If It’s Summer, Statists Must Be Whining About Air Conditioning

Something lighter (and vaguely crank-ish!) for the weekend.

This year it’s some UN bureaucrat writing in TIME that sure, extreme heat kills people around the world, but the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in air conditioning drives global warming in a vicious cycle.  Of course, the New York Times ran a piece just about a year ago noting that “[i]f your air-conditioner is working properly, it won’t release HFCs into the atmosphere.”  The real “pollution” problem of air conditioners is that ol’ devil carbon dioxide.  The UN bureaucrat is really pushing a UN agenda regarding HFCs (which helped solve the ozone hole crisis in the 1980s, btw; funny how solutions become problems).

But this is just the annual round of statists hating on air conditioning, for just about any reason that falls to hand.  While climate change was a theme in last year’s batch (as noted), there was also “I don’t need air conditioning, and neither do you,” a spectacular exercise in progressive preening about how frugal and aesthetically superior doing without A/C is and how it enhances your enjoyment of things like ice cream and showers.

The year before that, it was pieces on how Europeans don’t understand the American fixation with A/C (um, try being further south on the globe or caring more when French seniors die in heat waves).  And how A/C is sexist.

Go back further and you’ll find variations on these themes in the media every summer.

Oddly, you’ll rarely find them focusing on the intensive use of A/C in the urban heat islands where American progressives are concentrated.  Or celebrating how A/C allows Congress to stay in the swamp year-round.  That, imho, is because if you go back far enough, you’ll find that the real, but increasingly unstated, progressive objection to A/C is that it helped birth the modern Republican Party.

The progressive, anti-A/C crowd used to be more open about noting that it helped move people into the suburbs, away from the big Democratically-controlled cities.  And even moreso, helped people move to the South and the West.  For progressives, it’s much easier to believe the Southern Strategy was just about race, and not at all about looking at demographic projections and making inroads in new places where the Democrats had not already established dominance.

This same sort of thinking also helps explain why the Left also tends to hate automobiles.  Technologies that allow people to move form areas of high population density to lower population density stick in their craws — consciously or not — because high population density tends to multiply the opportunities for human conflict and said conflict tends to create a demand for more government.  This dynamic is in tension with the Left’s general enthusiasm for Malthusian population control, but cognitive dissonance is a wonderful thing.

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