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Assessing people’s acceptance

By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

The New York State Legislature is on the brink of passing a bill that will prohibit gas cooking stoves in new residences. Polls show this to be wildly unpopular in both New York City and upstate. Why are they doing this, then? They are following a carbon dioxide limitation goal prescribed by the liberals.

There is an easy way to tell what the general population thinks about a given agenda item, e.g., how well they accept it as being good for them and the country.

Take murder, for instance. Most believe in punishment for murder, if not the death penalty, then life imprisonment. There are many topics that follow this course. It is common sense to impose a penalty for behavior that disrupts society and spreads harm or fear.

Then, there are matters that are obviously popular and do not have penalties attached. An eligible person, for instance, does not face incarceration for refusing to accept welfare. Whether they do or they don’t is left up to them, if they are an adult.

What are some other examples? You can be penalized for not paying into Social Security and Medicare according to the prescribed formulas. You will not be penalized for refusing to accept Social Security and Medicare payouts.

From this, one might deduce that the general population does not like to participate with their own money in these programs, but they will gladly take the checks. Same with taxes at any level. Refuse to pay them, and you will be saddled with many punitive actions up to and including incarceration, asset seizure and more.

So where do environmental laws come into this discussion? These all come with penalties attached. Obviously, most people do not find these attractive to themselves. People who run corporations do not find them attractive, either. Otherwise, no penalties would be required. The benefits of such laws are not obvious.

We can further break down environmental laws and the consequences of obeying them. A large percentage of the population would likely agree that pollution to the extent that it causes the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland to catch fire (as it did in the 1960s) deserves to have a penalty attached to causing such pollution.

But how about gas stoves in New York? Or properly curbside sorting your trash in Kansas City? Do such matters rise to the level of penalties for failure to comply? There are likely mixed opinions on this. Polls say the gas stove ban is very unpopular.

For the last 50 or 60 years, particularly the federal government, but sometimes state and local governments, too, have attached penalties to actions that are not popular. Why is this? Who is driving the agenda that memorializes these unpopular matters into statutes? In many cases, it clearly is not the majority of the population.

Unfortunately, it is very hard to mobilize the population to oppose these incremental encroachments on freedoms. Before Jan. 1 of this year, the general population had not heard of the idea of banning gas cooking stoves. Suddenly, it has replaced COVID-19 as the crisis of the day. Driven by whom? What is the unbiased science behind this?

I have come to the conclusion that the movers and shakers in the environmental movement are, in essence, anti-human. They seem to be in favor of protecting anything and everything that is not human or a human fetus. Yes, I dragged that subject into this column at the last minute, but it belongs here.

Our lack of acceptance of many issues on the table today is simply because no one has made the effort to explain them in a way we can understand. As long as they can be lazy and just implement such issues by government fiat, they will not attempt to explain them. Such an attitude is an insult to democracy and to our citizens, and these people just don’t care. Yet, hubris tends to ultimately fail. I eagerly await that day.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at

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