August 5, 2012

San Francisco, tear down this dam!

The Hetch Hetchy Valley in California's Sierra Nevada mountains is the Lower 48's second most spectacular glacier sculpted valley of sheer granite cliffs. The most spectacular is of course Yosemite Valley, 17 miles to the south. In 1913, Congress handed the city of San Francisco the right to turn Hetch Hetchy into a reservoir and profit off the water and electricity even though it is in Yosemite National Park. The battle against submerging this valley was one of the roots of activist environmentalism.

In the late 1980s, Reagan's Interior Secretary Don Hodel came up with a great divisive environmental issue: San Francisco, tear down this dam!

The citizens of San Francisco are finally going to vote on whether to even consider giving up this reservoir. Local Democratic politicians like Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, and mayor Ed Lee are utterly opposed to restoring Hetch Hetchy to its natural state. 

In general, I think that people on the right are way too concerned about trying to figure out correct universal principles when it comes to environmental issues. Instead, think of environmental regulations as tools. San Francisco Bay Area liberal politicians are smarter: they are adamant environmentalists when it is in their constituents' interests and adamant anti-environmentalists when it's not.

39 comments:

Norville Rogers said...

It's not about opportunist statesmanship. Their proverbial average constituent probably likes the idea (the ballot measure didn't materialize from thin air) but the SF ward heelers aren't fielding inducements to support it and will realistically never pay a price for opposing it. Real Tocquevillian public servants

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Steve - I already called this.. It would be pure right-wing bigotry to deny the burgeoning, diverse population of San Francisco this valuable natural resource.

Anonymous said...

I'm enjoying your foray into environmental issues, Steve.

kudzu bob said...

Instead, think of environmental regulations as tools. San Francisco Bay Area liberal politicians are smarter: they are adamant environmentalists when it is in their constituents' interests and adamant anti-environmentalists when it's not.

Absolutely right. Why immigration restrictionists haven't made better use of ecological and conservation issues as clubs to beat liberals over the head with is beyond me.

"What about all the extra carbon that immigrants will burn? What about all the water and energy that they'll require? What about all the undeveloped land that will have to be paved over to supply them with housing? What about overcrowding? Don't you people even care about the environment?" And so on and so forth.

How hard could it be to frame the argument in those terms, for Christ's sake? The talking points practically write themselves. The Republicans really are the Stupid Party, it seems.

I hope that Obama wins, so that it might hasten the destruction of the GOP and its replacement by an actual conservative party with enough brains to understand that the moral high ground is theirs for the taking.

Anonymous said...

How hard could it be to frame the argument in those terms, for Christ's sake? The talking points practically write themselves. The Republicans really are the Stupid Party, it seems.

Probably because the elites don't expect nor want poor immigrants to turn into middle class commuting suburbanites. They want them to be a helot class. They don't want there to be a high consumption middle class.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

kudzu bob - because only a small class of white liberals go hiking. The largest liberal voting bloc, urban white women, don't give a shit about the environment. Their hobby is shopping in nice air-conditioned buildings. "Environmentalism" is as dead a cause as "the working man."

Anonymous said...

Democrats aren't rapid environmentalists when it's in their constituents' best interests at all. They are rabid environmentalists when it furthers the project to impose leftist tyranny. Environmental regulations as they stand today are one of the primary reasons our economy has been destroyed, outsourced and dependent on illegal, third-world savages. That's not in the best interests of any American constituency. It does further the goal of imposing leftist tyranny.

Anonymous said...

San Francisco Bay Area liberal politicians are smarter: they are adamant environmentalists when it is in their constituents' interests and adamant anti-environmentalists when it's not.

It's not so much about their constituents, as it is about Agenda 21. These liberal elites are Agenda 21 environmentalists. San Francisco is actually one of the vanguard urban areas as far as implementing Agenda 21 in the US goes. It's being implemented under the name "Plan Bay Area".

They want to urbanize populations with enough power for large, high pop. density urban centers (hence support for the reservoir), while de-industrializing suburban/rural areas as much as possible. Birth rates fall in urban areas, and the high pop. density is aimed at lowering per capita carbon output.

Beecher Asbury said...

Absolutely right. Why immigration restrictionists haven't made better use of ecological and conservation issues as clubs to beat liberals over the head with is beyond me.

Because the $PLC has already check mated that move by coining the term, 'the greening of hate.' They have successfully linked racism to immigration restriction. Game, set and match to the open borders guys.

Anonymous said...

"What about all the extra carbon that immigrants will burn? What about all the water and energy that they'll require? What about all the undeveloped land that will have to be paved over to supply them with housing? What about overcrowding? Don't you people even care about the environment?" And so on and so forth.

Good talking points. Let's put them to use.

kudzu bob said...

