A friend shared this Twitter snippet, which apparently crossed her facebook feed, presumably shared by a friend of leftist leanings.

Her (wholly accurate) rebuttal offered that actually believing this, but choosing to share a meme instead of “storming their houses,” is completely immoral.

She is right, of course. But, this is what people do nowadays. They make anti-capitalistic statements to signal to their friends that they care, that they understand what the world needs, and that they are on the right side of history. That they do so on products spawned by capitalism is an irony that flies right over their heads.

While we can dismiss the assholery of a single Twitter fool, we can also seize on the sentiment and point those who might be sympathetic to it in the right direction.

To that end, I offer some ideas for how to actually save lives around the world.

1 – Support the Golden Rice project. Golden Rice is a GMO variant that contains Vitamin A, which gives it its color. A million people die each year from Vitamin A deficiency, “the most significant cause of child mortality and blindness globally.”

2 – Support lifting the ban on DDT, and its robust use wherever malaria is a public health threat. DDT, prior to its ban (a ban born of bad science and falsely fomented public outcry, saved five hundred million lives. That ban has since killed tens of millions, and resuming its use would save half a million lives a year.

3 – Support the natural gas revolution enabled by hydraulic fracturing technology. Atmospheric particulates are a major public health problem, causing up to seven million deaths each year. Natural gas power emits virtually no particulates, producing only 7 lbs per billion BTU, vs oil at 84 and coal at 2744. Supplanting coal energy with natural gas energy would result in drastically cleaner air, and save millions of lives. Plus, natural gas releases only a quarter of the carbon per unit energy that coal does, so if you have global warming concerns, you help that matter as well.

4 – Support robust construction of modern nuclear power plants. Nuclear is the safest and cleanest energy out there, and, yes, all the issues that people bring up in opposition are manageable. Take a couple hours out of your life and watch Pandora’s Promise if you want a primer on the realities rather than the propagandized fear-mongering of nuclear’s opponents. More nuclear power in the first world will not only reduce carbon emissions, it’ll free up natural gas for use elsewhere (see: Idea #3). While you’re at it, realize that wind and solar have a role in the world’s power generation, but only a limited one. Not only does the wind not always blow and the sun not always shine, the environmental impact (you can’t recycle windmill blades, and they’re only good for 20 years, for one thing) and the vast amount of rare earth metals required (which are difficult and expensive to mine) is itself a major hurdle (and that’s before we consider that China has a near-monopoly).

These ideas are not “radical,” but they do require getting over three baseless phobias: GMOs, DDT, and nuclear power (if you’re among those who scream “Science!” at people you dub global warming deniers, you have absolutely no excuse for opposing this trio of world-savers). They also require a dose of reality regarding the limits of renewable energy (it has its place, but we’re not going to power the world with solar panels and windmills). Fortunately, a person can accomplish all this at no cost and with just a little time spent reading stuff easily found on the Internet. All it takes is a willingness to let go of some popular but wrong beliefs, and to “go public” with support for four effective, million-life-saving policies.

The Internet is chock-full of other ways that an individual can help “the planet.” Some of them are actually good ideas. But, they’re “what can you do” rather than “what policies should you support.” There’s place for both, of course. Individual actions matter, in the aggregate. Policy opinions also matter, in the aggregate. Today’s focus is on @hansalexrazo’s exhortation, which, based on history and empirical evidence, would merely take wealth out of the hands of people who’ve proven that they know how to create it, and put it into the hands of politicians who’ve proven that they know how to burn through it faster than napalm on kindling. Every “soak the rich” effort in history has produced poverty and human misery.

I don’t expect that @hansalexrazo understands any of that. His Twitter page has a banner of an American flag being burned (he identifies his location as Tijuana, Mexico), and as you see, he’s got a hammer-and-sickle (recently dubbed the Russian murder logo) on proud display. Presumably, the hundred million killed under that hammer-and-sickle was an anomaly or a mere failure of execution. Ironic double-entendre notwithstanding.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.


Like this post?