It’s not a scientific fact that peas and carrots go well together

For some time, I've gotten these regular e-mails called "Peas and Carrots Reports" from a South Carolina-oriented group called "Citizens for Sound Conservation." (Get it? Citizens for S.C.? I assume that's intentional.)

I've never had time really to look into what sort of group this is, or even read these reports, but I gather that it's one of those groups whose philosophy can be summed up as "Protecting the environment is great and all, but let's not get carried away." You know — we can have all the growth we want without really seriously hurting the environment. Which I don't necessarily disagree with, although I find that folks who start from that proposition generally drift more and more toward the growth, and farther and farther from the environmental protection.

No, what has vaguely bothered me about these reports is the "Peas and Carrots" part. It apparently arises from what I take to be the group's motto, "Because growth and protection go together — just like peas and carrots." The irritating thing about this to me is that I always thought the line was dumb when Forrest Gump said it, and I'm pretty sure it was meant to sound dumb, Mr. Gump being, you know, the way he was. Sort of an endearingly goofy thing to say. It was sort of meant to suggest that since peas and carrots were often packaged together and (I guess) his mama served them to him that way, he thought there was some sort of inherent connection. But there isn't, not really. Root vegetable and legume, green and orange — not a whole lot of similarities that I can see. And personally, I never thought they tasted good together. At best, an odd combo.

Anyway, that's about as far as my analysis of these reports had gone until the one I got today, which said the following (the boldfaced emphasis is mine):

    Despite the near 24-7 coverage focusing on how cool President Obama is and how his wife has already become a fashion icon, there was a good bit of news on the environmental front.  First, it’s becoming more and more apparent that Americans are skeptical of global warming – which means any state and federal policies being based upon that theory must be re-evaluated.  Second, while the causes of climate change continue to be debated our dependence on fossil fuels remains strong.  As such, support for more offshore exploration for oil and natural gas continues to grow.  And last, the private sector continues to embrace and transition into a more green economy – but government doesn’t need to overstep its bounds.  That’s the big question for 2009.

Come again? You say polls show that the propaganda campaign to cast doubt on global warming has gained some traction, so since more Americans doubt the science on this, we should change our policies?

Say what? Does that mean that if a majority of Americans comes to believe that the Earth is flat and you'll fall off if you go too far, the U.S. Navy should stay in the Western Hemisphere. (Yeah, some of our isolationists would love that, but it would still be nuts.)

I tend to get impatient with liberals who rant about how policies should be based in sound science and nothing else. Not that I've got anything against science, but because their real point is that our policies in no way should be based in deeply held values (specifically, religion-based values). Take that far enough, and you get eugenics or something equally horrible and "scientific." So when Obama said "We will restore science to its rightful place," I winced, because I know among Democrats that's code for "We'll do stem cell research whether you think it's morally right or not." That made it my second least-favorite part of a speech that on the whole I liked a lot.

But the idea that we should reverse policies meant to protect the Earth (not that we have many such policies to any serious extent) because a poll shows the average person doubts the science (never mind what the doubt is based in) is crazy.

Our republic is based in the notion that our elected representatives study issues and become more knowledgable about them than the average poll respondent. It too seldom works that way as things stand, with the ubiquity of polling and other pressures on elected officials to do the popular thing whether it's the right thing or not. This takes it to an absurd degree.

As to the larger point: Doubt is cast on global warming by people who simply do not want to do what it would take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I have gathered that they would not want to do it whatever the science is, and therefore they have resolved not to believe the science, and to cling to anything that might cast doubt on it.

I have a very different attitude: The way I look at it, even if there were only a 10 percent chance that our emissions were causing global warming, and that that was a bad thing, I say why the hell not reduce our emissions — especially since there are so many other good reasons (such as our strategic position in the world) to burn less gasoline, and to move past coal to nuclear, and all that other good Energy Party stuff.

And yeah, the fact that it MIGHT help the planet is an additional reason to do things that ought to be common sense.

Here's the thing — I'm pretty much open to any good argument. And I'm concerned enough about economic development that I still haven't made my mind up about that new coal-fired plant proposed for the Pee Dee.

28 thoughts on “It’s not a scientific fact that peas and carrots go well together

  1. Tom the Woodsman

    Say what?! There is no evidence whatsoever that “it’s becoming more and more apparent that Americans are skeptical of global warming.” This is the big lie theory at work – say it long enough and hope it comes true. The real evidence is on the scientific side that climate change is quite real and the vast majority of people accept this, as far as I’m aware.

