Environmentalism is the new socialism

By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER | Orange County Register

December 11, 2009 at 12:00 a.m.

My cmnt: These are three columns from my files that seem as appropriate on this Earth Day as when they were written. Environmentalism and Earth Day in particular is a religious celebration of the Left and all nature worshipers. C.S. Lewis wrote that the worshipping of nature is like being so enamored with the postman and his uniform that you fail to read the letter he delivered.

WASHINGTON In the 1970s and early ’80s, having seized control of the U.N. apparatus (by power of numbers), Third World countries decided to cash in. OPEC was pulling off the greatest wealth transfer from rich to poor in history. Why not them? So in grand U.N. declarations and conferences, they began calling for a “New International Economic Order.” The NIEO’s essential demand was simple: to transfer fantastic chunks of wealth from the industrialized West to the Third World.

On what grounds? In the name of equality – wealth redistribution via global socialism – with a dose of post-colonial reparations thrown in.

The idea of essentially taxing hard-working citizens of the democracies to fill the treasuries of Third World kleptocracies went nowhere, thanks mainly to Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher (and the debt crisis of the early ’80s). They put a stake through the enterprise.

But such dreams never die. The raid on the Western treasuries is on again, but today with a new rationale to fit current ideological fashion. With socialism dead, the gigantic heist is now proposed as a sacred service of the newest religion: environmentalism.

One of the major goals of the Copenhagen climate summit is another NIEO shakedown: the transfer of hundreds of billions from the industrial West to the Third World to save the planet by, for example, planting green industries in the tristes tropiques.

Politically it’s an idea of genius, engaging at once every left-wing erogenous zone: rich man’s guilt, post-colonial guilt, environmental guilt. But the idea of shaking down the industrial democracies in the name of the environment thrives not just in the refined internationalist precincts of Copenhagen. It thrives on the national scale too.

On the day Copenhagen opened, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claimed jurisdiction over the regulation of carbon emissions by declaring them an “endangerment” to human health.

Since we operate an overwhelmingly carbon-based economy, the EPA will be regulating practically everything. No institution that emits more than 250 tons of CO2 a year will fall outside EPA control. This means over a million building complexes, hospitals, plants, schools, businesses and similar enterprises. (The EPA proposes regulating emissions only above 25,000 tons, but it has no such authority.) Not since the creation of the Internal Revenue Service has a federal agency been given more intrusive power over every aspect of economic life.

This naked assertion of vast executive power in the name of the environment is the perfect fulfillment of the prediction of Czech President (and economist) Vaclav Klaus that environmentalism is becoming the new socialism, i.e., the totemic ideal in the name of which government seizes the commanding heights of the economy and society.

Socialism having failed so spectacularly, the left was adrift until it struck upon a brilliant gambit: metamorphosis from red to green. The cultural elites went straight from the memorial service for socialism to the altar of the environment. The objective is the same: highly centralized power given to the best and the brightest, the new class of experts, managers and technocrats. This time, however, the alleged justification is not abolishing oppression and inequality but saving the planet.

Not everyone is pleased with the coming New Carbon-Free International Order. When the Obama administration signaled (in a gesture to Copenhagen) a U.S. commitment to major cuts in carbon emissions, Democratic Sen. Jim Webb wrote the president protesting that he lacks the authority to do so unilaterally. That requires congressional concurrence by legislation or treaty.

With the Senate blocking President Obama’s cap-and-trade carbon legislation, the EPA coup d’etat served as the administration’s loud response to Webb: The hell we can’t. With this EPA “endangerment” finding, we can do as we wish with carbon. Either the Senate passes cap-and-trade, or the EPA will impose even more draconian measures: all cap, no trade.

Forget for a moment the economic effects of severe carbon chastity. There’s the matter of constitutional decency. If you want to revolutionize society – as will drastic carbon regulation and taxation in an energy economy that is 85 percent carbon-based – you do it through Congress reflecting popular will. Not by administrative fiat of EPA bureaucrats.