Because the $PLC has already check mated that move by coining the term, 'the greening of hate.' They have successfully linked racism to immigration restriction. Game, set and match to the open borders guys.

You are too easily discouraged.

I had already read the essay that you link to, but do not think that it is very useful to the Open Borders crowd. I can tell you from personal experience that it is childishly easy to put them on the defensive merely by asking how they plan to deal with the additional 150 million people that current immigration policies will have saddled us with by 2050.

"You're bigoted," they will say, and we ask, "That doesn't answer the question of where all that fresh water going to come from, now does it?" "You hate non-whites," they say,"and we respond, "That doesn't answer the question of much more pollution all the new arrivals will generate, now does it?" "You just use this a pretext for discrimination," and we respond, "That doesn't anser the question of how many endangered species will go extinct because their habitats got bulldozed to build new housing developments for immigrants, now does it?"

Over and over again, like that, until they get sick of hearing it.

The ecological argument against immigration is simple to understand, and therefore powerful. If repeated often enough it can shift the attitude of a fairly large number of pro-environment types who are otherwise politically middle of the road. Such a tactic doesn't even have to make them anti-immigration, merely cause them not to be pro-immigration, thereby neutralizing them. That represents a net loss to the other side.

As for the SPLC, the only people who care what they think work the mainstream media, but who watches TV news or reads the papers any more?

Anonymous said...

"They want to urbanize populations with enough power for large, high pop. density urban centers (hence support for the reservoir), while de-industrializing suburban/rural areas as much as possible. Birth rates fall in urban areas, and the high pop. density is aimed at lowering per capita carbon output."

What? Polluting industries have simply moved from rich countries to poor countries. That's a pretty poorly thought-out carbon reduction scheme. Rural migration into cities is global phenomenon especially in countries that are industrializing.

Anonymous said...

I had already read the essay that you link to, but do not think that it is very useful to the Open Borders crowd. I can tell you from personal experience that it is childishly easy to put them on the defensive merely by asking how they plan to deal with the additional 150 million people that current immigration policies will have saddled us with by 2050.

The open borders elites don't intend for there to be middle class and a broad high consumption population. They don't plan on sharing. They're planning on latifundiae and favelas.

Whiskey said...

Kudzu Bob is right. The $PLC is pretty much done. Someone in the British Govt in the 1960's asked who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel, when Rolling Stone Mick Jagger was arrested on drug charges. He got the charges dropped, understanding it was bad politics. Machiavelli advises a Prince early in his reign can be harsh and brutal, but later on MUST relax his rule and allow some harmless opponents and critics, otherwise he looks weak and doomed.

Putin is finding that out with Pussy Riot, jailing three fragile young women under thirty with kids for an obnoxious but harmless protest makes him look both goonish and WEAK.

$PLC went after ... PICK UP ARTISTS. Like ... Tucker Max. Yes Tucker Max is a purveyor of hate, because he won't call back after a one night stand. That right there eroded their standing.

When you label "Mystery" from VH1 as a hate criminal, its like calling Snooki and the Situation criminal masterminds. No one takes you seriously any more.

dearieme said...

God will tear down that dam in the end.

La Pelosi is waiting for God.

Lugash said...

I am Lugash.

Does the revenue from H.H. go directly into San Francisco's coffers?

I am Lugash.

carol said...

"Why immigration restrictionists haven't made better use of ecological and conservation issues as clubs to beat liberals over the head with is beyond me."

Not to get all serious and stuff, but it's too clever by half. This type of cynical move makes things go rapidly from bad to worse, like czarist to soviet worse. E.g, huge tracts of norcal civilization without water.

It's never a good idea to argue in bad faith. You might "win."

Mr. Anon said...

Let them drink bay water.

I subscribe to this as a general rule: Anything that is bad for San Francisco, and it's citizenry of snotty idiots, is a good thing.

kudzu bob said...

The open borders elites don't intend for there to be middle class and a broad high consumption population. They don't plan on sharing. They're planning on latifundiae and favelas.

If I remember correctly, Gregory Cochran thinks that the foreign policy crowd got us into Iraq not because of some sinister, long-term goal world domination, but simply because they're stupid.

Likewise, instead of the Open Borders crowd having a fiendishly clever plan to transform us into their serfs, they actually are dumb enough to believe their own propaganda about multiculturalism and racial equality.

They’re not all-seeing and all-powerful, far from it. Foolishness is their Achilles’ Heel. Even now their downfall looms. And as was the case with the Soviet Union, it will arrive with shocking rapidity.

pat said...

I have commented on Hetch Hetchy several times before on this blog. There are many political lessons here.

Partly I suppose it's jealousy. I lived in San Francisco for nearly twenty years. I appreciated the water. That wonderful Hetch Hetchy water. But then I moved to Oakland.

