Leave a Light on for 'Earth Hour'

The environmental agenda is antitechnology, antiprogress and, if fully implemented, will lead to a reduced standard of living.


The modern environmental movement believes that mankind's activities need to be regulated by government. Increasingly, they attack the engines of productivity in the name of "health" and "safety," arguing that what man must do to survive and prosper is bad for the planet. Its agenda is largely antitechnology, antiprogress, and if fully implemented, will lead to a reduced standard of living in the developed world.

It decries human achievement rather than celebrating it. And those who believe this way are once again calling on people to turn off their lights in observance of "Earth Hour."

[See a collection of political cartoons on energy policy.]

The proponents of "Earth Hour," the Competitive Enterprise Institute says, want people to register their support for the planet by spending an hour sitting in the dark. The institute is taking another route, asking people to "Leave your lights on to express your appreciation for the inventions and innovations that make today the best time to be alive and the recognition that future solutions require individual freedom not government coercion."

They're calling it "Human Achievement Hour" or "HAH," and they want people to observe it by spending the hour "from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm on March 31 enjoying the benefits of capitalism and human innovation: Gather with friends in the warmth of a heated home, watch television, take a hot shower, drink a beer, call a loved one on the phone, or listen to music."

[Check out the U.S. News energy blog.]

"HAH is an annual event meant to recognize and celebrate the fact that this is the greatest time to be alive," the institute said in a release, "and that the reason we have come is that people have been free to use their minds and the resources in their environment to experiment, create, and innovate. Participants in HAH recognize the necessity to protect the individual persons from government coercion, so that we may continue innovating and improving our lives and the world around us."

They have a point. The Luddite thinking that portrays technology as evil has firmly taken root in Western culture. It ignores the ways in which technology has led to an improvement in global living standards, healthier people, better resource utilization, and longer lives. To simply say that technology is bad, which is the implicit premise behind such crusades as the one to combat so-called global warming—remember it was former Vice President Al Gore who called the development of the internal combustion engine the worst thing to ever happen to mankind—is to doom all of mankind to an eventual return to the state of nature where, as Thomas Hobbes wrote, all life is "nasty, brutish and short."

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