  2. Lee Muller

    Why not reduce emissions?
    * Because it is a waste of talent and money to reduce something that is not a problem.
    * Because it costs a lot of money and talent to reduce the last few percent of pollution. From 1970 to 1992, automobile tailpipe emissions per vehicle were reduced 97 percent. We can maybe remove 1% of that remaining 3%, but the cost is probably more than the previous 30%.
    * Chasing some minisule technological reduction in pollution is not a solution, but only a postponement of a total overall increase in pollution, unless the root cause is eliminated. That root cause is not in technology at all, but in sheer numbers.
    If you decrease automobile emissions per vehicle 1%, but increase the number of cars on the road 1.10%, or the miles driven by 1.1%, the total pollution increases.
    At this point, our efforts would be better spent discouraging rampant breeding by the world’s least educated, least civilized, and most wasteful people, here and abroad.
    But reducing the world’s population by 50% is politically unpopular, for reasons of voting blocks, masses of ignorant followers, economic demand, and religious politics.

  3. Ralph

    The thing that I do not understand about Santee Cooper is if the need for all of the additional energy is needed to have economic development why don’t they allow everyone that wants to produce electricity with photovoltaic solar cells do so? Don’t they buy peak load electricity from out of state utilities now?
    With the use of “true net metering”, homeowners, businesses, even city and counties could take the peak loads off with no cost to the utility. In some states with “true net metering” the utilities are finding that additional coal fired plants are not needed.
    How is that for keeping a open mind.

  4. bud

    Here’s the thing — I’m pretty much open to any good argument.
    That’s a good one Brad. This from the man who endorsed George W. Bush and Sarah Palin for high office.

  5. Brad Warthen

    As I made abundantly clear at the time, we did not endorse Sarah Palin for anything. I mean, how hard is this: Read the words that I write. I make my positions abundantly clear. If I had intended to endorse Sarah Palin, I would have said so — I would have given you reasons for it. But what did I do? I did the opposite. I made it clear that I was NOT endorsing Sarah Palin. I really left no room for confusion on the point.
    You know exactly what we did, and why we did it: We endorsed John McCain, and for all the reasons that we (and I) set out, in far greater detail than you have ever seen from any newspaper in explaining our position.
    Just because the problems with Sarah Palin are big enough in YOUR mind to outweigh any positive reasons to have endorsed John McCain doesn’t mean that they are in mine. Why is it so hard for you to understand that a person can look at Sarah Palin and on the whole see her as a minus on the ticket, but not enough to negate the reasons for endorsing the guy who’s actually running for president. Why do you have trouble understanding that we have NEVER to my knowledge decided our presidential endorsement on the basis of the running mate, and that I saw no reason to break that precedent here? I mean, you know I don’t think much of John Edwards. But I don’t recall mentioning him in explaining why we could not endorse John Kerry (which, I will remind you, was the actual choice before us in 2004 — we weren’t choosing between Bush and Abraham Lincoln or FDR; we were choosing between two extremely unappealing candidates, a classic case of either way you look at it you lose).
    Or is it that you fully understand my position, but maliciously misrepresent it, because you know how personally irritating it is to me for anyone to suggest that I endorsed Sarah Palin? And do you bring up Bush because you know that I never liked the guy — that I believe with all my heart that McCain should have been elected in 2000, and that the choices before us in the general elections in 2000 and 2004 would have been painful and distasteful to me either way we went? (In other words, if you were reminding me that we endorsed John Kerry, you would likewise be tapping on a sore point?)
    If so, why the hell do you do that? Why do any of you who do that sort of thing habitually do it? What kind of way is that to have a discussion with your fellow human beings?
    “Brad Warthen is a decent, honest human being who does his best… LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL… What a laugh!”

  6. blue bunny

    i’m all for reducing pollution and conserving natural resources; but global warming aka climate change is the LOL fake science scam. our politicians jump on the bandwagon only because they salivate over the tax dollars they can generate with their carbon credits and off set schemes.
    if they cared they would be pushing nuclear, but instead they fiddle with cap and trade.

  7. Birch Barlow

    Bud’s posts on Palin : Brad :: Brad’s posts on libertarianism : libertarians on this blog

  8. Reader

    Ready:Aim:NerveStruck, Bud.
    Why do you do that??? Especially when we don’t have the benefit of a web cam or something?
    Sarah Palin would have been to John McCain EXACTLY what Hillary would have been to Barack Obama as VP. A constant power struggle.

