I’d Rather Fight Wars There Than Here

People attempting to justify America’s current and recent wars due to a dangerous (or convenient) combination of nationalism and ignorance are often heard to boldly exclaim at their wit’s end that they’d “rather the wars be fought there than here.”

If these were our only two choices, I’d be inclined to agree. In that scenario it is purely might making right. The fact that we have the means to export our wars provides us with the luxury of war being no more than about a dime of every dollar we earn and a channel on TV.

At the danger of stuffing that binary argument full of straw, let’s apply the principle it seems to suggest to a few situations. What happens if we take this to its logical end? If any place to have a war is preferable to here and presumably any conflict that reduces the chance of war being here is justified then anything that is not God’s own U. S. of A. is ripe for a nuking.

Another way we can try to analyze this policy is how it would sound as a way to treat one’s neighbors. Going next door and beating up your neighbor to prevent them from coming over and doing likewise to  you doesn’t sound like a way to ensure peace.

Besides the fact that this isn’t any kind of justification for war, it’s also just a poor representation of reality. We don’t necessarily either have to kill people where they live or wait for them to kill us where we live. We might even consider ways to keep from making people want to kill us at all. I believe that killing people around the world may actually make more people hate the US. Perhaps a revolutionary thought.

Claude Frédéric Bastiat

Here’s an idea, I suggest that we do as 19th century political economist, Frédéric Bastiat might prescribe and trade goods instead of making war. It’s the closest countries can come to making love (instead of war). I’ll probably write more on that in the future.

The State vs The Sun

A friend posted an article titled Solar Industry Takes on Crony Capitalism in Arizona on Facebook and what started as a comment on the link was more appropriate as a blog post so here goes.

First, a more apt title for the article might have been “Solar Industry Seeks Crony Capitalism in Arizona.”  It’s not about fighting crony capitalism, it’s about seeking favors.  The idea is that people who install solar panels on their home should have their power paid for by everyone else.  If all energy consumers were able to install solar, who would be left to subsidize them?  Unsurprisingly unsustainable economics from advocates for sustainable energy.

The article attempts to justify this wrongheaded approach by stating:

Due to the limited nature of energy, and the expense of outfitting each home with energy sources, it is virtually impossible for competing energy sources to exist without government – or some type of neutral entity – stepping in to split up the pot in some way.

I’m unsure what’s neutral about this policy.  I’m also unsure of which government the author is speaking that could be deemed a neutral entity.  How can you point to the problem with cronyism and then call the state “some type of neutral entity” when it supports the industry you personally favor?  Either it is subject to cronyism or it is neutral.

I want to see solar happen and I believe it will.  I don’t want to see other energy consumers being forced to subsidize those who choose solar.  This is essentially a tax on the poor as poorer energy consumers lack the capital to install solar.  Even in the case of subsidies for the install in the first place (which I also disagree with) relatively wealthy people will be better able to navigate the paperwork.

Net metering is awesome as long as it’s at market prices for energy.  There can be costs factored into the production of “dirty” energy for the externalities it may create.  This increases the cost of energy.  Solar doesn’t have to bear these costs but benefits from the higher price per kilowatt hour when selling power back to the grid.

There are innovations coming in solar energy production and energy storage that will make it more viable.  Currently, people may choose to derive their power from solar energy due to environmental concerns, for the independence it provides them or any other number of reasons.  Let’s not make solar yet another obstacle in class mobility.  Let’s not involve politics in something as critical as energy.