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What Does Dudley Drive?

A recent Washington Post article on the looming fight over President Bush's nomination of Susan Dudley to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) noted Dudley's "personal commitment to environmental stewardship," citing that Dudley and her husband "drove hybrid cars before hybrids were cool."

The various groups opposing Dudley's confirmation were not impressed. Under the heading "A Hybrid Car, An Environmentalist Does Not Make," OMB Watch's "Reg Watch" pooh-poohed Dudley's driving choice and editorialized that Dudley's personal commitment to environmental conservation is irrelevant -- indeed "bizarre" -- if not matched by a commitment to government mandates and regulations

In Dudley's worldview, there's no inconsistency between making the personal choice to save on gas, while opposing standards to keep our air clean and our cars fuel efficient. Seems bizarre? It's called Dudleynomics.
Apparently to the folks at OMB Watch it is "bizarre" to believe that not every good action must be mandated by the government. The only "inconsistency" on Dudley's part is recognizing there is a difference between a virtue and a requirement (and, by extension, between a sin and a crime). If that's an "inconsistency," than I'll gladly join the ranks of the inconsistent.

PersonFromPorlock:

Apparently to the folks at OMB Watch it is "bizarre" to believe that not every good action must be mandated by the government.

It's always been a defining characteristic of Puritanism that the masses must be driven to virtue at bayonets' point. Liberalism (and its handmaiden, environmentalism) is simply the present-day manifestations of Puritanism, which is why Massachusetts went from Puritan to Liberal without breaking stride.
9.23.2006 7:47pm
PersonFromPorlock:
Aghh! "manifestations" = manifestation. We need an 'edit' function!
9.23.2006 7:49pm
Adam K:
Don't pretend this has anything to do with "liberalism." Arbitrary morality, virtue, and ethics are routinely written into law, and no ideology has clean hands.
9.23.2006 8:04pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Liberalism (and its handmaiden, environmentalism) is simply the present-day manifestations of Puritanism, which is why Massachusetts went from Puritan to Liberal without breaking stride."

Yes. Give that that man 10 quatloos for the best insight of the week.
9.23.2006 8:06pm
PooHPoohBear:
By this logic, Gore and Kerry must be great environmetalists because of all the SUV's and limo's they get around in..
9.23.2006 9:07pm
RainerK:
I am once more wondering if there can be a topic on the VC without a blatantly partisan comment blaming one side or the other.
My unscientific impression is that most often some kind of "liberals" are the target.
It appears to me that not much and only a few can escape being labeled. This open division makes me wonder where it is going to lead us all.
Let me assure you, I personally fit neither category, choosing my leanings by the issue, based on the information I am able and willing to gather while pursuing a life. The ubiquitous "experts" barely figure in my decision making, as I can no longer be sure they present me with a non-partisan picture.
9.23.2006 9:13pm
Ross Levatter (mail):
Adler's comment reminds one of the once lost but now available libertarian classic, "Vices Are Not Crimes" by nineteenth century liberal Lysander Spooner. Well worth reading more than 100 years later.
9.23.2006 9:37pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
RainerK: Get used to it. When was in university, 40 years ago, half the students and faculty thought I was the secret head of the local SDS. The other half thought I was an FBI mole.

One thing I certainly learned is that I don't give a flip about what label people put on me because my politics don't fit their cookie-cutters.

I'm certainly open to argument from just about any angle of the political scale. But when the words "should" and "must" start getting tossed around, I tend to tune out and dismiss the speaker. If the best they have to offer is labels, then they've very little to offer.
9.23.2006 10:59pm
Truth Seeker:
I am once more wondering if there can be a topic on the VC without a blatantly partisan comment blaming one side or the other.
My unscientific impression is that most often some kind of "liberals" are the target.


Well since most of society's ills are caused by collectivists masking as liberals, it is no wonder that the libertarian readers of VC are often pointing out the liberals' guilt.
9.23.2006 11:10pm
Mike :
Without doubting Dudley's personal commitment to environmental stewardship in the least, I'll note that hybrid drivers are exempted from HOV restrictions on I-66 inside the Beltway. Hybrids have been relatively more popular in Northern Virginia because of that extra convenience factor for some commuters.
9.23.2006 11:47pm
RainerK:
Well Truth Seeker, I'd love to get into a discourse to find out what those terms really mean to you that you bandy about, but I rather think this is the wrong thread. Also I'd like to know what you think the counterpoints might be exactly, and what kind of ills they may have caused, given the well-proven fact that there is hardly anything nor anyone without merit and ill.
9.24.2006 9:06am
Duncan Frissell (mail):
"In Dudley's worldview, there's no inconsistency between making the personal choice to not commit adultery, while opposing the criminalization of adultery."
9.24.2006 9:11am
bartman:
"Vices Are Not Crimes"

That is a very alien concept here in the Middle East.
9.24.2006 12:58pm
Eli Rabett (www):
The US and the world have handled a number of serious environmental problems**. The method that had been proven is governmental regulation of goals followed by technology and markets providing the means to meet those goals. You folk appear to have an issue with success.

**air pollution in urban areas, acid rain, water quality, ozone layer thinning, etc.
9.24.2006 4:55pm
Toby:
True enough, Eli. But the governement has created new problems by either mandating solutions, or, nearly identically in effect, suggesting that one solution will skate magically past all litigation.

Case in point - the catalytic converter, whose special place in regulation has locked technology in this function at in the mid 70's and which may (if the epidemiological analsys of platinum compounds on rodsides holds up) have been single-handedly responsible for the growth of asthma.

Now of the government would *only* set goals...
9.24.2006 5:20pm