One of my favorite hours

Tonight some people will sit in the dark and cold, thinking they’re making a difference in global climate. Fools!

Instead, you should do what I’ve told you to do a few times in the past and celebrate Human Achievement Hour, a brainchild of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. This occurs at 8:30 tonight, which so happens to be the same time as that dark and cold hour some “celebrate” – I guess they call it Earth Hour, perhaps because it reminds them of the unlit mud huts they seem to prefer as our standard of living. But while the global climate change brigade talks a good game, the list of confirmed participants in Earth Hour seems to be dwindling in number each year.

At that moment in time, we will be wrapping up our Lincoln Day Dinner, while others will be partaking in a local event I’ve enjoyed before during Human Achievement Hour.

Unfortunately, while Maryland isn’t officially celebrating Earth Hour insofar as I’m aware – although the city of Gaithersburg had a one-minute celebration, proving the absolute folly of the idea – they are working very hard to enact the ideas behind Earth Hour by restricting rural development, making ratepayers pay for unreliable offshore wind while stopping the economically more sensible development of natural gas along Maryland’s panhandle, and making driving more expensive while subsidizing mass transit only a small percentage of state residents use.

Even environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg disagrees with the Earth Hour concept:

I’m not keen on the “investment” in green energy (having witnessed Solyndra, Ener1, and dozens of other failed Obama plays) but I’m certain that someday there will be a place for those in “energy poverty” to be brought up. Lomborg seems to agree with the philosophy that a rising tide lifts all boats rather than taking from those who have to make everyone except a well-connected elite equally miserable. Come to think of it, that’s the sort of government most of those 1.3 billion probably live with.

In the end, CEI says it’s indeed about lifting up all of us:

HAH is an annual event meant to recognize and celebrate the fact that this is the greatest time to be alive, and that the reason we have come (this far) 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.

While I have lived during a period which is but a speck of a particle of human history, I vaguely remember the hubbub of man walking on the moon (I was only 4 at the time.) Only the brightest among us at the time could contemplate the world in which we live now, where for example I type on a screen and my words are instantly transmitted to those corners of the globe where there’s the means for them to be seen. Unfortunately, some are still living with standards which were primitive in 1964 when I was born.

Earth Hour won’t do a thing to help those unfortunate souls, but allowing unfettered human achievement might.

Something better to do

As I have the last few years, I wanted to take time out and encourage people to follow the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s lead and celebrate Human Achievement Hour later tonight, from 8:30 to 9:30. As Christine Hall of CEI notes, Human Achievement Hour is “an annual celebration of individual freedom and appreciation of the achievements and innovations that people have used to improve their lives throughout history. ” We should “enjoy the benefits of capitalism and human innovation,” she added.

It’s unfortunate that the timing of particular events didn’t lend itself to a fairly proper local celebration of Human Achievement Hour, but that report will have to wait until next week I suppose. Petting Hendrix cranking out tunes with bright lights and several hundred watts of amplification seemed a fitting way to celebrate the time period since they were the ones on stage at that time, but alas that all happened last week. However, I’m sure a number of local venues are hosting live music tonight and that will do just fine just so long as it’s not unplugged acoustic.

In fact, it just so happened that I did a bang-up job of celebrating this four years ago, before I even knew about Human Achievement Hour. That celebration didn’t come along until 2009, when I noted the event’s first rendition. I also made mention of this in 2010 and last year when I rolled it into a Weekend of local rock post. The point is, we live in a society which depends on those things we have created to make our lives better, and sitting in the dark to celebrate Earth Hour – which just happens to coincide – believing it makes a difference only places a bold “S” on your forehead, meaning “sucker.”

Do I believe we should strive for energy efficiency? Absolutely, when it makes sense to do so based on a solid cost vs. benefit analysis. (I liked to use a payback period of five years or less in mine.) Problem is the same people who believe we should sit in the dark for an hour would eventually love to make us do so by fiat, or else creating the conditions where we will be forced into such a situation.

Unlike previous years, it does not appear that Maryland state government will participate; however, the National Cathedral in Washington and National Aquarium in Baltimore will participate. To be honest, the National Aquarium will be more of a symbolic effort because I can guarantee you the aquatic life they’re supporting needs some power to maintain their respective environments. If they completely went black you’d have a lot of dead fish. (They are also closed to the public during that time frame anyway so it’s not like they’re losing business.)

And that’s the rub. There are people and entities who know they can do Earth Hour to look politically correct yet not pay for it in the long run. Notice as well this falls on the weekend, when many are home enjoying their lifestyle. This wouldn’t fly if they tried it on a weekday evening when kids are doing homework or parents are running late-evening errands. Saturday is that day many people relax, perhaps by visiting the National Aquarium.

In particular, I’m sure their staff has probably fallen for this global climate change garbage hook, line, and sinker. They forget that it’s progress and abundant, reasonably-priced energy created from fossil fuels which aids in making the lifestyle where people can afford to pony up $25 to $30 to visit. Have you ever wondered why there’s not such a facility in places like Rwanda or Bangladesh? It’s because most people in those wretched places are worrying about where their next meal will come from and can only dream of having disposable income to spend.

And it’s in the vein of knowing we live in the greatest society the planet has ever known that we celebrate Human Achievement Hour. I’m not sure just what I’ll be doing, but I doubt that it will involve sitting in the dark being environmentally correct.