The last we heard from Steven Chu, Barack Obama’s Secretary of Energy, someone had to explain to him that oil policy fell within his “domain.” Now that Chu has apparently mastered what exactly energy means, he now wants to act as a parent to recalcitrant Americans who stubbornly insist on making their own choices in life. The Wall Street Journal reports on Chu’s attitude towards the role of government, and especially his condescending attitude towards the governed:
When it comes to greenhouse-gas emissions, Energy Secretary Steven Chu sees Americans as unruly teenagers and the Administration as the parent that will have to teach them a few lessons.
Speaking on the sidelines of a smart grid conference in Washington, Dr. Chu said he didn’t think average folks had the know-how or will to to change their behavior enough to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
“The American public…just like your teenage kids, aren’t acting in a way that they should act,” Dr. Chu said. “The American public has to really understand in their core how important this issue is.” (In that case, the Energy Department has a few renegade teens of its own.)
That last bit of snark references an audit that the Department of Energy failed in its own facilities. They’re apparently unable to work modern climate-control systems to keep from air conditioning and heating facilities unnecessarily while unoccupied. Some buildings didn’t even have proper controls installed, and others just weren’t used properly. Equipment was left powered overnight, including computer monitors. The White House had similar problems with its audit.
With that humbling experience in mind, one might think that Chu and the Obama administration would approach energy policy with a little more humility. Nope! Instead, Chu talks about American citizens as if they cannot be trusted to make their own choices and the need to parent us rather than govern us with our consent. Most of us have already had parents and don’t see the need to have our elected officials take their place.
And if this is the attitude of the Obama administration on energy policy, just imagine what the attitude will be when they take charge of our health-care system.
This is nothing more than a slightly more honest look at the attitude of the Left when it comes to governance. It’s all about paternalism and condescension, and the belief that a group of elites should be appointed to rule over the unwashed and unschooled masses for their own good. That has never been consonant with the American experience, which allows the individual to make his own choices and live with the consequences. Chu gives us a good look at the liberal soul, and most Americans will not like what they see.