  9. Reader

    Now that Hillary has the whole rest of the world, it is totally cool that Barack has the US.
    Now that John McCain has given Sarah Palin a taste of having the REST of the U.S.A., he has created a monster. But a very respectable monster, and we all need a monster on our side.

  10. Doug Ross

    What are the current odds on whether Bristol Palin will marry Levi Johnston before he gets his GED?
    How does somebody reconcile all the campaign rhetoric and photo ops with the fact that the baby was born to an unwed mother? Do they not have justices of the peace up there in Alaska?
    Sarah Palin will never get anywhere near the White House. Thankfully.

  11. Heidi Peacock

    Thanks to John McCain, Sarah Palin is now ALL ABOUT GETTING ALL UP IN that White House.
    She has the time: MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE.
    She has the cult of personality of a white, female Barack Obama.
    She flat out does.
    I am even falling under her spell — and I was one of her fiercest critics just 5 months ago.

  12. Brad Warthen

    Doug, do you really think it’s appropriate to discuss the painful personal problems of a couple of teenagers just because the mother of one of them WAS, but is no longer, a candidate for national office?

    Oh, and Tom (“the Woodsman,” first comment in the thread) — they’re not making it up about the polls. I apologize; I meant to include the links they provided, to this about a Rasmussen poll, and this from Pew Research.

    Make what you will of the data, but those apparently were the basis of the particular “Peas and Carrots Report” that prompted my post.

    I’ve still seen no poll numbers to support the idea that most Americans like peas and carrots together…

  13. Brad Warthen

    Now, field peas and ricethose go together. Or blackeyed peas and rice — Hoppin’ John.

    Or, for most people (but not for me, since I am seriously allergic to eggs), ham and eggs. My alternative to that is grits and bacon. My favorite detail ever in an Elmore Leonard novel was when two characters in Out of Sight (which was made into a movie with JLo and George Clooney) are talking about grits and bacon, and one of them says he likes to crumble up his bacon in the grits. Now that’s literature. Yeah, boy. It spoke to me.

    Or, if you’re Hispanic (at least, it was big in Ecuador when I lived
    there, and I think I’ve heard people from other Spanish-speaking
    countries speak of it, too), arroz con pollo.

    Note that rice comes up a lot with me. When you’re allergic to bread, rice can be the staff of life. Of course, I’m allergic to pollo, too, so never mind.

  14. Doug Ross

    >Doug, do you really think it’s ppropriate
    >to discuss the painful personal problems of
    >a couple of teenagers just because the
    >mother of one of them WAS, but is no longer,
    >a candidate for national office?
    It’s as appropriate as parading your unwed dropout teenage daughter around the campaign trail and daring people to question whether that was a good idea.
    How can it be painful? Everything was gumdrops and rainbows when she was up on the stage. Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston are the poster childred for the new Republican family values message aren’t they? We were told they were going to get married… that they had been discussing it for a long time…
    Cynical me wonders whether there would have been a shotgun wedding had McCain won.

  15. slugger

    How does spending hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives stimulate the economy?
    You may as well send them peas and carrots along with the contraceptives but be sure that they are cooked. Maybe we should be sure that the house has electricity. They would need a stove to cook and a pot to cook them in. Gosh. Maybe contraceptives would stimulate the economy after all. While they are not using the contraceptives they could stimulate something besides each other. Now. That is doing something for the country. Just be sure that the balloon does not bust.

  16. Lee Muller

    It requires a tremendous amount of high-temperature energy to create solar collectors, especially photovoltaic cells – melting sand into glass, refining bauxite into aluminum.
    And there are a lot of really toxic chemicals involved in many of the solar collectors.
    That is why they are expensive. The free market is reflecting their true costs, and their true costs to society.
    Subsidizing inefficient technologies, or mandating their use, is counterproductive and harmful to businesses, consumers, the economy, and the environment.

