To toil for rules

A tremendous and complex burden has fallen on us. Shortages are again accelerating costs and we’re damaging our home. The portents of our future are scaring people.

Perhaps the horizon will always provoke fear, but I’m worried too about our too common and modern urge to hoist rule making to guide us forward.

Why? For two reasons. I’m not impressed with current agencies and I’m less impressed with their leadership. The former are populated by both strong hearts and wicked guile, ineffectual by not confronting each other, and our leadership is either nuts or inadequate.

Mask of FearI don’t look to toothless bureaucrats for new directions in living. Instead I watch analysts and innovators, and I re-invent living with greater attention to the parity of my resources. I steer toward new solutions and I’m not alone. Many of us are using our conscience and choosing new if not pleasantly elegant ways of living. Less is indeed more and I know we’re not rolling rocks uphill.

Fear can easily become fashion and we’re vulnerable to error. I’m worried about a new intelligentsia joining a libertine and moneyed wealth to penetrate our policy making with new but similarly self-serving ideology. On one side hidden incentives and on the other tight restraints, there’s an emerging tailored agenda parading to save our earth that may raise its green flag but also a rigid technocracy.

There’s steam behind this movement too, not only because our industrial landscape crumbles, but also because the new left is strong after decades of momentum flailing against corporate reactionaries, that’s what they are, and fundamentalists seduced by power, that’s what they are. Corn fuels some of them, sugarcane others. Desperate for electricity for a plug-in hi-way, many are now promoting easing rules for nuclear power. Hello. Soy candles might be legal in the bedroom; paraffin soon illegal in the kitchen too.

Will the former anarchists of environmentalism become the next authoritarians of State?

The Soil Bleeds Black: May The Blood Of Many Valiant Knights Be AvengedI mistrust our recent past. With the blood of many, we’ve argued false issues propelled by bantam minds.

If we’re lucky to see it, Mike Bowden says it, “When you see real leadership in action, you’re left in awe. Real leaders are active, engaged and motivating. They create an atmosphere that’s electric – both fun and productive.” This is very different than Pennsylvania Avenue’s pandering to cronies and populism.

Our task isn’t easy. Australia’s government worries that cutting greenhouse gases 60% by 2050, a terrific task, will be inadequate. Here in America, while creationists spoil one federal agenda and greed corrupts others, the growth rate in the world’s carbon dioxide emissions has trebled between 2000 and 2006.

Europe has exhibited a relative sensibility over these years, establishing policy that points to greater efficiency as well as greater sensitivity to all of their people, rich or poor. But Europe has shown their highly praised targets for renewable energy are already distorting food markets in Africa and south Asia similar to our corn belt getting fat on Bush’s Beltway ethanol subsidies.

Ireland is hoping to loft a new division of government to regulate green options to be known as the Risk Management Agency. Here’s their early comments about their mission:

We tend to treat the future as if it will be a continuation of the present but with more of everything. This is in spite of historical evidence that major changes of direction inevitably disturb well-established trajectories. We even know what those major changes are likely to be – fossil fuel peak, global warming, water and soil degradation, irreversible biodiversity loss, new diseases against which we have few defenses and increasing financial global interdependence and instability (in no particular order). The first thing to do is to name the problem – Future Risk – then pass enabling legislation to appoint a dedicated powerful agency, the Risk Management Agency.

It’s been my lifelong experience that where there’s Agency Management that’s the Risk, thus I’m worried.

But I’m not recommending libertarian or additional laissez-faire politics. I’m recommending two different ideas. One, we shun authoritarian rhetoric and easy rule making in favor of a robust infrastructure of experiment and alternatives, a more likely boost to both our sustenance and our prosperity.

pollinating changeFor example, water and soil do not exist in hallways of new agencies but here, under us, where we live. Our best resources for living have been created from the ground up by pollinating, by selecting, by improving choices.

We must support diverse innovation, locally and within the larger economies. Please, let’s not wait for oil oligopolies to sell us the sun!

Congress and legislatures and local initiative can help by redirecting funds toward a system of assertive curiosity and eager demonstrations. A new layer of rules, however green, will again inhibit us, precisely why we must restrain new executive branch agencies and dedicated but petty regional committees.

Favoring markets is positive, favoring investment is better. And my second point, directly helping innovators is best. Too many languish starved for assistance and already stunned under rules. Closed after his 1980 defeat, poor Jimmy Carter erected a half dozen regional Innovation Centers to help bring ideas to fruition. We can use these now and many more. We can increase our support for tangible efforts in labs, workshops, factories and farms; for each other, our private research and personal effort. We can become alert, demand repair of damaging methods, and sponsor innovation as we find it.

I think we should scorn abstraction and rhetoric in favor of activity and novelty, a very different infrastructure to tackle a very different era.

Travels of StrategyTo improve our quality of life and sustain our world, our best policy is to invigorate understanding – that’s a rule worth following – and fuel new teams in every sector until our lattice of change emerges as our future.

Lately I’ve not given my attention to green government except while it steps away from its hideous inertia or offers measurable support.

Warning about the error of government, Thomas Jefferson said it best, “Reason and free inquiry are the effectual agents against error. They are the natural enemies of error and error only.”