Saturday, September 23, 2006

Leftie Makes Documentary To Show That Fellow Lefties Don't Like Poor People

Lefties don't like Wal*Mart--which has done more to help poor people in this country, and around the world, than any other organization or government. And please don't comment here with your anti-Wal*Mart whines, about how they run mom-and-pop businesses out of business--why exactly do you think that consumers should pay higher prices in order to maintain an inefficient market? Lefties are consistent here--they like inefficiency, which is why they like government so much. What they don't like is a successful company that helps, economically, every community it's entered.

But back to my story, which is that lefties don't like poor people.

This reporter writes about a very poor region of Romania. First he establishes his liberal bona fides, then launches into his complaint:

As a liberal European journalist, I was familiar with these stories and also knew about how Europe's miners faced similar battles to improve their working lives. These struggles meant that miners have always had a special status for us left-wingers. They were a superior breed who fought for themselves and the rights of all workers.

However in my more recent journalism, I have discovered there is a new threat to miners, their families and their wider communities...

Instead I have discovered that the biggest threat to miners and their families comes from upper-class Western environmentalists...

My admiration for environmentalists started to decline when I was lucky enough to be posted to Romania as a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times. There I covered a campaign by Western environmentalists against a proposed mine at Rosia Montana in the Transylvania region of the country.

It was the usual story. The environmentalists told how Gabriel Resources, a Canadian mining company, was going to pollute the environment and forcibly resettle locals before destroying a pristine wilderness.

But when I went to see the village for myself I found that almost everything the environmentalists were saying about the project was misleading, exaggerated or quite simply false...

It was surprising that environmentalists would lie, but the most shocking part was yet to come. As I spoke to the Western environmentalists it quickly emerged that they wanted to stop the mine because they felt that development and prosperity will ruin the rural "idyllic" lifestyle of these happy peasants.

This "lifestyle" includes 70 percent unemployment, two-thirds of the people having no running water and using an outhouse in winters where the temperature can plummet to 20 degrees below zero centigrade.

One environmentalist (foreign of course) tried to persuade me that villagers actually preferred riding a horse and cart to driving a car...

I gathered up extra funding and the documentary Mine Your Own Business premieres Tuesday at the Denver Gold Forum at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Denver. The film will shock and upset those who, like myself, unquestioningly believed environmentalists were a force for good in the world.

I wonder if I can expect to see this film at the local indie cinema here in Sacramento any time soon. I wonder if the Left, which is so enamored of "documentaries" (mockumentaries?) when they're made by Michael Moore but not so thrilled when made by Evan Coyne Maloney or shown on ABC, will demonstrate "tolerance" towards this film.


nebraska girl said...

Does this really surprise you? Alot of the environmental/animal rights people believe in their cause over the welfare of people. The fact that these are poor people just makes it easier to justify...they get the use the anti-imperialistic argument.

Walter E. Wallis said...

At Paly High, they showed Fahrenheit 911 5 times. I asked the principal how many times they would show The Path To 9/11.
His response, names redacted:
Mr. Wallis,
I thought a lot about your question on the way home tonight. Since the show is on right now it is obvious your question was, in some ways, rhetorical. The literal answer is that I don't know.
I was a Social Studies teacher at Paly for 10 years. I taught the Government class for a number of those years and can see how showing both of those films could lead to lively debates and help students develop critical thinking skills. They are good examples of how politics and the media in America work.
Discussions about the Middle East, freedom of speech, politics and many other topics are built in to our curriculum. The school district has a policy statement on how to deal with controversial issues and multiple perspectives. Opportunities for expressing all types of viewpoints are encouraged on the Paly campus.
I am guessing your question has many more layers to it that were not articulated. I believe we offer a balanced education to our students and that we will continue to do so in the future. Sincerely, Xxxx Xxxxxxxx
Guess what my response was.

Walter E. Wallis
Palo Alto

MellowOut said...

My hometown was one of those that became Wal-Martized, as I like to think of it. Local businesses went down rather quickly, which was scary for a young kid whose family owned a local business to see, and the town seemed to lose any of the charm and sense of community it had left. The traffic in Wal-Mar's location (the main entrance to the city, no less), is INSANE. The amount of trash from Wal-Mart is an even bigger problem. Most of the people who started coming to Wal-Mart were from out of town, since it was the only one in the county for the first five years. This brought more traffic, more litter, and other problems. I know people who worked there when it first opened. (A lot of people who work there now are from out of town.) All but one of them quit eventually because of some of those fishy practices that we hear about in news articles. These extra jobs didn't boost our local economy; I would go so far as to say that it tore it apart in those first years.

