Lee Doren at HowTheWorldWorks has put up a few videos relating to what could only be described as blatant indoctrination of elementary school students. I don’t care who Annie Leonard thinks she is, but she is obviously not educated. Her “crockumentary”, The Story of Stuff, is more than misinformed. She speaks as if we don’t even recycle, let alone plant trees, among many other things. This passes for intelligence?
I could go on and on, but watch Doren’s critique. I have no patience for rewatching this liberal arts funded garbage to analyze it.
You have to hand it to Doren, he had the patience to sit through this and correct one misleading line at a time. I am hoping that more and more people would be able to see these simple truths pointed out by Lee, but with the way schools have become more like “reeducation camps”, I fear we might lose many young minds to this uneducated indoctrination. Just the other day someone criticized me for agreeing with the privatization of both Air Canada and Petro-Canada by former prime minister Brian Mulroney because, as per my education in economics, I only saw the quantitative gains for this decision. What is wrong with this? Well according to this twit, because I can only see number values, like cost to Canadian taxpayers and the revenues brought in by Petro-Canada after being privatized, I don’t understand how things “feel”. Does that make sense? Of course it doesn’t, but this is what this history major was being taught.
P.S. As for World Car Free Day, I drove my Pontiac G6 around Ottawa (nothing like a nice LONG drive to clear your mind). What do you environmentalists think of that? Roads and streets were made for vehicles, which are used to transport us, so how is giving up our cars and protesting a return to “normal” life? Seeing how the average travel time to work in North America is thirty minutes by car, longer in larger cities as those in rural areas (ex: it takes my parents 45 minutes to drive from our home to their work), I don’t see how it is even possible to say that walking or biking to work is a viable means of travel for the majority of us. It’s just mind-boggling.
UPDATE: Lee Doren was on Glenn Beck’s show this afternoon discussing his critique of Annie Leonard’s nonsense.
I have to disagree with Beck on this one, I don’t think greed failed at all. Simple human desire points us in a direction, but those leading were the politicians, the same ones who passed and then supported such policies like the Community Reinvestment Act. They failed to control their own desires, whether it be greed or a misplaced empathy, and that is what “got the ball rolling” with the market collapse.
UPDATE: Seems Annie Leonard has a Wikipedia page. Right there in the first line, it states that this eco-nut is an admitted socialist. Does this surprise anyone? According to the article, ‘Little Annie Lunatic’ has also done work for a collection of environmentalist groups like Greenpeace International, well-known for their anti-capitalist views, as well as their support for eco-terrorism. It is no wonder Annie’s The Story of Stuff doesn’t make sense, the video is simply a culmination of the indoctrination she received bouncing from one radical group to another. What else can I say?
Simply put, this radical is simply an unsuccessful Carol Browner, just as deranged but lacking the appropriate political connections.
UPDATE: I will have to say that Annie Leonard’s lunacy has gotten under my skin. The fact that this nonsense is taught to elementary school children really upsets me. Now I could let this go, but I feel it is necessary to weigh in on this and point out what I found wrong with her “crockumentary”, things which Lee Doren might have missed.
1. The materials economy is simply the process of turning natural materials into primary products. This isn’t a new idea as ‘Little Annie Lunatic’ would like us to believe with her constant references to the 1950s. Centuries ago, well before the post-Second War boom, you had the mining of raw metals which were melted down to be made into a variety of different products. While not as efficient, the same system was there. Take for example early Canada, where fur and lumber were our primary export. These raw materials were used to make fashionable attire and warships for France before they lost the colony to Great Britain during the Seven Years’ War. There is NOTHING sinister about this process since even the most basic agrarian societies used this method.
2. This idea of resources being finite is over exaggerated. You can open up a CD or DVD case to find a recycled logo imprinted or carved out of the inside cover. You can also pick up blank or lined white paper to find that it is recycled too. What ‘Little Annie Lunatic’ has purposely left out is that we have become far more efficient with our use of resources. Not simply that, but as Doren himself points out, there are even resources available that we ourselves haven’t identified yet because we don’t know how to use them. Who knew even fifty years ago we could harvest wind and solar energy?
