Quick! What does ‘Green’ mean to *you*? That’s right: ‘Poor quality!’

My colleague and buddy Steve Maley has already ripped apart this latest cry-for-intervention from Robert F Kennedy Jr., but I wanted to drill down on this one, um, ‘point’ of Kennedy’s:

A peer reviewed National Academy of Sciences report shows that the label “energy efficient” on a product actually makes it less likely that self-identified conservatives will purchase that product. Why? Because morally twisted right wing orthodoxy has taken the “conserve” out of conservatism. Craven hatred of all things environmental has made the labels “clean,” “green” or “efficient” pariah among GOP acolytes.

Actually, wait, I know this one.  It’s a good guess – and by ‘a good guess’ I mean ‘an argument in favor of the thesis Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. huffs glue‘ – but, no.

What’s actually happened is that conservatives have figured out that “energy efficient” translates to “underpowered,” and that “green” is semantically equivalent to “POS.”  Which, when you think about it, makes sense: after all, if you have the choice between two products, and one was both cheaper/more effective/easier to maintain AND had less of an environmental impact than the other, then any rational system (i.e, one based on free market capitalism) will pick the superior product.  Because that’s how the system works.  Lots of times, there’s a reason why we’re not using the ‘green’ product to begin with.  A perfectly valid reason, like, say, It doesn’t work properly.

We will now pause while various Greenies mutter, or rant, about how I’m naive and it’s actually all due to various types of conspiracies.  Hopefully they won’t eventually start nattering on about the Jews…

5 thoughts on “Quick! What does ‘Green’ mean to *you*? That’s right: ‘Poor quality!’”

  1. It’s their own fault, for foisting upon us lightbulbs containing hazardous material, cars that have all the power of a go-cart, detergent that doesn’t get clothes clean, and gas cans that can’t pour properly, just to name a few

    1. Toilets that don’t flush poop, daylight savings shenanigans, and a president who can’t seem to keep his boot off of the neck of the economy…

  2. Well, I also think environmentalism is evil. There are reasons, beyond the practical issues with cannibalism, why I would not want to eat, say, sausage made out of babies.
    Obama’s platform on Energy and the Environment, per the White House website in early ’09, had a line that claimed energy efficiency was the fastest, cheapest, cleanest power source. (I might have remembered one of the three wrong.) Neglecting the obvious whopper, if efficiency improvements with good lead time (fastness), payback period (tied to cheapness), and compliance with environmental regulation (cleanness) existed as a significant portion of the ‘starting’ industrial energy usage, then say five decades or so of engineers can not be entirely competent*.
    Issue one is that if the supply of engineers is not competent, where do you go to find competent engineers? Issue two is the question of, presuming engineers are incompetent, why haven’t they killed more people? My solution to the problem is that many engineers are probably competent, and that the people who are talking up untapped potential are simply that ignorant or evil.
    Of course, an alternative hypothesis is that Obama was taking physical limits into consideration, and intended to cut energy usage by taking it out of population upkeep (which would hit the poor the worst), and out of the economy (which again hurts the poor, the old, the ill, and the marginal more strongly).
    In general, when I hear ‘green’ my emotions infer ‘evil’, and my intuition suggests ‘more expensive, stupid, and harmful to the environment**’. a) I don’t make all my decisions on the basis of emotion and intuition b) Many ‘green’ technologies, where things aren’t falsified, are interesting, and may have legitimate uses elsewhere. c) If hired to do so, I would comply with environmental regulations.
    *Yes, management plays a role. Yes, I’m far from committed to the idea that American management is uniformly sound and correct. Yes, I’m certain that there are many untapped business opportunities, representing money and hence energy savings that I am not businessman enough to take advantage of. But human variation means variation in incompetence between companies, and if there were that much accessible savings being left on the vine, somebody would have picked it and tried to destroy the competition. Invisible hand and all that.
    **Note that I am not here conceding that ‘The Environment’ is a thing that really exists. As opposed to a phantom that cannot be physically measured, that exists in the faith of the greens.

  3. Still having fun with the broken light bulb that has $4500 dollar Hazmat cleanup tab myself. The wife and I got some of the early ones, since if they worked as advertised they would reduce our electric bill, they didn’t, period. Two did melt downs and one burst into flames, at that point my wife decided to, well, we’ll use hurricane lamps first before another one of those bulbs comes in the house. Green equals poorly built and not likely to perform as expected. There is a reason the right distrusts the term Green, They Earned It!

  4. Like everyone else posting here, I want to buy products that work.
    A detergent advertising that it is phosphate free, is also advertising that it doesn’t work very well.
    A low-flow toilet isn’t going to flush very well.
    And water-saving washing machines aren’t going to wash clothes very well.
    A gas can without a vent does not pour well, and can rupture with temperature changes.
    (I do appreciate that my dishwasher is quiet. I do not at all appreciate that it takes three hours to do a load. Sadly, the other models for sale were just as bad.)
    It’s a perverse sort of marketing genius who advertises that the products being sold are crap, but manages to make it trendy to buy them.
    (And yeah, I’ve got a closet full of incandescents.)

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