The EAI Blog is a forum for our members and followers to post and share a variety of perspectives on topical issues. We encourage diverse, and civil debate. These opinions do not necessarily reflect the position of the Institute.

Americans are more likely to wear masks than Europeans and Canadians

The American media’s narrative the past few months has been “Wearing a mask in other countries is nearly unanimous. But Americans are too selfish to wear a mask for stopping COVID-19 transmission.”

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California Heat Wave/Black Outs Highlight Flawed “Green” Policies

California is suffering a major heatwave with temperatures coming in at significantly over 100 degrees. Compounding the danger is the unfortunate reality that California’s electricity capacity – arguably the most “green” in the nation – can’t handle the demand needed to run the air conditioning. California Governor Gavin Newsom admitted that California’s extreme shift to renewable energy sources is at the root of the current crisis.

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Bill McKibben on the Pandemic, VTDigger, and Vermont’s Deplorables

Here’s a recent comment by Middlebury College’s enviro activist in residence Bill McKibben, which makes an interesting point.

“The pandemic has also been hard on [Vermont’s] newspapers, which have been curtailing editions and laying off staff. But Vermont is also lucky to have two more-or-less statewide independent media outlets: the entirely Web-based VTDigger and the Burlington-based alternative weekly Seven Days.”

“Both have done something unusual and useful during the pandemic: they have shut down their comments sections. They did it to make sure that people weren’t spreading bad information about public health, but the secondary effect has been to isolate the small number of soreheads and malcontents who monopolize such venues.” That reminds you of Hillary Clinton’s characterization of her detractors as “Deplorables”, doesn’t it?

In the case of VTDigger, which I readily admit performs a valuable service for the state, I did a quick analysis of the first ten comments posted on the report of  the July Senate passage of the Global Warming Solutions Act. Seven commenters were opposed to that bill, and three were supportive. I added up the positive and negative responses, and found that the opposition prevailed by a ratio of 1058 to 103 (91% opposed).

Two weeks later VT Digger discontinued comments on the dubious grounds that it took too much staff time to moderate them. In my view, it’s more plausible that they got tired of publicizing the views of McKibben’s soreheads and malcontents who opposed the Digger-favored climate agenda.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

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Do Black Opinions Matter?

As the House Judiciary Committee began virtual public hearings on police reform, and VPIRG, the Vermont ACLU and other groups hop on the “defund the police” parade in the name of the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s worth taking a moment to explore some issues from the perspective of the Black Community.

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Ethan Allen Institute Releases Updated Legislator Vote Profiles

August 10, 2020

The Ethan Allen Institute released its officially updated legislator “Roll Call Profiles” today to reflect the key votes from the 2020 legislative session. This year’s highlighted legislation includes votes on the Global Warming Solutions Act, a minimum wage increase, Paid Family Leave, creating a tax and regulatory structure for the sale of recreational marijuana, “ballot harvesting,” and more.

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Massachusetts TCI Bill

That’s the eleven-state agreement to drive up gasoline and diesel fuel taxes to get people to stop driving internal combustion cars, by relieving them of millions of dollars to insulate somebody else’s home, subsidize electric cars, build charging stations, bike paths, and so on. The same proposal is before the Vermont legislature.

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Is "White" River Junction Racist?

Yes, that’s apparently a serious question.

Online petitions have become a popular way to rally around various social issues in recent years. “Justice for George Floyd” has garnered 19,500,592 online signatures at the time I am writing this. I spotted a far more trivial petition yesterday on innocuously entitled “Change WRJ to River Junction.” Before reading the petition itself, one can deduce that “WRJ” stands for “White River Junction” a town in central Vermont close to the New Hampshire border, population 2,200. The abbreviation seems normal enough in this age of acronyms, but hints at absurdity later on. Notice how the word “white” is avoided.

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COVID is the Iceberg that Sinks the Public School System

Covid 19 is going to change how many things are done around the world even long after it’s gone, and some for the better. Business leaders are already blown away by how the virus has spurred technology innovations and changes to corporate culture. Reforms that would have taken years or never come to fruition at all are happening overnight in Lockdown Land. Telemedicine is taking off, for example, and companies are embracing the benefits of telecommuting to save on office space and travel expenses.

One casualty of the Covid innovation revolution is going to be the public school system. Last spring this “unsinkable” juggernaut of political, financial, and cultural power, steaming along at full speed, hit the iceberg. This fall that ship will break apart.

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Olivia de Havillard, RIP

Olivia de Havilland died last week at the age of 104. She was remembered by most  for her role as Melanie in Gone with the Wind, but for me she will always be Maid Marian in the 1938 Warner Brothers production of Robin Hood. For years I have held that up to my children as the finest movie ever made.


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The Government that Cried 'Mask Mandate'

As Governor Scott’s mask mandate looms on August 1, a popular question many Vermonters are asking is “how strictly will it be enforced?” Perhaps nothing much will change, as the vast majority of Vermonters already wear masks when out in public. Maybe police will only give warnings. Maybe it will be enforced by social shaming rather than fines and imprisonment. Or maybe Vermont will follow after Florida, where people are being fined $100 for taking off their masks in nearly-empty parking lots after grocery shopping.

If the state views universal mask wearing as the single most important goal for keeping Covid-19 at bay, perhaps we should ask- “has the law been upheld impartially with a lack of personal vindictiveness during the pandemic?” Is the law a line that any self-respecting Vermonter will not cross, because they believe upholding the law is a sacred societal bond, personal beliefs about the mask mandate aside?

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