3. This idea that the economic process of the materials economy doesn’t take into account “outside forces” like people. How do I address such stupidity? For starters, people (labour as we say in economics) are an important resource. They aren’t an “outside force” at all. You need labour for this process to work, and contrary to ‘Little Annie Lunatic’ is saying, these people do matter. Are some more important than others? Yes, those who work hard are more valuable than those who don’t, but that is how our economic system works. Those who work harder are rewarded for it while those who don’t aren’t. It is no surprise that an admitted socialist would have a problem with this idea.
4. It’s the government’s job to take care of its people. This statement screams “nanny state”, but what do you expect from a socialist like her? While Doren does a great job of addressing this as a misinterpretation of the Constitution, I would like to add my own thoughts on this. Our social and political systems grant us the freedom to live a fairly unobstructed life, but that doesn’t mean that we are entitled to whatever we so choose. It isn’t “life, liberty and happiness”, we are allowed to achieve personal satisfaction if we choose to pursue it. People like ‘Little Annie Lunatic’ would prefer to overtax those who have worked hard and achieved success instead of pushing the uneducated and unemployed into the workforce so they themselves can their own success.
Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built. – Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America.
5. Extraction means exploiting the Earth’s resources, which means “trashing the planet”. Huh? This statement is extremely offensive to me as a Canadian because lumber is one of our primary exports. Does this woman have any idea of how this industry works? Obviously she doesn’t. As Doren points out, we replant trees. For example, Outland Reforestation has been up and running since 1985 to replace forests that are cut down due to logging. The beautiful thing about organizations like this is that they not only protect the environment, but provide jobs for thousands of people year round. I knew many students who paid for their university educations through such work. Not only this, but any materials that can be, are recycled. Whether it be paper, metals, plastics, etc garbage has become a resource. There are new and innovative ways to reuse these materials which ‘Little Annie Lunatic’ wants to say are unusable. More of a socialist than an environmentalist it seems. As for wildlife, even as our cities expand into their territory, many of these creatures are adapting quickly to their new surroundings.
As shown in this video, black bears don’t have a problem with their new surroundings. Matter of fact, the animal’s population has exploded because they are eating our leftover food, getting larger and having more cubs. Nature isn’t as fragile as this lunatic would like us to believe.
6. We are using more than our share of resources? I keep hearing this quote, and it still doesn’t make sense to me. While the points Doren made on how effectively North Americans use resources are great, I would like to look at this lunatic’s idea of Western consumption being a bad thing. Who do you think buys the majority of the goods produced by these developing nations? We do. It is because of our “greedy” lifestyle that you do see development in these poorer countries. Look at the success of China if you have trouble understanding this. Most of the newer goods you have in your home were most likely manufactured there because our “greed” has created a large manufacturing industry, which provides jobs for millions of Chinese people, which raises their standard of living. Contrary to what ‘Little Annie Lunatic’ and others as misguided as her are saying, that is a good thing.
7. “Our stuff that got on somebody else’s land”? Excuse me, but we don’t steal natural resources from the third world, we trade for them. It isn’t simply about trading capital and technology for labour and resources though. When a Western company wants to mine for materials or drill for oil in a foreign country, they pay that country’s government for the right to do so, on top of whatever other costs are imposed. On top of this, many of these companies use local labour, providing jobs for the country’s poor, which is far from being exploitation. Once again, please explain to me how putting money in the pockets of the disenfranchised is a bad thing?
