David Atkins brought this map to my attention last week, The Renewable Energy Map and the Slave State Map. He compares it to a map of slave states in 1854 and as should surprise no one, there is a great correlation. Of course, it isn’t just about renewable energy. Take your pick: murder rates, teen pregnancy, poverty rates. There really is something going on here.
But here’s the thing: it isn’t the vestige of slavery. Rather, it is the vestige of the kind of people who settled those lands. These were the people who thought it was right and fitting to base an economy on slavery. For lack of a better way to describe such people, they are the kind who think that knowledge is something that is provided not by highfalutin science books but rather from the clarity of the King James Bible. There is a reason why the Scopes Trial took place in Tennessee and not California.
What I’m proposing is Colin Woodard’s thesis in American Nations. This is the idea that there are historical roots for different parts of the country and they affect the cultures of those areas to this day. It’s actually quite a depressing view of America because as a proud and lifelong Left Coaster (which doesn’t include Southern California), I don’t have nearly as much in common in those in the Deep South as I do with people in Switzerland. It’s hard not to think that if we had let the south leave the Union in 1861, it would still be a slavery based, impoverished country today.
And that gets to the very heart of the matter. My biggest problem with conservatives is how dedicated they are to fetishizing ideas to the detriment of practical matters. So it’s great to have a government that screws you as long as it screws your neighbor even more. It’s like that old joke about a genii that will give a guy whatever he wants, with the stipulation that his neighbor will get twice as much. So the guy says, “Beat me half to death.”
The broader problem here is that the consequences of this kind of voting are far broader than people realize. Let’s suppose that the people vote to “get the fags” or “get the uppity feminazis” or “get the lazy coloreds.” They certainly get that! But they also get taxed more to lower taxes on the rich, they get worse schools for their kids, and they get polluted water and air. But at least they struck a blow for the white man!
So it isn’t surprising that those states aren’t that interested in green energy. The people aren’t just voting for the interests of the business community—they’re voting for the interests of the biggest business community. It’s not just individuals who get screwed by the “get the minority group” voting; it’s also the smaller businesses—you know: the ones who will make the future better.
You might note as David Atkins did, that Arizona produces very little green energy. That’s strange, right? After all, Arizona is such a sunny place! You’d think that they’d be on solar power in a big way. Well, part of the problem is that, Arizona Imposes Unprecedented Fee on Solar Energy Users. If you thought you could make some money by putting cells on your roof and selling it back to the energy company, think again. They’re going to tax you for the privilege. But actually, Arizona produces a lot of solar energy. It’s just that it is exported to other states. Because, you know, it isn’t about the people. It’s about the profits of big business.