Monday, March 10, 2014

The Right Approach for Taking a Stand

This blog post caught my attention recently:

In it, Richard Branson (of Virgin Everything fame) espouses a view that more corporations should do what they can to invest in renewable resources, and encourage people to not support the corporations if they do not agree with their [essentially] political views. He ends the post by encouraging people who are not Global Warming (the religion) believers to "get out of our way". And, despite not sharing his opinions on global warming and such... I wholeheartedly support the approach.

The idea that people should not impose their beliefs on others is enshrined in the US Constitution, as well as much of the common idealism of the country. That goes both ways: in the same way the people who believe in Global Warming should not be allowed to force their views on others, so should the people who are more skeptically and/or scientifically minded not force their skepticism on those who chose to believe in the politicized pseudo-science and self-serving biased research. If Mr Branson wants to devote his company's resources to investing in technologies he feels will better serve the interests of his beliefs, I have no issue with it: this is the right way, in my opinion, to go about supporting things you believe in. If his board and/or shareholders wish the corporation's resources were otherwise allocated, they have the means to do so.

The only thing I would have an issue with, in this regard, is when governments are involved. Governments are supposed to stay out of religion (well, most first-world governments anyway), and I have a huge issue with various religious pundits lobbying government to take actions in support of their religious beliefs, and/or provide unfair and corrupt advantages for them (eg: pushing carbon credits, like Al Gore, or handouts to traditional religious groups, as some Republicans have done). As long as you're taking action yourself, though, and leaving the various governments alone, I have no issue with this method of taking a stand.

Now, you could argue that my praise is somewhat cynical, since most Global Warming pundits are heavily trying to influence government, usually for their own gain (including Branson). That is true, but irrespective of that, Branson's stated approach, of corporations and individuals allocating their own resources to serve their own goals, is the right way to go about doing so. Sure, it's possible that some of the "renewable" strategies might backfire, creating more environmental problems (eg: battery disposal), but really that's no different than other companies taking other approaches based on their own beliefs (eg: fracking). As long as the government is making sure there's a level playing field, not taking sides, and trying to ensure that other people are not stepped on in the process... that's how a free country should work.