  17. bud

    York, of course an endorsement of McCain was an endorsement of Palin. Given the fact that 1/3 of all Vice Presidents eventually became president AND that McCain was old AND a cancer survivor the Palin pick should have carried a great deal of weight when endorsement time came up. Yet Brad was somehow able to completely ignore that HUGE elephant in the room and endorse McCain over someone (Obama) that he claimed to like. Geez, the mental gymanstics must have been painful. It gives me a headache just trying to reconcile the many gaps in logic with all of that.
    Then again, it’s really quite simple. Brad has had some weird man crush on McCain for years and he was really just was not even capabile of thinking it through logically. He chose simply to ignore Palin in the whole equation. Unbelievable isn’t it? The most utterly unqualified person ever would now be just a heartbeat away from the presidency if Brad had his way. That is really scary folks. Thankfully the American people had more sense than the editorial board of the State newspaper.

  18. Karen McLeod

    When I visited Spain several years ago I noticed that they had windmills planted in almost every spot that got consistent wind. We need more of those. I suspect that we don’t have more nuclear plants because most people are afraid of them, but I think we need to be more afraid of the coal fired plants. I believe I saw in the news the other day that cleaning up the air in areas resulted in an increase in life expectancy. A nuclear plant might possibly (although very unlikely) experience an accident that caused much damage and/or death; coal fired plants and auto exhaust are guaranteed to cause harm. There are even people seeking to safely harness the ocean waves (talk about energy!) We must be willing to invest in green technology or we are going to find ourselves a third world country living in an ecological slum of our own making.

  19. Lee Muller

    How do you feel about the huge numbers of birds killed by windmills?
    Would you want one of those ugly things near your house?
    Spain almost no coal, oil or natural gas of its own. They are stuck with second-rate and third-rate energy sources.

  20. Lynn

    I’m afraid that I don’t understand why it is “malicious” to point out that endorsing John McCain necessarily meant endorsing a presidential ticket that included Sarah Palin. The only explanation that has been given for not considering her was that VP candidates are not usually a make-or-break factor in endorsements. That is true, but then most VP candidates are basically not very different from the Presidential candidate. That was not true this time. Had something happened to John McCain, a Palin presidency would not have looked anything like a McCain presidency. So, I won’t be “irritating” and say that Brad endorsed Sarah Palin, but I will say that recommending giving Sarah Palin a considerably better than 30% chance of becoming President of the U.S. deserved some better explanation than was given.

  21. Lynn

    I’m afraid that I don’t understand why it is “malicious” to point out that endorsing John McCain necessarily meant endorsing a presidential ticket that included Sarah Palin. The only explanation that has been given for not considering her was that VP candidates are not usually a make-or-break factor in endorsements. That is true, but then most VP candidates are basically not very different from the Presidential candidate. That was not true this time. Had something happened to John McCain, a Palin presidency would not have looked anything like a McCain presidency. So, I won’t be “irritating” and say that Brad endorsed Sarah Palin, but I will say that recommending giving Sarah Palin a considerably better than 30% chance of becoming President of the U.S. deserved some better explanation than was given.

  22. Karen McLeod

    I didn’t see any dead birds, and I wouldn’t mind having one or more near me, since I didn’t consider them ugly. Don’t be fooled, people; we now kill so many creatures with oil spills and befoul our air with auto emissions and other air pollution, that we should welcome any opportunity to change to less dangerous, less polluting varieties of energy.

  23. Brad Warthen

    Sorry you found the explanation unsatisfactory, Lynn, but all I can do is tell you the truth, which I have done — both in print and on the blog — ad nauseam. And that’s why it’s malicious to say — and to state it in a vacuum, utterly without context, that I “endorsed Sarah Palin,” when I was very clear about the fact that I was not doing so.
    How hard is it for you people to understand that for me, the reasons to endorse McCain outweighed Palin’s negatives? It’s the simple truth, but because you disagree, you insist upon denying MY explanation of what I did, and that most certainly is malicious, because it precludes having a civil conversation.
    Coming from bud, “you endorsed Sarah Palin” is not only an untruth, but one that is obviously intended to accomplish nothing other than to insult and delegitimize me and every thing I say. And such bad-faith gestures are destructive to dialogue.
    There are few greater insults that to say I am not open to a good argument. To rub THAT insult in with a deliberately insulting lie is precisely the kind of malicious incivility that I’ve been working to overcome since I started this blog.
    There’s not much point in our conversing here if we don’t listen to each other and, at the very least, do each other the common courtesy of accepting each person’s explanation of what he or she thinks and why he or she thinks it. Otherwise, all of this is ABSOLUTELY POINTLESS.

  24. Lee Muller

    Palin’s negatives?
    Like the RNC buying her a wardrobe?
    That was so much worse than Obama taking $40,000,000 in payola for his inauguration from banks receiving TARP money.

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