The Department Of Pointing Out The Obvious (DOPOTO), in our only capacity, that of pointing out the readily apparent, has been following with interest the No-Impact movement. It is an environmental initiative, a Green thing if you will. People are encouraged to turn off their electric lights, stop using their cars, produce as little trash as possible and eat only locally produced foods. In short, to live as one would in a very poor and backward nation. Why insisting that a reverse cultural move helps the planet is anyone’s guess, as even a short glance at history informs us that the greatest benefits to mankind were obtained through the application of technology, and the failure and human misery of today’s poorest nations is due to their severe lack of modern technology.

Low Impact adherents have submitted the argument to DOPOTO that eating only locally produced food is what mankind did for 99% of our history, an obvious fact of the sort this Department can relish. Also obvious is that throughout 99% of mankind’s history, life expectancy was around 40 years, relatively mild diseases were fatal, childbirth was a leading cause of death in women, many children died before reaching maturity and malnutrition was an ever-present hazard. Illiteracy, superstition and tribalism stunted man’s social development and inbreeding harmed his genetic chances of producing successful, vibrant offspring during this 99% of our history. Sanitary conditions were abominable and primitive medical practices caused almost as much death as the pervasive filth. Would these Low-Impact campaigners care for humanity to revisit those aspects of our history as well as living in the dark, walking to every destination and barely subsisting on a meager diet of whatever scrawny specimens are native to the immediate vicinity?

The Department is all for cleaning up our environment and ceasing the waste of valuable resources. We also admire the earnest activism and unbounded energy of Green Movement participants. We would only respectfully suggest that perhaps these keen minds would be best put to better uses, like finding a replacement for the greasy remains of dinosaurs that we set on fire to make our engines go. If one can dream that first-world citizens would willingly give up the amenities so painstakingly won from this hard and unforgiving world because Green activists say it is wrong to be comfortable and well-fed, then could not those same minds dream a more practical dream of creating a fuel that does not pollute our water, earth and sky? That would be the easier task, by far.

The only way they will get people to reduce their carbon footprints is to replace carbon-based fuels like petroleum, natural gas and coal. Long observation of humanity has convinced DOPOTO that once humans have attained a certain level of progress, success and comfort, they will fight tooth and nail to keep it. Human memory is long, and oral and written histories even longer. Hard evidence (one of the Department’s favorite things) also tells us that the way to solve a serious a problem is unstinting study, research, experimentation and application of one’s findings, all very modern notions developed in the past 1% of mankind’s history. Such methods have improved our diets and general health, doubled our life spans, eliminated many deadly diseases, created automobiles and aircraft that eventually led to putting a man on the moon, all things once considered impossible.

None of these exciting breakthroughs were wrought by encouraging humanity to live as our ancestors did, who, by the way, did a great deal of polluting and left very large carbon footprints during their short lives with all their wood burning, forest clearing, destruction of fragile eco-systems, wasteful agricultural methods and species eliminating. While modern humanity is far from perfect and a lot of our technology is unnecessarily dirty and hazardous to our health, it is far less dirty and hazardous than the technology of 50 years ago. Many of the improvements were due to the scientific response to the work of environmental activists, so the Department has a great respect for those who would safeguard the only home humanity has, Planet Earth. Which is not to say that every idea they come up with is astounding. The eat-only-local-food idea, for example, has been just as big a monumental waste as some of the waste the Green Movement rails against. DOPOTO urges them to take human nature into account when formulating human solutions.

Another curious development that has caught the eye of the Department is the current Democratic administration’s inertia when it comes to enacting what was announced to be an ambitious social and political agenda. President Obama was handed an almost unprecedented majority in both Houses of Congress, an obvious advantage when one wishes to pass a law. Yet for some unexplained reason, this Administration and Congress acts as if it has all the time in the world to do their work. DOPOTO’s long experience in observing humans and reporting the obvious tells us otherwise. It is approaching a year since they took power, leaving only another year before the mid-term elections could possibly erase their overwhelming Democratic Congressional majority, making it a precarious enterprise to pass even the most innocuous bill if it has been sponsored by a Democrat.

Recent history is plain (obvious!) when it informs us that few Republicans will consider any idea on its merits, only its source. If the Democrats lose their majority, one of them could introduce a bill simply declaring that every American citizen is allowed to breathe, and a dozen Republicans will denounce the idea as a communist left-wing conspiracy to hire Devil-worshipping transvestite cannibals to teach every kindergarten class. Researchers here at the Department have concluded that if the Republicans held this electoral trifecta, that not a day would pass without another law being enacted designed to bestow the last bit of America’s remaining wealth on the richest 1% of Americans and to rename The Bill of Rights “The Bill of Suggestions.”

So, what are the obvious conclusions to draw from the recent activities (or non-activity) of these two groups of political activists, one set elected and one set self-appointed? That, when dealing with humanity and its most pressing problems, it is always best to take reality into consideration and to heed the obvious always. The most difficult problems to overcome are generally not the physical realities confronting us, but the human realities. After all, man has stood on the surface of moon, but mankind has never embraced the view of Planet Earth as seen from the moon; a beautiful, tranquil blue sphere with no borders visible and no sign of strife or animosity of any sort. Sometimes the obvious is hiding in plain sight. The forest for the trees…

This has been a report from The Department Of Pointing Out The Obvious

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