8. Toxic chemicals? First off, what does she mean by “toxic chemicals”? Explain to me what isn’t “toxic”, since it seems her definition is far to broad. “Poisoning” our products isn’t an important part of the production process, contrary to what ‘Little Annie Lunatic’ is saying. Matter of fact, when certain goods are found to be unsafe, they are quickly recalled and pulled off the market. Are their hazardous products out there? Yes, but as Doren says, it is all about risk. You wouldn’t drink drain cleaner would you? Of course not, but according to this lunatic’s reasoning, because it is dangerous if consumed orally, we shouldn’t produce it. As long as products are being used as intended, her nonsensical ravings are simply that of an alarmist. As for chemicals affecting her brain, it is obvious that this lunatic had abused drugs in her youth. “Pot paranoia” anyone?
9. Moving from the country into cities is a bad thing? I agree with Doren completely on this point, that this romanticism with peasant life has to stop. For anyone who believes otherwise, how do you think we developed? Look at what is happening in China if you don’t believe me. Peasants move out of the rural areas and into the cities, taking jobs in factories to earn money. This money is than used to send their children to schools to get an education, to have opportunities they wouldn’t have had if their parents had stayed in the countryside. Didn’t think about that one did you ‘Little Annie Lunatic’? One point this mental midget ignores is that urban areas don’t just provide employment opportunities. In the cities, these people have access to better schools and advanced medical care which they wouldn’t have had if they stayed in countryside. There are more benefits I could discuss, like the overall quality of life in the urban centers versus rural areas, but I think I have made my point. If anyone needed proof that these radical environmentalists want us to give up our way of life and live in mud huts, there it is.
10. Externalizing Costs? This I believe is the only mistake Doren makes in his entire argument against this “crockumentary”. It isn’t because his definition is wrong, it isn’t, it is because he fails to understand how warped this twit’s mind is. To ‘Little Annie Lunatic’, when she says externalizing costs, I am pretty sure she is discussing the environmental costs for producing a product. According to environmental economics, we must take into account the cost of the damage done to the environment when calculating total costs. Simply put, every plant and animal has a monetary cost associated with repairing or replacing it. Returning to her argument about how the water and land are contaminated, this mental midget is trying to say that companies are forcing the clean up onto a third party, mainly the government via taxpayers. Because of this, the “real” price of the products we buy is higher than that found on the label. Problem with this argument is that companies that are found polluting are not only heavily fined, but since their crimes are publicized, they will be punished a second time as conscientious shoppers will refuse to buy their products. Even if they don’t pollute, companies still have to pay hefty fees for the processing of their waste as per government mandates. This is the kind of nonsensical thinking is behind cap-and-trade, that we must tax companies and their consumers based on what is believed to be their level pollution. I could go on and discuss how a radio can cost $4.99, and why pollution in developing countries like China shouldn’t be blamed on us, but Doren does a great job covering most of this.
11. The golden arrow of consumption? Every good fictional story needs a villain, and ‘Little Annie Lunatic’ provides her audience with this nonsense. Consumerism is NOT something “sinister”, a belief this hypocrite is trying to push. Don’t think we didn’t notice the iPod at the start of the video or her “GAP-esk” wardrobe. As for the importance of consumerism to our way of life, she’s ALMOST right but for the wrong reasons. Former President George W. Bush told Americans to shop not simply because he wanted to show these barbarians the resolve of the United States, but because the September 11th attacks had a serious impact on the economy. The best way to combat such problems is to get the system working again, not because the “golden arrow” should be properly worshiped even in times of crisis. Leave it to this waste of a carbon footprint to use this national tragedy to forward her perverted agenda. It is at this moment that she loses any credibility she has.
12. “Thrifty” is good? Excuse me, but since when is scrounging a good thing? I do my best to reuse older products I have, I also don’t spend money on the newest gadgets simply because it is the “hip” thing to do (looking at you and your iPod ‘Little Annie Lunatic’), but there are limits. Just because my parents and their parents didn’t have the luxuries we take for granted, it isn’t because they didn’t want them, it was because they couldn’t afford them. As Doren points out, we are wealthier now and can afford far more goods than past generations. Not just this though, the price of products has dropped significantly because of the efficiencies in production which also allows us to consume more. Instead of wasting time constantly repairing older shirts and pants, it is now more efficient (time being used efficiently) to simply purchase new clothes. As for her rant about computers, just because she hasn’t bought a new monitor is the last ten or so years, doesn’t mean her co-worker shouldn’t either. It doesn’t make sense to argue that a lower quality of life is a good thing, but this is what this radical is doing.
