RALEIGH – Oh great and powerful Mother Earth, I humbly beseech you to forgive this wayward human occupant of your perfect natural paradise.
I fully accept responsibility for the sins that led your servants, the tropical winds of Hurricane Irene and the towering pine tree of Backyard Hood, to wreak havoc on my suburban Wake County home.
Only your divine intervention, Oh Green Goddess, could have broken my healthy tree so near the ground and propelled it, precisely aimed, at my bedroom. When it crashed into the house, cracking the rear wall and punching several holes in my roof, the sight and sound of your judgment was terrible to behold – as surely you intended it to be.
I know now, blessed Gaia, and that I have strayed far from the True Faith. I should have remembered that you are a jealous goddess, and that the weed of environmental crime bears bitter fruit.
In my arrogant belief that maximizing human happiness and well-being should be the goal of any sound regulatory process, I overlooked the equal natural rights of the snail darter, the paramecium, and the slime mold.
In my misplaced belief that people benefit from low-cost sources of energy to light their homes, run their machines, transport their families, and protect their communities, I overlooked the aesthetic value of the windmill, the aromatic value of biomass, and the psychic benefits of the photovoltaic cell.
In my foolish belief that climate change must be materially harmful to human beings and reversible at a reasonable cost to justify draconian “cap and balance” style regulation, I overlooked the social benefits of returning mankind to the servitude of unelected authoritarians – the bureaucrats who staff the regulatory agencies of their respective developed countries.
(I see now that serfdom isn’t so bad. Serfs don’t tend to be on the hook for storm damage, for example, as they either rent from landlords or live in mud huts that simply wash away in the rain.)
In my reckless insistence that any new environmental regulation promise health and safety benefits greater than the costs it would impose on human beings, I overlooked the fact that environmental policy can’t be reduced to simple logic or mathematics. It’s about how we feel – or, more to the point, how the elites would gain power from each new regulation feel.
I’ve learned my lesson, oh wise and beneficent Mother of Winds. No longer will I question the theological pronouncements of your cardinals in Berkeley and Brussels or the liturgy of your priesthood in Asheville and Chapel Hill. I am reformed – or perhaps counter-reformed is the right term. Anyway, I’m really sorry.
I throw myself upon your mercy. Please, please do not send my chestnut tree through my garage door, or my oak tree through my music-room window.
Indeed, I sincerely apologize for calling them “my” trees at all. Like the venerable Ents of Middle Earth, they are free beings I will revere and serve from this time forth so that they will never again march on my citadel and pummel me with living missiles to punish my capitalistic sorcery.
Oh, and if you happen to know any of the space aliens preparing to attack the Earth because of our pig-headed refusal to combat global warming through global impoverishment, please let them know that, from now on, I will work tirelessly to promote just such a global impoverishment through radical reductions in energy use.
In other words, please let the aliens know there will be no need for them to destroy us. I promise that we will destroy ourselves instead and revert to the lifestyle of simple hunter-gatherer bands just as nature – as you – always intended us to live.
In your unpronounceable indigenous name I plead,
Amen – er, Awomyn.
Hood is president of the John Locke Foundation.