Congress should not just resist this executive overreaching, but trump it: Amend existing clean air laws and restore their original intent by excluding CO2 from EPA control and reserving that power for Congress and future legislation.

Do it now. Do it soon. Because Big Brother isn’t lurking in CIA cloak. He’s knocking on your door, smiling under an EPA cap.

Left’s ultimate salvation: Environmentalism

By Charles Krauthammer Jun 1, 2008 – for DeseretNews

WASHINGTON — I’m not a global warming believer. I’m not a global warming denier. I’m a global warming agnostic who believes instinctively that it can’t be very good to pump lots of CO2 into the atmosphere, but is equally convinced that those who presume to know exactly where that leads are talking through their hats.

Predictions of catastrophe depend on models. Models depend on assumptions about complex planetary systems — from ocean currents to cloud formation — that no one fully understands. Which is why the models are inherently flawed and forever changing. The doomsday scenarios posit a cascade of events, each with a certain probability. The multiple improbability of their simultaneous occurrence renders all such predictions entirely speculative.

Yet on the basis of this speculation, environmental activists, attended by compliant scientists and opportunistic politicians, are advocating radical economic and social regulation. “The largest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity,” warns Czech President Vaclav Klaus, “is no longer socialism. It is, instead, the ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous ideology of environmentalism.”

If you doubt the arrogance, you haven’t seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton’s laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming — infinitely more untested, complex and speculative — is a closed issue.

But declaring it closed has its rewards. It not only dismisses skeptics as the running dogs of reaction, i.e., of Exxon, Cheney and now Klaus. By fiat, it also hugely re-empowers the intellectual left.

For a century, an ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous knowledge class — social planners, scientists, intellectuals, experts and their left-wing political allies — arrogated to themselves the right to rule either in the name of the oppressed working class (communism) or, in its more benign form, by virtue of their superior expertise in achieving the highest social progress by means of state planning (socialism).

Two decades ago, however, socialism and communism died rudely, then were buried forever by the empirical demonstration of the superiority of market capitalism everywhere from Thatcher’s England to Deng’s China, where just the partial abolition of socialism lifted more people out of poverty more rapidly than ever in human history.

Just as the ash heap of history beckoned, the intellectual left was handed the ultimate salvation: environmentalism. Now the experts will regulate your life not in the name of the proletariat or Fabian socialism but — even better — in the name of Earth itself.

Environmentalists are Gaia’s priests, instructing us in her proper service and casting out those who refuse to genuflect. (See Newsweek above.) And having proclaimed the ultimate commandment — carbon chastity — they are preparing the supporting canonical legislation that will tell you how much you can travel, what kind of light you will read by, and at what temperature you may set your bedroom thermostat.

Just Monday, a British parliamentary committee proposed that every citizen be required to carry a carbon card that must be presented, under penalty of law, when buying gasoline, taking an airplane or using electricity. The card contains your yearly carbon ration to be drawn down with every purchase, every trip, every swipe.

There’s no greater social power than the power to ration. And, other than rationing food, there is no greater instrument of social control than rationing energy, the currency of just about everything one does and uses in an advanced society.

So what does the global warming agnostic propose as an alternative? First, more research — untainted and reliable — to determine (a) whether the carbon footprint of man is or is not lost among the massive natural forces (from sunspot activity to ocean currents) that affect climate, and (b) if the human effect is indeed significant, whether the planetary climate system has the homeostatic mechanisms (like the feedback loops in the human body, for example) with which to compensate.

Second, reduce our carbon footprint in the interim by doing the doable, rather than the economically ruinous and socially destructive. The most obvious step is a major move to nuclear power, which to the atmosphere is the cleanest of the clean.

But your would-be masters have foreseen this contingency. The Church of the Environment promulgates secondary dogmas as well. One of these is a strict nuclear taboo.

Rather convenient, is it not? Take this major coal-substituting fix off the table and we will be rationing all the more. Guess who does the rationing?

