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Jewish World Review
March 8, 2007
/ 18 Adar, 5767
Global Warming = flood of legislation, lawsuits
Now that mankind (especially American mankind) has been named the official, unquestionable, undeniable cause of our planet's latest warming cycle, watch out for a flood of legislation that will rival the floods our mismanagement of the planet will apparently cause. And even that flood will pale in comparison to the lawsuit tsunami heading our way.
One has to look no further than cigarette smoking to see the possibilities for lawmakers and lawyers. While virtually no one was denying the health risks inherent in smoking, there were pesky civil rights issues inasmuch as it was a voluntary action. But everything changed when the danger of second-hand smoke, in even infinitesimal amounts, was discovered. Suddenly, smokers had no rights, because it became a question of endangering the health of those around them. Smoking bans (and, of course, lawsuits) followed.
So, now that manmade global warming is gospel, all sorts of issues can be defined in terms of how an individual's actions affect his global neighbors. Legislators will now be able to micromanage virtually every aspect of our lives based on how our actions affect the delicate ecosystem. The possibilities are endless. Take the recent efforts of the "food police" to try to legislate what we can and should eat or to use tax penalties to discourage foods of which they disapprove. Again, those troublesome civil rights issues kept intruding; now, however, it shouldn't be too difficult to construct an argument that junk food and its impact on the environment contribute to global warming. Therefore, it's not just hurting the individual consumer, but everyone else, along with their children and their grandchildren. Somewhere, a class action lawyer is salivating.
The always-sensible folks at PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have been pushing a "sin" tax on meats. Think of the new argument: more meat means more land to be cleared for grazing and, once again, it contributes to global warming. That steak becomes not just an issue among you, your doctor and your restaurateur, but a weapon which diminishes the quality of life of your neighbors and their descendants.
The bandwagon is moving, and I fear it's about to run us over. There is virtually nothing in our lives that can't somehow be connected to manmade global warming. What we drive, what we eat, what we grow on our lands, our hobbies, the size of our light bulbs, the smallest remodeling or building issue are all fair game. Only enlightened governments, advised by enlightened scientists and social engineers, can guide us past the coming crisis. And only socially-conscious attorneys can be sure we're all held accountable.
There's been a great effort by civil libertarians in recent decades to be sure the government stays out of our bedroom. We'll see how diligently they fight to keep it out of the rest of our house.
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JWR contributor Pat Sajak is the recipient of three Emmys, a Peoplesí Choice Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He's currently the host of Wheel of Fortune.
© 2007, Pat Sajak