A Discussion I had this afternoon at the local Starbucks (paraphrased). Because I'm a complete jerk, I sometimes like to yank people's chains when they give me an excuse to do so. Especially deeply-committed numbskulls. My arguments weren't even good ones -- I just threw crap at her in order to piss her off. Although I do have to say, she looked AWESOME in that tight t-shirt!
Earnest Tree Hugger: Good afternoon, Sir. Can I ask you to sign a petition asking Congress to forbid any more offshore oil drilling, in light of the nasty spill in the Gulf of Mexico?
Me: You may ask -- but I'm in favor of drilling for all the oil we can, so that we don't have to buy it from murderous Muslims and South American communists.
ETH: Even if it means destroying our fisheries, and marshlands, not to mention millions of migratory birds?
Me: Oil is taken from the ground every day without destroying fisheries you know. It's almost your fault, and by that I mean people who walk around screaming about "Saving The Three-toed Desert Mosquito" that are complicit in that Gulf Disaster, you know? Besides, don't you care about Arab and South American fisheries? Why don't you try to get them to stop drilling?
ETH (taken slightly aback): All we want is for the Big Oil Companies to be responsible for making certain the environment is protected, and to persuade Mankind to change his ways. What's wrong with that?
Me: Why should Mankind change his ways, and what makes you think most people give a hoot about a bunch of migratory birds? Birds don't pay taxes, you know. And so far as I can see, you're only trying to get ME to change my ways. You aren't petitioning the Saudis or Hugo Chavez, you know, and they drill more oil than we do.
ETH (Getting annoyed with me): If we don't change our ways, if we don't break our addiction to oil, and we continue to treat the environment the way we do, we'll all be dead.
Me (reeling the sucker in): Ah, so if we don't change, we're all dead?
ETH (Heavy sigh): We'll destroy the planet, and then where will we be?
Me: Young Lady, do you believe in the Theory of Evolution?
ETH (non-plussed): Yes, but what does that have to do with anything?
Me (smirking): You make an argument that states if Man does not change -- that is to say EVOLVE and ADAPT to a new way of Life -- that Man will be dead. Why is it that Man is capable of Evolving and Adapting --yet fish, swamp beasts, migratory birds, insects, and so forth, who have been here a lot longer than we have -- are assumed to be unable to do so without your enlightened stewardship, or Congressional action?
ETH (Confused): What does that mean?
Me: It means that no matter what happens Nature recovers -- it always does. Either the Fish and Birds can adapt to oily water -- that is to say Evolve -- or they will die, and Evolution will have been proven. By protecting them by retarding the progress of Man, just might possibly be interfering with their own Natural Development. I mean, if Evolution is the Real Deal, the fish and birds will adapt, right?
ETH (Getting aggravated): But that Oil Spill is not a natural occurrence!!!! We're interfering with Evolution when create catastrophes like that!
Me: Of course it's a natural occurrence. Oil seeps out of the ocean floor every day, and our own process of Adaptation involves the manipulation of Nature. Maybe it doesn't seep out in these quantities, but it still does so all the same; the fish and so forth seem able to handle it.
ETH: That oil wouldn't be gushing out like that if we didn't drill for it! It's poisoning everything!
Me: We're drilling that deep because we're not allowed to drill on land, or closer to shore -- and that's your fault, too, you know. And besides, Crude Oil is made up of natural substances, isn't it?It used to be plants and animals at one time, didn't it? Nature created it, it stands to reason that Nature will figure out how to deal with it without our help.
ETH: So you don't care that we're killing off all life as we know it with this spill?
Me: It's hardly ALL life, you know. And no, I don't wish to live in a world that's poisoned, or has dirty air, or undrinkable water, but what makes you think that anything you can do, or worse, Congress can do, will make anything better?
ETH: Well, we have to try!
Me: Try, yes. But not if it makes us all poor and returns us to the Mud Age. By the way, your cell phone -- made from petroleum products, mined metals, and caustic chemicals -- is ringing, Sweetheart. You going to answer that?
ETH (perturbed): No, I'm not. I'm trying to get you to sign this. So, are you going to sign my petition or not? (She offers me her pen, and the sheet of paper -- made from dead trees -- clipped to her plastic -- made from Oil -- clipboard. I point this all out, she rolls her eyes).
Me: No,I don't think so.
ETH: So, you don't care about that Oil Spill, do you? You have no conception of the damage that's being done to our world, do you?
Me: I care about the Oil Spill, Sunshine. I just don't think a petition to Congress will solve the problem.
ETH (Flushing red): Would you stop calling me "Sweetheart" and "Sunshine"? It's very annoying, and sexist.
Me: No more annoying than someone who enters my personal space while I'm trying to read my newspaper, starts sermonizing, and then sticks a petition in my face.
ETH: I said "Excuse Me".
Me: Okay, so you're a polite, sermonizing petition-pusher.
ETH: So, would you please sign my petition?
Me: You still want me to sign your petition, even though I don't believe in what you're doing and you find me annoying and sexist?
ETH: It's for a good cause. You know, you were right about invading your space, and all. Sorry about that. Would you please sign? We're only trying to Heal the Planet.
Me (Noticing that she's changed tactics and is now patronizing me as a way to get me to do something I don't want to -- as if that will work). No, I don't think so, Cupcake.
ETH (now enraged): STOP CALLING ME PET NAMES! I DON'T LIKE IT!
Me: I'm sorry, Sugarshorts, but I'm not signing today. Have a nice day (cracking his newspaper open again).
ETH (Perhaps about to cry): How can you just sit there?
Me: I was doing so before you bothered me, and will do so after you're gone. There's an entire coffee shop full of people; why are you still picking on me?
(ETH has no answer for this, and storms off to bother someone else. I laugh).
I'm concerned about the Gulf Oil Spill because it's a catastrophe that will deprive people of their livelihoods, cost a shitload of money we don't have to clean up, and yeah, I care about pelicans, too. But the combination of Treehuggers and Government are in large part responsible for this mess, and I don't intend to give either any more power or permission to interfere any more than they already have.
We're now seeing what happens when we pay too much attention to environMENTALists, and give far too much deference -- and power -- to Government.