I suppose I’m obligated to say something about the much-ballyhooed cover story in the current New York Times Magazine by the Mighty Mustache of Understanding.
I can’t really see what all the fuss is about. It’s basically the Mustache’s last four or five columns, stitched together. There’s nothing to say about this that wasn’t said about them.
Naturally, Jim Kunstler will heap scorn on Friedman for stubbornly refusing to acknowledge that everything’s going completely to hell any day now. Naturally, energy wonks will kvetch about Mustachian delusions with regard to ethanol and nuclear power. Naturally, the placemaking contingent will deplore the lack of even one mention of public transit. Naturally, the localization contingent will roll their eyes at the notion that globalization is a permanent new economic condition rather than a tenuous and soon-to-collapse side effect of cheap fossil fuels. Naturally, the irked-by-false-balance contingent (er, me) will grit their teeth at the way the Mustache blithely dismisses all the presidential candidates, when obviously some of them have energy plans much better than others, and the quality of energy plans lines up quite nicely with party affiliation.
There’s something to all these critiques, but on balance I think the piece is a laudable contribution to the public dialogue. I’m guessing more than half the people who encounter it won’t read past the first page or two, and that’s where the essential point is made: addressing climate and energy is the central charge of our generation. Green can unite parties and generations. Green is macho and apple pie and puppies and red white and blue and all the rest.
Of those who do read on, very few will be sensitive to the details. In the end, we just need the caveman-esque "Green is good" message to spread. Nobody is more effective at framing that message, and nobody has a wider reach with both the public and (for reasons that continue to mystify) political and financial elites, than the Mustache. So more power to him.