The good news is that Oakland water is almost as good. There is a row of deep glacial valleys in the Sierra. The most southerly is Yosemite. Just north is Hetch Hetchy and just north of that is the valley from which Oakland gets its water.

These valleys are all granite sided with relatively little dirt. When the last ice age came in about a hundred thousand years ago the ice sheet scraped all of that dirt away. Then about ten thousand years ago when the ice retreated we had three flat bottomed stone valleys. Natural swimming pools.

These valleys receive the rain clouds that blow in from the Pacific in the winter. These are very pollution free rain clouds. Most rain clouds that drift over developed land pick up industrial and auto emissions. Not Yosemite or Hetch Hetchy. These optimum natural reservoirs receive optimum precipitation.

One reason Diane Feinstein opposes Hetch hetchy is because it is also the site of a very exclusive resort. It is only open for San Francisco politicians. In the Bay Area this has long been a political issue. Periodically someone will try to get Hetch Hetchy opened to the public like Yosemite. The politicians argue that that would endanger the the purity of the water. More importantly it would endanger the exclusivity of the politicians only resort.

There is also a periodic local countervailing political effort to dam Yosemite itself and make another reservoir. I remember this idea being advanced during the seven year drought that preceded the Great East Bay Fire of 1991.

The damming of Hetch Hetchy was the first major environmental movement in America. It was championed by John Muir. Muir lost on Hetch Hetchy but managed to focus enough national attention to save Yosemite from a similar fate.

My personal stance takes the long view. Yosemite and Hetch Hetchy (and the valley that supplies Oakland's water) are all growing. Thirty million years ago when our current Ice Age began these were just conventional mountain valleys. But we went into a cycle of advancing and retreating ice sheets that scraped them into the kind of flat bottomed, granite walled valleys that make such great reservoirs.

These are usually called Milankovitch cycles but the theory that predicts cycles, predicts rather different cycle periods. Nevertheless we have a cycle of about a hundred thousand years of ice and ten thousand years of no ice - even if we don't know quite why.

So it doesn't matter if we dam Yosemite of remove the dam on Hetch Hetchy. The next ice sheet will scrape those valleys clean once again. The Yosemite ice sheet is about two thousand feet thick. Not as thick as the continental ice sheet perhaps, but thick enough to frustrate most conceivable human efforts to stop it.

When will the ice come again? It's overdue now.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

"What about all the extra carbon that immigrants will burn? What about all the water and energy that they'll require? What about all the undeveloped land that will have to be paved over to supply them with housing? What about overcrowding? Don't you people even care about the environment?" And so on and so forth.


How hard could it be to frame the argument in those terms, for Christ's sake?


You're assuming that such arguments would have some sort of impact on liberals and environmentalists. And they won't. The liberal mind does not work the way you think it does.

Anonymous said...

The only way you can beat leftists-liberals over the head with the ecology issue is to finish the beating with the following:"Since you are in favor of a massive population explosion within the borders of the US, you must also be in favor of White Americans having large families again like they did in the past...right? And this works best in a public forum for it exposes the very nasty intent that White-Leftists-Liberals harbor towards White Americans.

Beat them over the head with this repeatedly.

With a complete administrative amnesty-which we all know is comming right after Nov 4-there will be a huge voting block for increasing nonwhite immigration. We could easily have a population of one billion in 25 years...and still rapidly growing for a century.

We are obviously already in a very dangerous situation in the US. The point of no return to ecological collapse-with high probability-has come to pass.

Does anyone here know who Pat Holloran is? Think water+American Southwest.

Anonymous said...

In general, I think that people on the right are way too concerned about trying to figure out correct universal principles when it comes to environmental issues.

Funny, I was not under that impression.

Anonymous said...

...but who watches TV news or reads the papers any more?

MacWhiskey would say: "White Womynz."

Anonymous said...

Robert Conquest's First Law of Politics.

kudzu bob said...

It's never a good idea to argue in bad faith.

Speak for yourself. One can only argue in bad faith if he doesn't believe his own words. Myself, I don't want to see America completely transformed into a garbage heap, like Haiti but on a colossal scale.

Anonymous said...

So basically the organized left wants to destroy what's left of the natural world to feed, clothe, and house all of the new people they want to invite to America, and the right wants to destroy it to pay off their friends in the extractive industries, and also because it would make hippies sad.

So where does that leave the great number of American citizens who cherish an America with lots and lots of wild nature?

Norville Rogers said...

I did not know about that HH resort but it goes to my impression that the self-serving politicos first try to balance the interest group pieces and only then devise ex post facto ideological stands for the news fodder. Take a look at the recent non-scandal about Calif's mental health graft which ought to bother any progressive with a conscience, but the Democratic Party machine dismisses all criticism as mere right-wing noise

Anonymous said...

