If you were watching the Super Bowl on Sunday, you couldn’t have missed it. An advertisement for the Audi A3 TDI clean diesel vehicle brought to life the fear that many of us have about the tyranny of the green movement.
You get the picture? Fines for not appropriately recycling your plastics; restrictions on your electricity usage; social alienation for not having the right kind of hybrid; compost infractions. And the list goes on.
Audi wasn’t to know it, but their “Green Police” inadvertently invoked the memory of the real Green Police, a name used in Nazi Germany to refer to the German Order Police, or Orpo, who were given the moniker because of their green uniforms. The Orpo weren’t merely traffic cops, however. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, one battalion was central in sending Jews, Poles and Gypsies to concentration camps.
Too bad Audi is a German company.
Ok, so it was all tounge-in-cheek. But the reality is that Green Philosophy ( known in more sophisticated circles as “sustainability”) has begun to pervade Western life in ways that many of us find discomfiting if not terrifying. In fact, in the United Kingdom, the situation is almost completely out of hand.
Because the British have actually begun to send out real garbage police. The New York Times reports that “local governments now collect trash every other week, instead of every week. They restrict households to limited amount of garbage and refuse to pick up any more than that. They require that the garbage be put out at strict times, reject whole boxes that contain the odd recyclable item and employ enforcement officers who issue warnings and impose fines for a failure to comply.”
And don’t think its only the British who have adopted the new regime. In Seattle the garbage men resort to another method to enforce compliance: public humiliation. In that city , if you mix your recyclables with your trash, then the garbage men tag your bin. And how are they ascentaining your malfeasance? According to this Seattle Times piece, researchers are visiting the homes of hundreds of Seattle volunteers to affix electronic tags on about 10 to 15 pieces of their household trash, such as pizza boxes, Styrofoam cups, slippers and scrap metal. The items are then tracked as they make their way through the garbage disposal system.
” When you’re the one guy with a red tag on your bin, ” said Brett Stav, the Senior Planning and Development Specialist for Seattle Public Utilities, ” everyone knows you screwed up. There’s a little bit of shame, a ‘Scarlet Letter’ effect, that seems to work with people. “
On October 21, 2009 this actually became law in San Francisco. On that day, the City Council’s ordinance mandating the compulsory recycling and composting of garbage with fines up to $100 for failing to comply, went into effect. San Francisco thereby became the first city in the country to set restrictions and levy fines on how American citizens dispense with their garbage.
Now lets look at the way the Green Police wish to affect other areas of your life:
In 2007 , the National Resources Defense Council asserted that American consumers should not purchase foreign food products, such as Australian apples or Chilean grapes since they all travel long distances to get to the American marketplace by planes, trucks, trains and ships ” spewing pollution that contributes to global warming.”
An Oregon pilot project, that the Washington Post has recomended be applied to the rest of the country, has Oregonians paying a mileage fee rather than a gas tax, designed, of course, to limit the use of cars on roads. No mention of this egregious breach of privacy or the threats to our own convenience and enjoyment. Those are sacrifices demanded of us for the greater good.
And talking about small vehicles, India’s attempts to introduce the Nano – a new car which costs only $2,500, stirred up a hornet’s nest of opposition, particularly in the United States. Thus spake the globalist oracle Thomas Friedman: ” cheap, conventional four wheeled cars would encourage millions of Indians to give up their two wheeled motor scooters and three wheeled motorized rickshaws which would overwhelm India’s already strained road system.” Nothing said by the omniscient Mr. Friedman about the advantages in mobility for millions of Indians, nor for breaking the spell of poverty on those same masses. Well I have to wonder when Mr. Friedman plans to drive his own motorized rickshaw to work. Or is that august privilege one that belongs solely to the poverty stricken masses of India?
It was just an ad on television and it probably didn’t mean anything more than a comical jab at self-righteousness. But Audi may have had it right. Perhaps the Green Police, as in the ad’s deliciously mutated Cheap Trick soundtrack, are coming for us all:
“The Green Police they live inside my head. The Green Police, they come to me in my bed. The Green Police they are coming to arrest me……..oh no!!…..”