, like many Venezuelans, can’t afford to hang decorations or make a traditional holiday meal this year.
And 2016 augurs bleak times too in this staggering oil giant, where the new year looks set to bring political power struggles and little respite from a crippling economic crisis.
Belisario lives in the sprawling slum of Petare, on the outskirts of Caracas, which is suffering this holiday season from the shortages and triple-digit inflation gripping Venezuela — the twin tribulations of the once high-flying economy’s demise.
Where Christmases past brought exuberant decorations and balconies drenched in lights, this year Petare’s streets are drab and dark.
“There’s just not enough money. We’ve switched off Christmas,” said Belisario, a 28-year-old with two kids who recently lost her job.
When the oil money was flowing, Christmas was a consumer bonanza in Venezuela, a predominantly Catholic country with a flair for celebrations.
Sorry, Mr. Martinez. Venezuela’s problem is that it was taken over by Bolivarian socialist Hugo Chavez, who crippled the nation’s oil capacity, leading to severe under-production. He failed to diversify the nation’s economy, something which certainly would have happened to an extent if its previous mostly capitalist system had been allowed to develop further. This would have left the country better prepared for the precipitous drop in oil prices we’ve seen during the past year or so.
Additionally, the shortages and the hyperinflation to which Martinez referred aren’t things which came out of nowhere, as he seems to imply. They are direct results of the industry nationalizations, expropriations and intimidating regulatory excess seen under Chavez and his successor Nicolas Maduro, both of whom were/are wedded to the idea that their government can run complex industries more efficiently and effectively than private interests which had been doing so successfully for decades.
As stated succinctly by Daniel Greenfield at FrontPageMag.com: “Socialism Killed Christmas in Venezuela.”
So the Christmas lights are off in Venezuela, thanks to its adoption of a system many of the leftists at the Huffington Post tend to support or at least excuse. If the LDCs want to be able to have prosperous economies in the future, they should do the opposite of what Venezuela has done, and the opposite of what the enviro-zealots want them to do in regards to renewable energy. And if they eventually get prosperous enough to begin using cheery Christmas lights, I certainly won’t be among those engaging in Scrooge-like complaining.