Sunday, April 06, 2008

Pre-publication Comments on My Newspaper Interview

I was interviewed by a reporter for our local weekly newspaper, the Independent Coast Observer, of Gualala, California. I don’t know the reason for the interview, and I didn’t ask. I just answered every question as completely and spontaneously as possible.

Early in the interview there were questions about my early years, particularly about our family moving here in 1949, and I told the reporter about having the most wonderful childhood of anyone ever. That probably alerted the reporter to watch out for other over-the-top declarations on life and my living of it.

I know I didn’t disappoint her, but it will be interesting to see how she translates my verbal tsunami into a coherent newspaper article, bearing in mind that I still have no idea of the reason or purpose of the interview.

I could tell the reporter had preconceptions of my positions and beliefs, because I surprised her early in the interview by declaring that California’s Proposition 13, the so-called “taxpayers’ revolt,” was a horrible mistake because it took away local control of taxes and expenditures and passed it all to Sacramento. Then in short order, Sacramento tied strings to and loaded up the funding for education with requirements that caused an explosion of administrative and other overhead costs.

Obviously the reporter thought I would be all in favor of the taxpayer revolt led by Gann and other so-called conservatives, but to me all they were doing was creating a mechanism to make California’s state government more powerful than ever by centralizing control over both taxation and spending.

Time and events have proven me right, and California was, is, and will continue to be one of the highest taxation states in the United States. Would anyone care to point out what great victory we won with the passage of Proposition 13?

But I digress.

Global warming was mentioned, and I proceeded at great length to illustrate that climate change is natural, and that it always has been and always will be.

Then the reporter asked, even if climate change is natural, isn’t the world’s population too large and concentrated in at-risk areas for mankind to be able to cope with the changes? Don’t we have to do something about it?

I told her that I had the solution. We don’t need regulations or laws to control population growth, all we need are for the poor people of the world to live in freedom so they can achieve prosperity. Prosperity lowers the population growth rate everywhere it’s tried.

With prosperity comes the means to cope with change; the resources to build dikes, improve water systems, generate more power, and to recover after disasters.

Then I mentioned that concerned environmentalists, if they were truly concerned about reducing carbon dioxide “pollution,” are fighting against the only source of energy, nuclear power, which has the ability to meet the energy needs of both the developed and developing world while reducing the combustion of carbon-based fuels.

“What about nuclear waste?” she asked.

I answered that nuclear waste is only transitory, since we are still in the baby steps phase of nuclear power production, and that as we progress we will soon be using today’s waste for tomorrow’s fuel.

Then I launched into a rapid discourse about how I thought that looking for a great leader, a great idea, or an “ism” – communism, socialism, Islamism, even capitalism – was a total waste of time and effort. There can never be a leader, idea, or governing system that can meet the needs of mankind better than the sum of the unfettered strivings of each individual to achieve their own enlightened self interests. No leader or governing body possesses, or ever will possess, sufficient knowledge and power to do better than we will for ourselves.

The only thing the “isms” do is limit people and their abilities and accomplishments. For example, socialism is not a system to improve the individual, but a system to homogenize individuals at about the same level of comfort or misery as the rest of their society.

At this point the reporter challenged me, “Don’t you think you're being Pollyannaish?”

“Not at all,” I replied, “I think it’s Pollyannaish to think that a leader or government will be the answer, when it’s obvious to me that they could never have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to solve mankind’s problems.”

In fact, although in fairness to the reporter I only thought but did not say that our leaders, governments, and systems are the sources and/or add to our problems.

However, I did mention that when the pessimist sees the glass half empty, and the optimist sees it half full, then I see it overflowing.

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