Thursday, July 26, 2007

The terrorism of politics.

One of the more absurd governments in the world is the grand coalition of German leader Angela Merkel. Unable to form a government alone she decided for a coalition including the opposition Social Democrats (SPD).

It is an experiment in inertia. Merkel knew Germany needed reform and she created a government guaranteed not to provide it, or to provide it in only relatively small measures.

One of her SPD cabinet ministers is Sigmar Gabriel, the minister for the environment who comes across as a nasty piece of work. I read a discussion that Spiegel ran between him and Utz Claassen, the CEO of one Germany’s leading energy providers. And throughout the discussion Gabriel, to say the least, was no angel.

His tone was condescending, rude, accusatory, and generally unpleasant. He had little to say that wasn’t intentionally nasty.

The discussion was about the role of nuclear power in the future of Germany. With the global warming hysteria gripping the world German politicians are looking for ways to provide energy without emitting carbons. But the previous SPD government passed legislation forcing the closing of German nuclear plants which do just that.

Gabriel was quite panicky over the thought that Germany might rethink nuclear energy. He was calling for renewables but was rather unspecific in what he wanted or how it could provide the energy needs of the country. He did appear to support biofuels which are now responsible for increasing world hunger and deaths. In general, other than his morbid fear about nuclear, and his rudeness, he came across as incapable of saying much of anything. And some of what he said was irrational to the point of absurdity.

Gabriel never argued his position as much as he sneered at anyone who disagreed with him. A true socialist he is. And not particularly bright. Consider his opening salvo:
[W}e're not phasing out nuclear energy from one day to the next. It will continue to be used in Germany for the next 14 years; that decision has been made. The question over which opinions diverge is how to assess the risks associated with extending the lifespans of the nuclear power plants that are still online. Proponents of nuclear energy always act as if we were faced with a choice between the plague and cholera, a choice between the risks of nuclear energy and the dangers of the climate crisis. But as a politician, I don't want to choose between two diseases -- I want to find the path to good health.
Apparently global warming is cholera and nuclear power is the plague. Of course, the Left never uses hyperbole. Just ask them.

So the man has to lie a little. Okay, he has to lie a lot.

Why do I say he is lying? If he sincerely believes that nuclear power is the plague, then to call it the plague may be false, but would not be a lie. For something to be a lie the teller of the tale has to know it is false. And how can I know what Gabriel actually thinks? No one is a mind reader -- not even the “psychics”.

One indication is what he said before he made his fanciful comparison. He said that nuclear power “will continue to be used in Germany for the next 14 years; that decision has been made.” And it was his party that made it.

Gabriel’s silly comparison had him acting like a health minister dripping with compassion for the people who are suffering under the plague. Now imagine a health minister who tells these people, with a deadly disease: “Hey, don’t worry. It’s not like we plan to eradicate plague over night. We will continue to allow the plague to operate for the next 14 years.” And then the witless minister sits back smiling in simple-minded self-assurance that he was being clever.

A health minister who did that would be run up the nearest light pole by an angry mob carrying pitchforks, torches and a noose. The very idea that one would phase out the plague would be considered fiendish.

The only conclusion one can draw is that Garbriel didn’t actually mean the comparison he made. He doesn’t think nuclear power is the plague. If he did then he would be demanding the immediate shut down of the plants, not a phased shut down over the next 14 years.

Gabriel is so used to terrifying the voters into supporting his antiquated philosophy that he forgets himself. If Mr. Garbriel actually believed his own shibboleth he would not be assuring people that the “disease” will be phased out, he would be demanding the immediate elimination of the plague. Gabriel doesn’t believe his own scare tactics.

H.L. Mencken had his finger on the pulse of raw politics when he said: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

Gabriel, and his fellow socialists, use the environment the way Bush, and the Theopublicans, use terrorism or gay marriage. Neither are trying to address issues. Instead, they wish to terrorize voters into supporting policies, which if calmly and rationally scrutinized, would be rejected overwhelmingly.

The purpose of fear in politics is to shut off the rational processes. The net result is a series of policies that are truly absurd and destructive.

Some assume such polices are then repealed when the opposition takes power. There is little indication that happens except on rare occasions. Instead the political process imposes new irrationalities upon old ones.

The horrific legislation of the Bush presidency will hardly be repealed by the Democrats, even if they control both the legislative and executive branches of government. Some legislation, if it has time limits on it, may be allowed to die. But there is nothing as permanent as bad law. Homeland Security is not likely to be abolished. It is likely to be co opted by the Democrats, much the way the Republicans co opted the sex education programs they opposed and turned them into “abstinence” programs.

As long as the voters allow politicians to use terror tactics to stampede them into supporting new controls the net result will be the steady erosion of individual freedom.

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