Aesthetics

Rich Lowry, diavlogging with Mike Tomasky, says there’s basically no reason we shouldn’t just drill for oil everywhere because the only downside is “aesthetics”:

I assume that people who work in the tourism business, or who live in communities where many other people do, will appreciate that aesthetics can have actual economic value. If we made it so that every spot of the coastal United States became horribly ugly the total economic damage would be pretty large. But even aesthetics for its own sake aren’t nothing — I assume Lowry wouldn’t burn Starry Night for $5. And of course the ecological damage done by oil drilling can go far beyond merely ruining the view (oil and ocean life don’t mix) which is to say nothing of the environmental problems associated with burning the oil.

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Ultimately, though, this kind of thinking is why the “oil addiction” language has gained such popularity. There are things we could do that would set us on a path toward reducing our oil consumption. Alternatively, we can decide that it’s somehow just not possible and we need to reconciling ourselves to pumping more and more oil with that quest for oil overriding all other possible considerations.