Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack has jumped the candlestick

Tonight, Jack Layton attended a local candlelight vigil to mark/protest/mourn/do-something about climate change. The vigil was part of a larger global effort organized via Blackberry, cellphones and Facebook. He tweeted:

http://twitpic.com/taa1o – Joining a moving global candle vigil, in #Toronto, with new friends Anastasia and Michelle #cop15

Throughout our history of scientific achievement as a civilization, progress has most significantly been marked by maximizing outputs while minimizing input and waste output. This is the standard engineering principle of efficiency.

The industrial revolution that started in the 18th century is referenced as a pivot point of human impact on its environment. Since this era of increased efficiency, from the advent of the assembly line and distributed tasks at the outset to the miniaturization of electronics to maximize calculative output most recently, our progress is marked by our giant leaps of efficiency. It may be unpopular, but no less true, to recognize that it has been the industrial revolution — indeed still ongoing — that has and will continue to allow us to produce more from less and waste less in the process. For example, the wheel is one of our earliest innovations and has been improved and made more efficient at least one thousand fold with respect to input costs, labour and yes, even CO2 output.

Tonight, the leader of Canada’s socialist party — a party representing an ideology that has sought to increase the costs of input (organized labour, tariffs on inputs) while diminishing the benefit of the output (taxation on goods produced, regulations of its use) — very symbolically holds a flame for the very principles that would jam the gears of modernization, efficiencies and progress. Instead of allowing the inherent market mechanism that favours efficiency to reduce waste (CO2 as a by-product), Layton and friends use a sledgehammer instead of a scalpel to act broadly against desired outputs and necessary inputs rather than just waste.

While leaders around the world seek to reinvent the wheel outside of market based innovation and progress, Jack Layton is at home tending to our earliest invention. One hopes that Layton realizes that the candle he holds is more symbolic than logical as a burning candle produces 7x more CO2 output per lumen of light than a 40W incandescent lightbulb (calculation here). To decry our own greed and supposed inefficiencies, Layton harkens back to a time before the first refinement of our first spark of genius.

Layton’s flame is symbolic, though perhaps not in the way he intended. Indeed, his burning candle is symbolic to our self-loathing attitude towards a process that brought billions out of relative poverty since the 17th century, has extended our life expectancies by decades through health research and nutritional knowledge, and has allowed mass communicative capacity to organize protests, rallies, vigils and the like. Jack’s flame, much like his solutions, are inefficient and regressive.

Though Mr. Layton would put up flame to the bridges that have brought us health, wealth and happiness since a darker age, hopefully other leaders will have a lightbulb moment and realize that it has been our unbridled innovative capacity and not a misguided effort for central planning, that has and always will move us along the road to enlightenment.

Comments

comments

  • Harry98

    Taliban Jack is at it again. Trying to get a little attention. He probably does not believe in what he is doing, just doing it to get attention. Never trusted him.

  • http://pragmatictory.blogspot.com/ The_Iceman

    Jack, my canary in the coal mine. So long as he is singing his siren song, I know we will stay afloat if we avoid those shallow shoals.

    Keep up the good work Jack, you remind me every day what my opinion should be, and it is virtually always the opposite of yours.

  • http://climbingoutofthedark.blogspot.com/ Hunter

    Maybe Jack should only use candle power to heat his home, let's see how far that gets him. Oh, and he should go to Afghanistan and join the prisoners in protest of their treatment. He should be kept in those jails for a month, see what he has to say after that little experiment.

  • http://twitter.com/eapr9 eapr9

    Excellent post. The dramatic improvements in the environment since the industrial age are a tribute to capitalism.

  • http://darcymeyers.wordpress.com/ Darcy

    Excellent piece Stephen. Fine use of symbolism to illustrate how many “progressives” have taken such regressive views on humanity…

  • Aden

    Sorry, I missed where on the post the NDP changed their policy to advocate for the use of candles.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedantic

  • batb

    I can't help but reflect on the defining characteristics of a Devil's Mass, where everything is upside down, inverted.

