Free riding and the slacker politics of energy

The man says solar energy is bad because it’s “free riding.” Well, the cats behind ALEC may be evil, but they certainly ain’t dumb.

ALEC calls for penalties on “free rider” solar panel owners

As usual, the representatives of capital are crystal clear about the fact that the slacker ethic is an enormous threat to their bottom line, perhaps the biggest one they face. They deploy the Protestant work ethic to attack energy sources that are unprofitable, but this line only works as politically effective discourse if we all buy the idea that free riding is somehow bad. Shameful, even. That’s why there is no more important political goal for those who oppose the logic of capital, than a transvaluation of precisely these values.

Because ALEC is absolutely right — solar energy is free riding. But rather than shy away from this reality, we have to embrace just this characteristic of solar — which is exactly what makes it so environmentally superior. It’s passive. It’s free. It’s slacker energy.

Resentment against free riding is not so hard to stir up among an overworked population. But how difficult is it, really, to help people tap into just how much they want it? I mean, free. riding. Sounds like surfing, like taking a motorcycle on the open road, like rock and roll, like good times. People love that shit. So for starters, I think that all our pro-solar enviro ads should now be set to the classic track “Free Ride.”

What solar panels show us is that there is simply no scarcity of energy on earth. There’s plenty. And it’s basically free. Time to lose the resentment and work ethic — generated by an artificially perpetuated scarcity — that ALEC is relying on to continue profiting from the creation of this fake scarcity. Free riders: don’t beat em. Join em.

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