Nanny state: Energy Sec compares Americans to unruly teens

Posted on September 22, 2009

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In a stunning display of hubris and nanny state mentality, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that when it comes to energy policy, Americans are basically like stupid teenagers who don’t listen, leaving it to government to educate them:

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 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.)

Got that? Americans “aren’t acting in a way that they should act,” so it’s up to our betters in government to lecture us and compel us towards the “correct” way of living. This is just one more reason why so many people are skeptical of sweeping climate and energy legislation – the goal seems not to be conservationism, but societal control and government regulation of what’s considered a healthy or green lifestyle.

The Energy Department later put out a lame attempt at spin control:

Secretary Chu was not comparing the public to teenagers. He was saying that we need to educate teenagers about ways to save energy. He also recognized the need to educate the broader public about how important clean energy industries are to our competitive position in the global economy. He believes public officials do have an obligation to make their case to the American people on major legislation, and that’s what he’s doing.

Uh, actually, Chu compared them directly to teenagers and expressed disappointment with the way Americans are choosing to live. When a Cabinet member makes such eyebrow-raising statements about the unwillingness of Americans to do what they say, don’t be surprised when people pay attention.

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Posted in: News, Politics