Strategy of Misdirection

A favorite of the environmental movement is that of “consider the source”; as in, when a book, article or other cogent argument arises showing the fallacies of the anti-fossil fuel position of the environmentalists, the response is often, “Well they are funded by the oil industry, so what do you expect”.

However, this is an argument that applies equally well to the environmentalists as virtually all of their arguments come from the fully funded members of the environmental movement, so what do we expect?

The bottom line, of course, is that everyone has an agenda, and the key to deriving knowledge from the various agenda-driven arguments out there is doing your own thinking and selecting to adopt as your own, the arguments that are congruent with your own sense of what is right or wrong.

In that sense, here is a great new book that takes on one of the seminal environmental arguments that fossil fuels are evil, by showing how very good the use of them has been for civilization and the health and prosperity of all of us, especially those of us fortunate to live in an industrial society.

The book is The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels by Alex Epstein, and here are a few paragraphs from it.

“It is considered Green to do less of anything industrial, from driving to flying to using a washing machine to using disposable diapers to consuming pretty much any modern product (there is now an attack on iPhones for being insufficiently Green, given the various materials that must be mined to make them).

“The essence of “going Green,” the common denominator in all its various iterations, is the belief that humans should minimize their impact on nonhuman nature.

“The difference between our culture and the Green movement is that our culture believes that you can’t always be environmentally good; our culture regards Green as one of many competing ideals that we must balance. But this attempt to balance being on a human standard of value sometimes and a nonhuman standard at other times is like trying to create a balanced diet that includes food and poison.

“Why do we accept the Green ideal, the ideal that causes us to hate our greatest energy technology and the people who produce it? In large part, we do so because environmental leaders have made us associate the antihuman ideal of nonimpact with something very good: minimizing pollution, that is, minimizing negative environmental impacts. But if you’re antipollution, Greenness or nonimpact is a confusing and dangerous way of thinking about the issue, for by associating impact with something negative, you’re conceding that all human impact is somehow bad for the environment.” (p. 199)

The book is available from Amazon at

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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