13. Proof of a grand consumer driven conspiracy through high-heel shoes? This has to be proof that she is either NOT a woman, or she is complete oblivious to the countless other reasons why women purchase shoes. While it is true that heel sizes can change from year to year, they also vary from style to style, type to type, as well as the purpose (whether the occasion is casual or formal). The main reason though that we do see such a difference in female footwear is personal preference. My aunt is very rarely found in anything other than stiletto heels, shoes which are usually only worn for formal occasions. I know many younger girls who feel more comfortable wearing wedge heels, while others won’t wear anything but simple three-inch lifts. If her argument is solely based on this idea that a woman’s desire to be fashionable is the only driving force behind shoe sales, and that it is easy to tell who is keeping up to date with the latest fashion is by comparing heel width, why is there such a difference in preference? Also, contrary to what she says, many women will not wear certain heels because of the well-documented health risks associated with them. Did she even bother using Google in the supposed ten years she spent researching her ill-informed position? Doesn’t seem like it. This argument is simply stupid and demonstrates that ‘Little Annie Lunatic’ lacks common sense.
14. More stuff but less time for things that make us happy? Aside from the fact that happiness is an extremely subjective judgment, how can she say that what we own cannot make us happy because it interferes with social relationships? My friend and I spend hours upon hours playing a variety of video games together, and I can say I am far happier when I am shooting up the Locust Horde in Gears of War or killing terrorists in Army of Two and Rainbow Six: Vegas, than I am simply talking with him about various issues, political and non-political. Friends are people who you can enjoy your leisure time with, people who you share common interests with, and these interests can be as environmentally friendly as planting trees or as “sinister” as shopping. When I lived in Nantong, there were only three things you could do, eat, sleep and shop, and I had Chinese friends who I spent hours with bouncing from store to store, checking out the latest in bootlegged DVDs and CDs. I was far happier doing that than I am listening to this mental midget tell me how horrible my lifestyle is. One has to wonder whether or not she gets joy out of making us depressed. Is she mentally disturbed?
15. The system isn’t working? How is our system is failing when it is raising the standard of living for all participants? During my time in Nantong, China, I personally witnessed the failures of the system of government she advocates, while seeing how important capitalism was to raising their standard of living. Just because this system hasn’t achieved “true recycling”, it doesn’t mean it has failed. Every day we find more efficient way of using resources and more effective ways to recycle. If we were to implement the radical changes ‘Little Annie Lunatic’ is proposing in this video right now, who do you think would suffer the most? Those living in developing countries, but that’s great isn’t it? I mean, wasn’t it this headcase that was preaching about how great their lives in abject poverty were? This kind of thinking isn’t “progressive”, it is regressive. Once again, this lunatic is making it clear that she won’t be satisfied until we are living in mud huts under a socialist regime. Don’t believe me? What about her comment at the end of the video about “Uniting the world’s workers”? She is quoting Karl Marx. Do I need to continue?
I have a very hard time ignoring this lunacy. Sure we could simply dismiss her nonsense before even watching this video because of her political background, let alone the fact that this project was produced with the support of liberal arts colleges (do you want fries with that degree?), but since so many people already believe this nonsense, it is important that we address each point and show why it is wrong. Like I said above, I could go on and on about what is wrong with this way of thinking, write out entire blog posts about each issue she raises to truly discredit this lunatic, but I think Doren’s original critique, along with my comments, should be more than enough to convince the average person that Annie Leonard’s video isn’t worth the DVD it is recorded on.