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    Tuesday, January 18, 2005

    Michael Savage Opposes People's Right to Stay Warm in the Winter

    18 January 2005

    Okay, that's not exactly true, but Michael Savage does support the abolishment of all wood fires in the United States. This annoyed me since a wood fire is how I keep warm in winter. I sit on several dozen wooded acres. Wood costs only the labor I put into gathering it. I am not affected by supply problems associated with oil and natural gas, and I am not dependent on my power being on all the time if I want to stay warm. We have used wood fires to keep warm since the beginning of time, and I am not about to stop now.

    I do understand Savage's position -- he doesn't like the smell of wood-smoke and would like to do something about it. I don't like the smell of diesel and gasoline exhaust fumes and would not be displeased if I never had to smell them again. But Savage thinks that he ought to have the right to send government enforcers out to stop his neighbor from burning a fire in winter. This would not be unlike me demanding that government enforcers go out and stopping everyone from driving. Fuel exhaust is much more pervasive and poisonous than wood smoke, unless I am much mistaken, yet no one, not even Michael Savage, would suggest that we abolish automobiles (actually, I am not completely sure about that -- I am basing my opinion on the love he seems to have for his car).

    I don't really understand his complaint about wood smoke, myself, but he describes his neighbor's chimney as smoking up the entire neighborhood, or some such thing. Maybe we have different definitions of 'smoke'. I define smoke as a thick cloud that obscures the vision, stings the eyes, and has a strong smell. Whenever someone near me is burning wood in their fireplace, often my only clue is the pleasant smell of burning wood that smells like winter to me. I mean, I suppose I could produce a lot of pungent smoke if I put moss or green leaves in my fireplace, but the point is I would have to work at it. Maybe Savage's neighbor is burning his trash in his fireplace -- now that would produce a lot of pungent smoke.

    Michael Savage made two faulty comparisons on his show yesterday regarding wood-burning fireplaces. First, he claimed that allowing people to have wood fires would produce an environment like that of eighteenth center London. In saying this, Dr. Savage is either misinformed, or willfully attempting to mislead his audience. If he had studied Victorian London, he would know that they used coal to heat homes by that time. And let me tell you, a coal fire is much more polluting than a wood one, and I would agree with Savage if people wanted to burn coal. Second, he likened a wood fire to someone dumping oil in a lake. I would like to say that he is just mistaken, but a man of his intelligence really should know better. Oil does not dissipate immediately when dumped into a lake. Its effects are felt for a long time. Wood smoke does not hang in the air; it is only there while the fire is burning. Thus, the next day after you smell smoke, you would not smell it in the air if there were no fire (smelling smoke in material items is another matter altogether). Savage would have done much better to compare wood smoke fires to cigarette smoke as the situations are much more similar and thus the analogy would work better, but I still believe the automobile analogy is closer still since cheap transportation, like cheap and reliable heating in winter, are economic necessities.


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    "If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

    --Samuel Adams

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