Earth Day is almost here

This is the high holy day of the Eco-Left and other socialists. It is a day to take stock of our environmental sins and do penance.

Don’t look now, but once again Earth Day is almost upon us. This is the high holy day of the Eco-Left and other socialists. It is a day to take stock of our environmental sins and do penance.  Change your lightbulbs, unplug your appliances, only flush twice a day, park your cars, stop using plastic bags and above all feel guilty — very guilty.

One of the rites of this religious holy day is to determine how sinful you are by calculating the size of your ecological footprint. At Footprintcalulator you can put a number to this by determining the extent of your wasteful lifestyles and willful disregard for the planet’s health.

Out of morbid curiosity I looked up mine. Apparently I have fairly big feet. This made me feel bad as I have always thought that my feet were just right. According to this site, I am consuming around 10 biologically productive acres, which is about twice what is available for everyone in the world. But, mostly because I never travel by air, I am far below our national average of 24 acres per person. This made me feel better and confirmed that my disdain for the rest of you is justified.

But then I looked up Algore’s footprint. You all surely know our recent Academy Award and Nobel Peace Prize winning ex-vice and failed presidential candidate. He was the dopey looking fat guy standing next to Leonardo DiCaprio at last year’s Academy Awards.

I calculated his footprint based on publicly available data. Wow! You may now add to his titles the name of Sasquatch. Bigfoot has been found. With his two huge mansions, number of cars, large estates, obvious overconsumption of food and meat (you can’t get that fat on a vegetarian diet), swimming pools and frequent air travel, this guy is off the charts.

Again, I felt so much superior. I may start attending worship services on Earth Day after all.

Earth Day is particularly hard on the Hollywood elites. Most of them live in mansions on large estates with huge swimming pools and travel frequently by air. Together they make up an entire Bigfoot colony all to themselves.

You see, folks, it’s the air travel that really gets them. A single, roundtrip cross-country flight emits more global warming gases than a single car produces in a year — 2.7 tons per person, to be exact. And the airplane emissions are three times as potent as ground transport because they are ejected directly into the upper atmosphere.

Most major religions have tenets that require some sort of practical austerity from their followers. And so it is with EcoGreens. To truly practice this religion you really should never take airplane flights anywhere nor dwell in anything bigger than a small apartment with no air-conditioning.

What are rich Greens to do?

The EcoChurch, not wanting to lose these adherents, has come to the rescue. They will sell you an indulgence. Rich nature worshippers can continue to live their extravagant lifestyles by agreeing to purchase carbon offsets or credits from the church Holy See at the United Nations.

Highpriest Al Gore buys them from himself since he owns a company that sells them. Others can hire people to plant trees in their names. Whole nations can buy carbon offsets from poor nations that don’t produce their share. The buying and selling of indulgences once split another church; it remains to be seen how long this scam will last in the new one.

Here’s a little spiritual exercise for you EcoChurch parishioners; calculate the eco footprint left by the entire Academy Award ceremony. This includes the energy wasted making the elaborate dresses; fueling the oversized limos; flying the private and corporate jets; the parties before and after; the drug, alcohol and food consumption; the use of the Kodak Theater (which includes but is not limited to lights, air conditioning, water and other utilities); the elaborate sets; and last, but not least, all of the television sets worldwide indirectly spewing carbon dioxide while tuned to take in the whole sordid affair. My God, I mean my Earth, the total eco/carbon footprint is about the size of Connecticut.

Sometimes I wonder how Eco-hypocrites like Al Gore sleep at night knowing what they are doing to the planet. And rich Northeast liberals, like Bill and Hillary Clinton, heating their mansions with fuel oil and flying all over creation polluting our fragile upper atmosphere just to gain political advantage ought to be ashamed of themselves.

I suppose Earth Day, like Christmas, will soon be commercialized and lose whatever meaning it may have had at one time. So it is with religious holy days. Every new religion finds that out sooner or later.

Mick Lindgren of Lincoln is a systems analyst at Lincoln’s Goodyear plant.

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