Monday, July 14, 2008

Conservation: Hotword of the Day

With oil at $145 a barrel and gasoline exceeding $4.00 a gallon, we are implored to conserve energy. With drought in several regions of the country, we are told to conserve water.

To conserve is noble and uplifting. But what does it actually mean? In simple, non-inflated words: use less. Dictionary definitions include "to use carefully or sparingly, avoiding waste" and "to economize."

Using less is rather depressing. It means smaller cars, colder homes in winter and hotter in summer, shorter showers, and browner lawns, among others. Senator Obama has gone so far as to say that we may have to eat less to hold down food prices in developing countries. This is not the stuff of the American dream.

Private individuals are asked to conserve in all aspects of their lives. Why has no one said that the government has to conserve, to make do with lower taxes and less spending? Or does conservation really mean the transfer of resources from private individuals to government?

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