Progressives, to placate Gaia, engage in a “civilized” version of the ancient practice of human sacrifice

Food prices in America are going up and up.  We’re not starving, thank goodness, but we are seeing more and more of our money go to groceries.  Many see a direct connection with ethanol (i.e., using food to power cars) and rising food prices.  Thus, despite the challenging drought, the administration is pursuing ethanol-based policies that keep prices inflated:

A drought is currently driving down corn production. The shortage of feed is forcing livestock producers to slaughter animals early, putting downward pressure on meat prices in the short run and guaranteeing shortages and higher prices next year. But nature is not the biggest factor in this crisis — the government is. Specifically, the federal government’s ethanol mandate, which requires that 13.2 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol be produced in 2012.

Thanks to the ethanol mandate, more than 40 percent of the nation’s corn crop now goes into the production of a useless fuel that hardly anyone would buy if the government didn’t require it. That’s up from just 17 percent in 2005, before the mandate went into effect. Only 36 percent of the corn crop now goes for feed, and 24 percent goes for food.

Obama could solve this problem instantly by suspending the federal ethanol mandate — something his EPA actually can do unilaterally and legally. Instead, Obama will buy up meat — a move that meat producers say won’t help them much anyway. “It doesn’t solve the problem of having enough affordable corn next summer,” industry analyst Steve Meyer told Reuters. “Without changing the ethanol program, nothing can be done,” he said.

It’s bad enough that ethanol is hurting our pocketbooks at home.  What’s scary and tragic is that the diversion of food crops may be causing revolutions elsewhere.  Smart thinkers have posited that the government obsession with ethanol, which results in crop diversions and high food prices in marginal economies, may have led to the Arab Spring:

While the mainstream media focuses on the political aspects of this turmoil, they are overlooking the impact of rising inflation, driven mainly by record food prices. For example, former Bush advisor Dan Senor notes that Egypt is the world’s largest wheat importer. Yet because of skyrocketing prices, Egyptian inflation is now over 10 percent, while some experts estimate that Egyptian food inflation has risen as much as 20 percent.


To be fair, not all of the food inflation can be blamed on the Fed. A good part of this problem can also be placed at the doorstep of bipartisan U.S. policies to subsidize ethanol.

According to the Wall Street Journal, in 2001, only 7 percent of U.S. corn went to ethanol. By 2010, the ethanol share was 39 percent. So instead of growing wheat, our farmers are growing corn in order to cash in on ethanol subsidies. Egyptians who can’t afford to buy bread and have taken to the streets in protest might be very interested to know this.

Not even Al Gore still believes that ethanol provides any environmental benefits.

More simply stated, the obsession with useless ethanol, all in the name of saving us from Gaia’s wrath, is starving people.

It occurred to me that this isn’t the first time that governments have taken to killing people in order to placate Gaia.  A little digging yielded this summary about the Aztec practice of human sacrifice.  Keep in mind as you read it that, in the 21st Century, every single itch and twitch in the weather — every heavy rain, heat wave, cold spell, etc. — is blamed on Gaia’s anger that we’re flooding her with CO2 (emphasis mine):

For hundreds of years, human sacrifice is believed to have played an important role of many of the indigenous tribes inhabiting the Valley of Mexico. However, the Mexica brought human sacrifice to levels that had never been practiced before. The Mexica Indians and their neighbors had developed a belief that it was necessary to constantly appease the gods through human sacrifice. By spilling the blood of human beings onto the ground, the high priests were, in a sense, paying their debt to the gods. If the blood would flow, then the sun would rise each morning, the crops would grow, the gods would provide favorable weather for good crops, and life would continue.

Over time, the Mexica, in particular, developed a feeling that the needs of their gods were insatiable. The period from 1446 to 1453 was a period of devastating natural disasters: locusts, drought, floods, early frosts, starvation, etc. The Mexica, during this period, resorted to massive human sacrifice in an attempt to remedy these problems. When abundant rain and a healthy crop followed in 1455, the Mexica believed that their efforts had been successful. In 1487, according to legend, Aztec priests sacrificed more than 80,000 prisoners of war at the dedication of the reconstructed temple of the sun god in Tenochtitl’n.

Just to be clear, I’m not accusing Progressives of deliberately engaging in human sacrifice.  Indeed, it’s ridiculous to compare converting corn to fuel, which has a byproduct of revolution and starvation, on the one hand, with deliberately and directly cutting the hearts out of 80,000 prisoners, on the other hand.  Nevertheless, I do think there’s a straight, albeit very thin, line between the primitive thinking of the Aztecs — “earth angry, kill people” — and the so-called “sophisticated thinking of the Progressives — “earth angry, who cares how many people we kill.”