Then another Wal-Mart opened a few years ago in another location, and now there's talk of the one in my hometown eventually shutting down, leaving a giant, ugly eyesore to be filled by something as equally generic and faux-low prices.
However, I don't blame Wal-Mart entirely for the situation. (I have problems with many of their practices, though.) I blame the leaders and those in charge of my hometown for allowing the community to break down and crumble to the point that they were looking for a quick fix boost to the local economy. (Their new way to revitilize? Put up some really ugly, expensive "art" to attract tourism.) I blame those that couldn't adapt their businesses and the local consumers who took their business to Wal-Mart because toilet paper was a buck cheaper. Those same people now spend their weekends driving to the Super Wal-Mart 40 minutes away to save that same dollar, only now they are spending an extra $50 or more on the trip thanks to gas and eating out.

My family's local business shut down almost five years ago. It was an 80-year-old family business. It was one of the worst things that has ever happened in my entire life, but my family adapted, and my father found a new niche in a local business that currently competes with Home Depot in a specific product area. Guess what? Home Depot is actually giving them business because the big store offers low-quality products installed by whoever they can get cheap. That's how to beat the big box stores: offer a better products and a better service, and the small price difference won't matter to those who care about what they're getting.

Darren said...

Mellow Out--you dad isn't "beating" the big box stores. He's "adapting" to a changing retail environment. Some of us call that "market capitalism". I'm glad your dad adapted, rather than whined about it.

Darren said...

Walter, I'm guessing your response wasn't as generic as the principal's was :-)

rightwingprof said...

"My family's local business shut down almost five years ago. It was an 80-year-old family business."

I don't believe a word of this. This is nothing but copied and pasted leftist crap, that has nothing to do with reality.

allen said...

I don't think it's all that impossible that the story's true. I just don't think it's an unmitigated tragedy.

The people dependent on the 80-year old business for their livelihoods obviously suffer but the reason the business is closing down is because the Wal-mart provides customers with more of what they want then does the 80-year old business. Wal-mart isn't putting anything in the water. They're just better at the things customers value. So all of Wal-mart's customers see themselves as better off for shopping at Wal-mart.

This is a story that's been played out over and over again and here we are, the beneficiary of all that suffering but also of all that wealth.

MellowOut wants to use the power of government to take for him what he has no right too but is just clever enough to avoid saying. What you really want, MellowOut, is to dictate the range of choices open to your customers. You want to become what you'd like to charge Wal-mart with being but aren't quite ready to try to get away with; calling Wal-mart a monopoly.

EllenK said...

Walmart is a very convenient villain. They are big, they are public and they are making money-all deadly sins in the liberal pantheon of evil activities. While I certainly do not support their hiring of illegal aliens, I have noticed that they try to give back to the community through various school and faith based charities. This is a way for people who have no means or abilities to pursue higher education to live, work and achieve a higher standard of living. There are some issues with small towns and local businesses, but often these businesses thrived only due to the lack of competition. They stagnated and didn't adapt. While it may seem quaint to have a business that uses cash registers and paper tickets and cash only, it limits a business and eventually their customers will seek other cheaper and more varied products. Why should rural residents be limited to just what they can buy locally? Do we ask that of urban citizens?

Furthermore, I have witnessed the practical function of liberalism in some of my friends. I have a number of liberal friends who moved to the trendy urban area of town. They wined and dines and supported The Arts and marched in Support of the Downtrodden. Then they had kids. And the kids reached school age. Guess who RACED to the suburbs so that Raine and Sushi wouldn't have to be sitting next to Homeboys and Homegirls from the lower middle income neighborhoods that bordered the trendy developments?

MellowOut said...

First of all, I'm a she. Second, I will totally admit that I do not like Wal-Mart because of the way it treats its workers, because it hides behind hollow patriotism to sell cheap products made in China and India, and because they have a really crappy layout that makes me claustrophobic every time I have to go in there. (Hey, if Wal-Mart carries it, and other stores in the area don't, then that's the other stores' fault.)

That said, if you reread my comments, I don't think Wal-Mart is the devil. In fact, I place a lot of blame on the people who shop there. These are the same people that walk down the aisles wondering where the old-fashioned hometown shopping experience went. That also was my criticism of my home town's leadership. They talk now about how the downtown is in need of revitalization but they didn't think of the effects Wal-Mart and other larger stores would have on the downtown businesses.

By the way, the only business that has a monopoly in my home town is the adult video store that moved in to the building of one of the old businesses that left when Wal-Mart came.