Political language . . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
~ George Orwell
Whenever I drive east of Los Angeles toward Palm Springs, I encounter the untold hundreds of gigantic propellers whose stated purpose is to transform wind into electrical power. I wonder about the efficiency of these devices: does the enormous cost of constructing and maintaining them generate a sufficient amount of electricity to make them a profitable investment? Or, as I often suspect, do these towers serve a more secular religious purpose; a modern ziggurat expressing a commitment to a new sacred orthodoxy? Having grown up in farm country, I am aware of the beneficial use farmers have made of windmills to pump water. On the other hand, if the output from these modern wind machines exceeds their costs, why do they not appear across the country, wherever strong winds prevail? Whenever I hear people preach of the importance of some costly technological program they want the state to undertake, my economic understanding always asks the question: if this is such a worthwhile and productive project, why have profit-seeking entrepreneurs not already entered the field?
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