Which they do. Sucks to be them when it happens, too
But they're not always caught.
Conceivable, but in an environment where people are aware of exactly what they want from environmental legislation, I don't see this happening even remotely. You also have to understand that in legalities a precedent set in one issue (such as the environment) doesn't "roll over into other areas" like you said it would; otherwise legislation allowing people other than white males in America to vote would have applied to EVERYONE, instead of various interest groups vying for and eventually winning their rights to vote separately. (white women, then black men and then black women, for example.) The roll over effect you're describing isn't as prominent or even legally sound as you make it out to be, and from what I know of how precedent works you can't take a precedent used in an entirely different issue and throw it out as applicable to a different one. I don't see how it's even remotely likely that someone pushing something like the Clean Air Act, for example, that requires stipulations on vehicles in smog-dense areas, would immediately or even eventually in the future lead to the government telling people how to raise their children or what sort of weapons they can have in their homes.
Right now it's the Clean Air act. What will be next? Closing down shooting ranges because of all the "pollution" put out by the ammunition? Remember what I said about the stepping stone process? While you and I may not have an agenda to get rid of firearms, there are those that would jump at the opportunity to use environmental laws to further restrict firearm ownership by making it such a pain in the rear to do so that the owners would rather give up their guns than deal with the hassle. This is just one example of many.
My issues with new laws is threefold: 1) What I'm trying to show is that it's not the individual laws itself, but the overall effect of adding in more laws, regardless of the "crime" they are meant to prevent. Where is the line drawn?
2) There are already many environmental laws on the books enacted by the various states themselves. Let's either enforce them or get rid of them before we add more. Making it more complicated and run by the federal government doesn't mean it's more efficient. See the US Tax Code for an example.
2) Laws, by their very nature, restrict the freedoms of individuals. I don't believe in anarchy, but I don't believe in having a law on how efficient my vehicle is.
Simply not true. Check out Cali's law's on smog output allowed by vehicles and the sorts of checks every vehicle in the state has to go through to be "legal" for a good example of how a law can work. I lived in California and bought my current vehicle down there, and I can tell you it's bad enough down there currently without a bunch of exhaust belching vehicles making it worse.
That's Cali. In Alaska, there are similar laws. I never knew about the laws until I moved out of the state. Are you honestly telling me that every single law is being followed at all times? Does every person that violates the speed limit punished? In Washington State it's illegal to talk on your cell while driving, yet I see people doing it every day.
What I'm trying to say is that efforts are better spent in areas other than lawmaking. How about educating the public? Not to kids in public school (don't get me started on that), but things like documentaries, papers, news stories, etc. Instead of stating "The Earth is being damaged and that's all there is to it. The debate is over." but I'd rather see "You don't believe this as a problem. Here is what is happening, the science behind it, and how it affects you. Here's some counter arguments and counter experts as well so you can decide for yourself." Want to guess how many non-environmentalists really care about the logging of the Amazon, or how it affects them? How many people in Nevada care about the water quality in London?
Every time I see a documentary on Discovery or the like, all I see is people that are preaching to the choir about how the environment is damaged, etc. They never address, on a level that everybody can understand, the stated issues and an honest explanation of the science with both sides represented. The rhetoric is all the same, everybody's heard it a million times, and so they change the channel (unless they happen to be one of the choir).
You also keep throwing China out there as an example of how we can "go wrong" if we let too many laws get into place, but realize that I'm simply talking about laws that protect the government and prohibit or force an alteration of technology (which I think would be good, and can't really see anything wrong with it) in order to make it safer for the environment AND (key point here) safer for our health, because it has to be said that in the long run, poopy air quality and water quality is going to lead to poorer health and possibly death.
Maybe it's the Alaskan born-and-bred in me, but I see it as a case of "Give 'em an inch, and they'll take a mile." Before the Civil War, people used to say "The United States are". Now they say "The United States is", meaning that instead of individual soverign States, there is now one single soverign State called the US. The Civil War wasn't about slavery. It was about State's rights, the ability to govern themselves as per the Constitution. Since the Civil War, each State has had more and more soverignty stripped away, and there's not much they could do to get it back.
If we were to give the Federal Government the ability to mandate new technology, regardless of which issue it's meant to address or how a sizeable portion of the nation felt about that new technology (and whether or not it were even needed), then a precedent is set for further action. The more power we give to the government to govern every aspect of our lives, regardless of whether that governance is bad (Patriot Act) or good (Interstate highway construction), they will run with it as far as they can just because they can. In every governmental system, their first priority is to ensure their continuing power and governance.
This is less of a ambivalent refusal to believe in an ideology and more of a "head in sand" behavior. Like it's been pointed out in various articles and what has to be recognized with basic common sense, if the environment gets trashed then we get trashed.
