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Sunday, March 24, 2024

Electric Vehicles And Recycle Bins - The Holy Grail Of Environmental Crusaders

The First Crusade, under Pope Urban II and led by France's most heroic knights, was a sight to behold - thousands of armored, caparisoned soldiers on the finest horses of the land, the flags of Christianity held high as the troops thundered towards Jerusalem on their way to liberate it from the infidel, the armies of Islam.

A manuscript discovered in the Church of the Redeemer in a village near Lyon written by a Franciscan Friar, Lucius de Moncourt, told of the pageantry and the splendor of the army of God.  

Never before in God's great earthly kingdom, has such a spectacle been seen.  Christian soldiers, the emissaries of Jesus, riding for the cause of righteousness and carrying the standards of glory were nothing less than a holy crusade, a vision of the Second Coming and the returning majesty of Our Lord.

The travesty, the defilement, the pagan and barbaric occupation of His homeland and the very place of His glorious transfiguration, would not stand.


There has always been a compelling nature to collective action.  The Crusades were not just armies of the West marching to Jerusalem to rid the Holy City of its Muslim infidel; but a militant statement of the power, glory, and rightful place of Christianity in the world.  They were different from the marauding armies of Genghis Khan who rode out of the steppes with a hundred thousand horsemen, laid waste to and then conquered the world from Europe to Asia.  They were the instruments of God’s will.  

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That this phenomenon should be alive and well today is no surprise.  Environmentalism has become a secular religion and little different from the millennialism of the past.  Sins against the Earth must be atoned for, and our fate will be brutal and punishing.  Salvation for ourselves and the Earth is however possible but only through prayer, good works, and most of all militancy. 

We need belief, the causes that support it, and the will to defend it.  The climate is changing, say environmental activists, and if it is not stopped, it will lead to a fiery Armageddon, the earthly preliminary to the Last Judgment. Just as in the Crusades, there is no doubt in the minds of those marching off to war. Saving the planet, as secular as the mission might be, is still doing God's work, protecting his Creation. If we apply ourselves we can avoid another Flood and another Sodom and Gomorra, God's retribution and angry destruction of us all. 

The age of Stoicism has come and gone.  Traces remain in Buddhism, but the idea that the world is simply constantly changing, an interwoven complex of actions, reactions, and results without purpose or value, has little currency today.  We must save the planet.  It goes without saying.  It is received wisdom, an a priori right, a duty, an obligation. 

Within this philosophical perspective, the whole idea of saving the planet is a silly affair, hubris at its worst, vanity and self-absorption at best; so it has instead simply become the rubric under which disaggregated goals have been established. Saving the planet can be achieved not in one fell swoop, but by individual, discrete, noteworthy actions - like the Electric Car, the EV. 

There is absolutely no reason to buy an EV except for the principle of the thing.  It is expensive, has a short fuel range, operates without much of a supportive infrastructure, is no snappier in design than its gas-powered counterparts; but because of its environmental image, it is in demand. 

Of course EVs are not carbon-neutral. Some fossil fuel has to generate the electricity, the rare earths needed for its batteries have to be mined with all the attendant environmental hazards the activity has always entailed, and disposing of the batteries is a tricky business and an unsolved headache.  

Given the advances in automotive pollution control, the constantly improving energy efficiency of the internal combustion engine, and the introduction of hybrid vehicles, the rush to EV's seems an exaggerated expression of higher purpose; and many consumers are getting the picture.  

Demand for EVs has softened considerably.  The attempts by government to distort and disturb the free market which has already responded to an adjusted to consumer demand for efficiency and clean air are intrusive, politically driven and unnecessary. 

Yet the true believers, the heirs to the Cross, are undeterred.  Showing the flag of environmentalism is like flying the banner of St. George on the way to Jerusalem.  The Tesla is their standard. 


The spotted owl and the snail darter, two early symbols of American environmentalism were too invisible as tangible symbols of the movement, hotter summer days were always followed by unusual cold spells, mild winters followed by brutal snowgeddons; but the EV?  Now, here finally was an out-front, clear, unmistakable symbol of doing the right thing.  A Tesla in the driveway statement. 

So have the recycle bins in the alley. Always filled to overflowing with properly sorted, peach pit free, rinsed and cleaned bottles and cans, they beggar the ordinary trash bins beside them.  They are another physical, visible display of environmental responsibility. Where and how this recyclable trash is used, sold, or reused is irrelevant.  It matters not that most of it is barged to Third World offshore dumping grounds, it is out of the way.  Right has been done. 

The country has a scant few months left before the banging of pots is over; before the crusading hysteria of environmentalism will have had its day.  Under a conservative Republican administration and Congress, the more intrusive forays of government into the marketplace will be halted, and the demand for energy re-mediated and re-configured.  The crusaders will return to their stables. 

Of course the howling from within will continue.  Thousands of environmental Electras and Cassandras will shout and curse and prophesy; but the age of environmental hysteria, always febrile and unhinged, is over, and with it will go all the other palsied St. Vitus' dances of America's true believers. 

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