Command and Control, Lake Baikal, and the Post’s Comics

An Earth Day thought from Conn Carroll at the Heritage Foundation, “Morning Bell: Free Markets Better for Earth“:

Despite its 25 million year age, Baikal’s life sustaining beauty almost did not survive communist rule. Russian scientists believed that Baikal’s pure water would help produce better rayon cord for airplane tires. The scientists turned out to be wrong and the aviation industry switched from rayon cord to metallic cord in tire production. In a free market system, the plant would have closed and resources would have been allocated elsewhere. But under communism, jobs were the number one priority, and the factory supported 3,500 of them. So it continued polluting the lake for decades unabated.

Big government’s failure to balance environmental quality with other economic goods is not limited to communist Russia. Throughout history big government has a well established track record of tolerating and even perpetuating environmental degradation. The left knows this, which is why they have tried so hard to drape their latest big government plans in free market rhetoric.

We were thinking about Communist totalitarianism while reading the Washington Post’s comics section on the bus this morning. In April 1980, we spent a few days in Prague and really got a sense of how the dictatorship forcibly aligned all aspects of culture toward reinforcing state control. Red flags on every building, guidebooks that rewrote Czech history, Jan Huss as a proto-communist revolutionary, etc. The thought at the time: There’s no relief, no break, no escape from the constant reiteration, didacticism, propaganda. Awful.

Twelve of today’s Wash Post’s comics promoted some Earth Day, green theme. Spiderman, Dennis the Menace, Beetle Bailey, etc., all preached.

No escape.


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