For some, it is a head in the sand thing. For many, many others, however, it's not a head in the sand thing, it's that their conclusions based on their reading and reasearch are different than yours. There are 3 basic types:
1)For some, their research amounts to what the talking heads say on the "Media" channels like CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC, etc. If their news channel of choice says it, then it must be true! It's not that they're just ignoring you, it's that their primary source of information says it's not a problem, and that's good enough for them.
2)For others, it's been an in-depth look at evidence, science, and opinion on both sides that has drawn them to the believe that there is no problem, that the environmentalists are the ones with their heads in the sand and refusing to see that they were duped by the biggest scam in history. The "logical disbelievers" have seen Al Gore's movie, his "hockey stick" diagram, and all the evidence on the 'net debunking his movie. They're not convinced that there is a problem because they have seen research supporting both sides, and have come down on the side that doesn't agree with yours.
3)Then there are others, like myself, who have done the research and are still undecided about some things, but have a firm belief about others, so we debate on forums like these as a way to try to further our understanding.
They may see this on things like Global Warming, which is a much larger issue and thus much harder to collect ENOUGH conclusive evidence, but like I said in an earlier post, there are enough localized problems, like smog or polluted groundwater or various local species (needed for survival, I might add, try growing any food when all your pollinating insects have died off.) to pose a huge, very real threat. This is not some absentee paternal figure that some people believe in and think everyone else should believe in too; this is measurable, seen with the senses and recorded by science, danger, threat to human life as we know it. It's like going out, punching someone in the face, and then telling them that you don't believe that the punch actually happened, when you've got their bloody broken nose right in front of you. So no, I don't believe it's the same as trying to prove a "religion" is real. We've got the evidence overwhelmingly in our hands.
Again with the evidence. The evidence is not overwhelmingly convincing. If it were, there would be no debate. The fact that there is debate says that there is some merit to your evidence, but it's far from concretely conclusive on all points. On some points (such as arsenic in the water), yes, but not all by a long shot (such as global warming). It's as there is no true and irrefutable religion, otherwise there would be only one religion in the world as it would have beaten out all others.
When I was comparing religion to environmentalism is wasn't about the evidence of the beliefs, it's about the fervor with which you argue your facts. Not every place has those localized problems you mentioned. We don't have smog, bad water (other than what is naturally ocurring), lack of pollinating insects, or probelms getting food. If you weren't present at the brawl for you to get your nose busted, was it really in danger? The wheat farmers for the 100+ miles west of me worry about things like loosing their topsoil due to overuse, whether or not the rains will affect their crops, and the price of gas to run their machines. None of these problems have to do with the environment at their locale. Without the hubub or attention of the environmentalists, they've solved their topsoil problems, gamble on the rains just like they do every year, and come up with their own solutions to save gas. No laws, no requirements, no governmental oversight. The industry provided some solutions, simple innovation and ingenuity provided others.
I actually agree with you wholeheartedly on this. BUT...I also don't think the answer is to just stop making laws, I'd prefer to overhaul what we have, get rid of the stupid laws that don't make sense and don't do anything, and work harder to create ones that make sense and that are enforcable and reasonable, while still protecting what they're meant to protect. It's not a free for all, either all laws or no laws, in my opinion; it's something thats going to take a lot of time and intelligence and action on the part of the "We the Lazy and Insipid People" and this is why I think talking about it is so important, because we still DO have some power as individuals in this country, we're just giving it away because we think it's easier to let people decide things for us. Hence idiotic laws go through and good useful ones that may take more time to hone out and develop are ignored because no one wants to bother with actual "work."
And it requires work in thinking too, I suppose, because it's dangerous to settle yourself into a niche with "Laws are good!" or "Laws are bad!" When has it ever been so black and white as that? It requires thought in relation to each separate issue instead of trying to apply the same belief (i.e. laws are bad) to EVERY issue, when in some instances they aren't.
Ah, but therein lies the rub. Remember, words such as "morality" and "ethics" are subject to interpertation. We even have a thread centered in part on the definition of "consumerism" and whether or not it's a good or bad thing.
It's a rub because those things you and I are arguing about are grey, and you are correct on that point. However, laws are black and white. An act is either lawful, or it's not.
The statement "The environment is being damaged, and will be beyong saving if we don't do something about it" is grey. You may see it as black and white based on your conclusions of the evidence that you've seen, but others view it differently. This fact alone makes it a grey issue. Same thing goes for gun control, capital punishment, healthcare and a host of others.
If that was a rant, then I'd hate to see you on a really bad day.
Don't worry, I'm having fun here. This is good stuff.
You may not be able to outrun Death, but you can sure make the Bastard work for it!
-Opening line from an Andromeda episode
If at first you don't succeed, redefine success - Unknown