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  • Danny Lemieux

    Bookworm: “Just to be clear, I’m not accusing Progressives of deliberately engaging in human sacrifice.”

    Why not? If the shoe fits…

  • Bookworm

    Danny, honesty compels me to admit that they’re not yet cutting people’s hearts out, ritually burning them, and using the carcases for food for the starving masses.  (Which really makes you think that Soylent Green found its inspiration in the Aztecs.)

  • Danny Lemieux

    Key qualifier…”not yet”. Give them time, Book. It takes a bit of time to get used to such ideas.

  • bkivey

    A few years ago I designed and had printed a bumper sticker with a slashed circle through the biodiesel symbol and the words ‘Burn Oil, Not Food!’. Shortly after I put the design up for sale, I got a long screed from someone upset with me, claiming I was ‘ . . .  in favor of killing the planet.” ‘The planet’ will do just fine; I’m more concerned with the people.

  • pst314

    Human sacrifice? Funny you should mention that, because a French pagan witch named Ginette Paris wrote a book titled The Sacrament of Abortion”, in which she advocated for unrestricted abortion on demand, saying that we should treat the fetuses as offerings to the moon goddess Artemis (the goddess of young girls, virginity, etc.) After all, the ancient pagans sacrificed children, so why shouldn’t we?
    Funny folks, those pagans. Link courtesy of commenter at Zombie.

  • phaedruscj

    Rising food prices are are undisputed. But to suggest ethanol production is to blame seems too easy. Ethanol production is down by the way. I copied these from the nebraska corn growers site:

    A 12 oz box of corn flakes contains only 8.6 cents worth of corn. $4.00 a box in the grocery store,.

    There is only 19.3 cents of corn in a gallon of milk. Dairy farmers receive 91 cents for the gallon of milk that is sold in the store for $2.99.

    42.8 cents of corn to produce a dozen eggs. Eggs bought at a store are $2.39 – but the poultry farmer receives only about 60 cents.

    It takes only 27.8 cents of corn to produce a pound of ground beef and 38.5 cents of corn per pound of pork. The livestock producers’ share of the grocery store price is 81 cents for the ground beef and 44 cents for the pork; while you pay $3.00 a pound for ground beef and $5.99 for a ham at the store.

    A 2 liter bottle of soda contains about 10 cents worth of corn. Corn is found in soda as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Less than 5% of our crop is used to make HFCS, which is found in small amounts in a variety of products.


    I copied this from the OKC online newspaper Aug 3, 2012

    Ethanol production nationally has dropped by 20 percent since the beginning of the year and is at a two-year low, said Bob Dinneen, CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, a national trade group.
    The production drop-off is similar in Iowa, which produces about a third of the nation’s ethanol, and in Nebraska, the No. 2 ethanol producer, it’s down by about 30 percent, industry officials said.
    Ethanol plants in some states have temporarily halted production, including three of the 24 in Nebraska. The plants had planned to shut down for a week routine maintenance but extended that for a month, said Todd Sneller, administrator at the Nebraska Ethanol Board, a state agency responsible for developing the ethanol industry. Also, a plant in Aurora, Neb., that was supposed to start up in June has postponed its opening.
    All of Iowa’s 41 plants remain in operation, although they are producing less.
    Read more:


      Personally I blame pet owners as pet food uses a significant amount of corn. Prohibit the use of corn for pet food before restricting ethanol use of corn. The by product of corn used for pet food is pet manure. The by product of corn used for ethanol is feed for livestock. Not sure if livestock produces any manure since I don’t see it deposited on my lawn everyday from people using my property as a pet toilet.

  • Dennis Elliott

    The subsidy for ethanol production was eliminated last fall or winter, but the mandate to produce it still exists. Hence the artifical demand created by the govt. still exists (thanks to the efforts of companies like ADM) and the supply train will follow demand.

    The problem for the Obumble administration is that, whatever other results may occur from ethanol production, it is still cheaper than gasoline production and so, when blended with gasoline, lowers the price at the pump. Even though both environmentalists and normal people recognize the external costs of ethanol and have pushed to have the mandate eliminated, to do so would necessarily raise the cost of a gallon of gasoline. As raising the cost of gasoline has an immediate and negative effect on GDP and jobs, the Administration is caught between the reality of the market and the bliss of Gaia—-in an election year to boot.

    I note that this morning there is a hint that the Administration is considering raiding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to reduce the cost of gasoline. The problem with that, of course, is that there still is no shortage of oil. It’s refining capacity that is short and, again, refining capacity is short because of our obeisance to Gaia. More oil will not relieve the upward pressure on gasoline supplies in the near (read election) term.

    There may be better examples of Hayek’s principles but this situation is nonetheless textbook.