Tuesday, October 11, 2005

French anti-SUV terrorists

Some months ago I wrote about French winemaker terrorists, who bombed government offices in southern France because the government wasn't doing enough to bail them out of their self-induced business crisis.

Now we have French anti-SUV terrorists, as reported in the LA Times. (Registration required; I recommend using Bugmenot.com.) Today's daily newsletter from the Foundation for Economic Education mentions it, commenting that "Bad economics + bad ethics = uncivil action."

I didn't see FEE's reference until I got home, but I saw the article while at work. The SUV owners have every right to be angry, because hooligans with no respect for others' property rights are running around making their vehicles dirty, or flattening their tires, which wastes the owners' time and money: they must get their SUVs washed clean, and/or the tires reinflated. So there is harm being done here, and apparently les gendarmes are too stupide to realize that. Also stupide is "the president of a French association of SUV owners," who apparently didn't seize on that point during a debate; instead, he compared the vandals' actions to racism.

What caught my eye was Paris' deputy mayor spouting some of the most idiotic rhetoric I've ever heard:
The situation is striking: The country that refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol suffered from a climatic catastrophe.... We all feel sorry for the dead in New Orleans. But now maybe the United States should start considering that their development pattern is not to be repeated worldwide and that it causes environmental problems.
Climatic catastrophe? How many died from Katrina? About 1000 so far, and climbing slowly. On the other hand, nearly 15 thousand died in France during the heat wave. Katrina was not preventable, but the latter was, so someone tell me which is worse?

The "Deflators" would do well to read Ben Stein's September 2nd column, a good primer for those who believe the nonsense that global warming and Bush's refusal to ratify Kyoto are making hurricanes worse:
2.) George Bush did not cause the hurricane. Hurricanes have been happening for eons. George Bush did not create them or unleash this one.

3.) George Bush did not make this one worse than others. There have been far worse hurricanes than this before George Bush was born.

4.) There is no overwhelming evidence that global warming exists as a man-made phenomenon. There is no clear-cut evidence that global warming even exists. There is no clear evidence that if it does exist it makes hurricanes more powerful or makes them aim at cities with large numbers of poor people. If global warming is a real phenomenon, which it may well be, it started long before George Bush was inaugurated, and would not have been affected at all by the Kyoto treaty, considering that Kyoto does not cover the world's worst polluters -- China, India, and Brazil. In a word, George Bush had zero to do with causing this hurricane. To speculate otherwise is belief in sorcery.
Moreover, Katrina was a strong hurricane, but not the strongest. Remember that it had weakened to a category 4 by landfall. The damage was more because of where it hit, not because of how powerful it was. "Climatic catastrophe" my one-quarter-French behind.

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