All the right has these days are silly tactics that seek to divide the left. Go on any mainstream right site these days and you'll see plenty of attacks on liberals for being "racist" for some old off-hand comment. They didn't defend Derbyshire because crying racist is now one of their standard "arguments."

kudzu bob said...

All the right has these days are silly tactics that seek to divide the left. Go on any mainstream right site these days and you'll see plenty of attacks on liberals for being "racist" for some old off-hand comment.

There is a world of difference between hurling some bullshit racism charge at a liberal and asking where we will find all the fresh water that 150 million immigrants will need. The former question is obviously meant to confuse and distract, whereas the latter question concentrates the mind wonderfully.

Anonymous said...

Likewise, instead of the Open Borders crowd having a fiendishly clever plan to transform us into their serfs, they actually are dumb enough to believe their own propaganda about multiculturalism and racial equality.

The open borders crowd doesn't need a "fiendishly clever plan" to turn much of the population into serfs. Open borders by itself turns much of the population into serfs.

kudzu bob said...

The open borders crowd doesn't need a "fiendishly clever plan" to turn much of the population into serfs. Open borders by itself turns much of the population into serfs.

True, but irrelevant to my point. Some people seem to think that proponents of Open Borders are evil geniuses who have planned out all the changes now taking place. Nothing could be further from the truth. Evil they may be, but geniuses they most assuredly are not. Their stupidity makes them vulnerable.

Crawfurdmuir said...

If the right should ever gain power, it ought not just to use left-wing arguments, but also left-wing tactics, against the left. Indeed, let's restore Hetch Hetchy, and let San Francisco be damned. The left seeks to tax things of which it disapproves, such as carbon emissions. Let's tax some activities the left likes. How about an abortion tax? Of course, it could be graduated, so as to exempt poor black women who should be discouraged from reproducing anyway from having to pay it, whilst making college-educated white feminists who don't want their career paths interrupted by the unintended consequences of a sex-in-the-city lifestyle pay through the nose. The left approves of "alternative energy." Why not, then, situate a large, unsightly wind farm on Martha's Vineyard, or in prominent view of the Kennedy compound at Hyannisport? The left prates endlessly about "affordable housing." Let's build a
project right in the middle of Barney Frank's affluent liberal district, and fill it with the most degraded bunch of lower-class negro thugs, whores, and drug addicts we can scrape from the Boston slums.

The leftist intelligentsia always wants to inflict its social experiments on others. We should make sure they get repeated doses of their own medicine, and get them good and hard.

Anonymous said...

"One reason Diane Feinstein opposes Hetch hetchy is because it is also the site of a very exclusive resort. It is only open for San Francisco politicians. In the Bay Area this has long been a political issue. Periodically someone will try to get Hetch Hetchy opened to the public like Yosemite. The politicians argue that that would endanger the the purity of the water. More importantly it would endanger the exclusivity of the politicians only resort."

How about opening it to Section 8 housing. Those folks don't work anyway and keeping them away from their representatives is oppressive and racist.

Anonymous said...

"The largest liberal voting bloc, urban white women,"

Remind me who has a lower birthrate than single urban white democrat women.

Jim Oliver said...

I see the same thing in our own "conservative" congressman Cliff Sterns. He is all for drilling except in Florida.

Anonymous said...

The left approves of "alternative energy."

Excluding nuclear of course - even though it's the best overall form of energy, and one of the cleanest and safest. No carbon, no greenhouse gases at all!

Anonymous said...

kudzu bob says: "What about all the extra carbon that immigrants will burn? What about all the water and energy that they'll require? What about all the undeveloped land that will have to be paved over to supply them with housing? What about overcrowding? Don't you people even care about the environment?" And so on and so forth.

FAIR already has a group that does that, and I believe Sailer and others have made similar points.

The problem is that few ppl are willing to do things like go make those points at MMFA, to leading SierraClub fans on Twitter, and so on.

Regarding the "correct universal principles when it comes to environmental issues" in the post, ha. Today's leading right: r/w bloggers/pundits, reps, and TPers are trained to be on the wrong side of the environment through the ol' "libruls like it" game. No principles involved other than the principle of those pulling their strings making as much money as possible.

Anonymous said...

Katie Roiphe, the single parent defender, has written another column supporting her lifestyle.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/12/opinion/sunday/in-defense-of-single-motherhood.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

In it she never considers the ecological impact of having two children by different fathers. Consider that each of these fathers is living in a separate abode, draining society of living space, utilities and public services. If she had any concern for the environment she might ask these guys to live with her, even if the situation were purely platonic. Think of all the extra discretionary money that would be available for the children. Maybe her cleaning lady (you know she has one) could live in one of the ex- partners apartments- a good low cost/ no cost solution to the plight of poor single mothers. Won't happen -she'll keep her space and let the eusocial taxpayer foot the bill for the up-against-it devotees of her lifestyle.