Speaking of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), Former Senator from Alaska (and present day Governor) Frank Murkowski, on the floor of Congress, said that ANWR is
>”flat, it’s unattractive, it’s not pristine — this is what it looks like. Don’t be misinformed.”
In a similar vein, George Will writes:
>Few opponents of energy development in what they call “pristine” ANWR have visited it. Those who have and who think it is “pristine” must have visited during the 56 days a year when it is without sunlight. They missed the roads, stores, houses, military installations, airstrip and school. They did not miss seeing the trees in area 1002. There are no trees.
A marked improvement over the former Senator. But not visiting ANWR doesn’t disqualify one from speaking of it; the absence of trees in an *arctic* area (and the presence of a small number of humans) doesn’t disqualify it from being “pristine.” By the way, *Post* editors and Mr.Will, “pristine” means “in original condition” (whatever that condition might be–cold, boring or even treeless). Determining what might deserve this designation will perhaps be a matter of reasonable disagreement. But there seems to be little doubt that ANWR qualifies.
More inane than the pristine confusion, however, is Will’s claim that
>But for many opponents of drilling in the refuge, the debate is only secondarily about energy and the environment. Rather, it is a disguised debate about elemental political matters.
No evidence (not even the usual straw man kind of evidence) is offered for this claim. He continues:
>For some people, environmentalism is collectivism in drag. Such people use environmental causes and rhetoric not to change the political climate for the purpose of environmental improvement. Rather, for them, changing the society’s politics is the end, and environmental policies are mere means to that end.
In addition to the lack of evidence, no actual people are named. Will can usually muster up a few badly misinterpretated arguers or arguments to make his outlandish claims. But here no one.
>The unending argument in political philosophy concerns constantly adjusting society’s balance between freedom and equality. The primary goal of collectivism — of socialism in Europe and contemporary liberalism in America — is to enlarge governmental supervision of individuals’ lives. This is done in the name of equality.
And so what started as an argument about the proper disposition of *federal* property, has ended with the claim that objections to its privatization are motivated by a desire to control individual choices and expand government supervision over individuals’ lives. We’ll not bother with the grand conspiracy claim that concludes the argument–liberals are trying to create energy scarcity (fuel efficiency anyone?)–we’ve already wasted too much time on this psuedo-intellectual pablam.