Oh for the good old days when West Virginia was full of mountaineers who lived off the land. You know, before those evil coal companies came and enslaved the state to its grimey grasp.
That's the view of Julia Bonds, an environmental activist from the Mountain State whom Newsweek's Daniel Stone featured in an April 21 Web-exclusive interview.
Not once in his story did Stone press Bonds on specifics about how she expected to replace jobs lost due to the anti-mining regulations that she pines for, nor did he raise an eyebrow to Bonds practically suggesting that West Virginians would be better living in shotgun shacks without electricity (emphasis mine):
[Stone:] It seems contradictory to advocate for the environment when the livelihood of your family history is intertwined with this industry.
[Bonds:] The people in my family were mountaineers before they were coal miners. We have been managers of the land for centuries. In the mountains here, God gave us everything we need. It wasn't until the rest of the country realized that there was coal in them there hills that they came and stole and conned our ancestors out of the land. That made us homogenized people rather than the self-reliant people we were. The Industrial Revolution turned us into slaves to the industrial world.
Bonds frequently returned to her Marxist, conspiracy theory-centered rhetoric, yet Stone failed to press Bonds to back up her rhetoric or to explain exactly what types of green energy -- wind, solar, hydryoelectric -- the state can turn to and how she's so sure those industries will replace all or most of the jobs lost to coal mining's demise.:
Indeed, at the close of the interview, the best Bonds could come up with was wild rhetoric comparing West Virginians to domestic violence or kidnapping victims:
The phenomenon is a lot like battered-wife syndrome or Stockholm syndrome. The state has allowed the coal industry to create a mono-economy in West Virginia, which takes away a person's choices. They feel that the only thing they can do is mine coal. That is absolutely a conspiracy because these people think they have to. If these men had a choice between a good factory job and what they're doing now, they'd probably take the job. They do have a choice, but it's very little of a choice.