    That seems to be the stance of Jack Layton and his lackeys: Nothing is as it seems; everything means the opposite of what it purports to mean.

    The other defining characteristic of evil is that it feeds off what is whole and good and healthful. In other words, evil is parasitic, it feeds off a host entity which has an integrity of its own.

    Jack Layton is feeding off the fat of the land as an NDP MP in Canada and yet contends that the largesse off which he feasts is somehow a bad thing, is something the rest of us should eschew. He's good at the photo op, the feel-good candlelight vigil that signifies nothing except the charade that Jack's a good guy, that Jack's taking care of business, that Jack's concerned about “the environment,”whatever that means in these fraught times.

    Jack's a jack … ass.

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    Please keep it respectable.

  • Carmen B.

    Watched the news tonight and heard Desmond Tutu say regarding global warming, “We'll make the rich pay!” Well, that's what it comes down to, eh?

  • Switchyard O'Taylor

    That's racist.

  • daveinguelph

    Never has the phrase “dim-bulbs” been more apt.

  • Bec

    I want Jack, dropped from a balloon into the poppy fields of Afghanistan. He is allowed a battery, a hopefully functioning flashlight to use that battery in, some water….yikes ,clean or dirty, whoa that could get challenging for him, to give him sustenance with that freeze dried oatmeal and chicken fried rice that he may wait 60 hours to consume….under an umbrella called the Canadian Military……

    Go Jack go..you hero you!

    ps be sure Canadian military and Canadians…good old Jack and his Coalition buddies are NOT thinking of you right now…….Guaranteed!

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    Different standards I guess

  • daveinguelph

    He is. He called him an Ass. That’s respectable in my book.

  • daveinguelph

    He is. He called him an Ass. That’s respectable in my book.

  • TrueWest

    Jack, the true socialist, smells money.

  • Liz J

    Since we're high on civility here, suppose since Jack's so nimble and quick we can assume he cleared the wick and didn't burn his little ass.

    Jack and the rest of the socialists would have all go back to the stone age. After all it's Mo Strong whose dream it is to shut down industrialized nations, capitalism is baaad. Wonder who would supply all the welfare espoused by the Left when the lights go out? Damn fools.

  • RobertMcClelland

    “At the end of the day, if American consumers buy Canadian oil and consume it in the United States … the environmental compliance cost should really be absorbed on the United States' side of the border,”–Tony Clement
    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTV

    Now what was that you were saying?

  • batb

    Gosh, Stephen, I thought I was being respectable. I can think of a whole lot of other apt monikers for Jumpin' Jack Flash which might have left the air blue but which I decided against.

    Should I have said, then, Jack is a jack … donkey?

    Okay, then.

    Jack is a jack … donkey.

    It's just that it doesn't have the same ring to it, or panache.

  • Liz J

    LOL, batb!
    I wonder if Stephen is really a prude or just being facetious? I hope it's the latter in this case!

  • Liz J

    Since we're high on civility here, suppose since Jack's so nimble and quick we can assume he cleared the wick and didn't burn his little ass.

    Jack and the rest of the socialists would have all go back to the stone age. After all it's Mo Strong whose dream it is to shut down industrialized nations, capitalism is baaad. Wonder who would supply all the welfare espoused by the Left when the lights go out? Damn fools.

  • RobertMcClelland

    “At the end of the day, if American consumers buy Canadian oil and consume it in the United States … the environmental compliance cost should really be absorbed on the United States' side of the border,”–Jim Prentice
    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTV
    Now what was that you were saying?

  • batb

    Gosh, Stephen, I thought I was being respectable. I can think of a whole lot of other apt monikers for Jumpin' Jack Flash which might have left the air blue but which I decided against.

    Should I have said, then, Jack is a jack … donkey?

    Okay, then.

    Jack is a jack … donkey.

    It's just that it doesn't have the same ring to it, or panache.

  • Liz J

    LOL, batb!
    I wonder if Stephen is really a prude or just being facetious? I hope it's the latter in this case!