In my first article in this series, I looked at socialism and how it impacts negatively on the working class. In this post, I’ll focus on how the left have made their vision felt through the vehicle of ‘environmentalism’.
Environmental activists and leftist ideology
Those of us of a more libertarian viewpoint are not necessarily political activists by nature. Most of our time is spent making a living, keeping a roof over our heads and raising families. No doubt there are more than a few left-leaning folk dealing with these problems as well.
Where it all goes wrong is that the left, by its nature, loves collectivism. Especially collectivity of thought. Once a target has been identified, then the activists switch into group-think mode and build a strategy for dealing with the perceived problem. Any balance in the solutions to the perceived problem goes out of the window. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the arena of the environment.
It doesn’t take long to realise that few, if any, environmental organisations are populated by centre-right advocates. Why is this? The left would have you believe that they, and only they, care about how our world looks and functions. Only they can see the true beauty inherent in an unspoiled planet. Only they believe that anyone not of their mindset is hell-bent on ‘raping’ the planet and plundering its bounty.
Let’s get one thing clear. I haven’t met anyone, of similar political leanings to me, who cares any less about the environment than your average lefty. No one I know wants to see beautiful landscapes trashed on the whim of big business. No one I know thinks that urban sprawl (particularly with current unsympathetic modern architecture designs) is to be welcomed. No one I know thinks that endless vistas of rapeseed enhances our view of farmland. No one I know thinks that a river flows better with supermarket trolleys and other detritus stuck in its mud. No one I know considers it OK to allow farm/industrial run off to poison the fish in the rivers.
Despite this, I am classed as a planet-rapist and rabid capitalist simply because I consider virtually all green boon-dongles to be worthless and more damaging to the environment than they. Why should this be so?
I wish to enable industry and commerce, with sensible controls, to continue to expand and provide the necessary profits and jobs to keep this nation as one of the great trading nations of the world. They don’t. The problem is, of course, who determines what, exactly, constitutes sensible controls? As many, if not most, of the vocal green groups have been taken over by hard-left socialists, their ability to organise and project this ideological thinking into the mainstream has dominated the current Zeitgeist. Our so-called conservative leaders have capitulated in the face of this onslaught and, always looking for a bandwagon to jump on, have handed victory to these anti-capitalist ‘useful idiots’ with barely a token attempt to defend the wealth makers in our country.
So where is the dichotomy of which you speak?
OK, let’s take one simple subject. Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming.
As one of the videos on here shows “If I wanted America to fail” I would vilify the one aspect that a) is easy to target – every major industry emits it and b) creates a perfect vehicle for raising endless amounts of tax revenue. Carbon dioxide.
Having convinced our rulers – with little effort it seems – that the one thing that is in endless supply on the planet, and is easily manipulated into a revenue stream, might, just might, create some sort of mythical disaster at some mythical point in time they, our rulers, were quick to see the multiple benefits to them. On the one hand they could scuttle onto that moral high-ground so beloved of the campaigning left but could, at a stroke, impose swinging taxes that would satisfy their lust for more money to redistribute to the deserving poor.
Of course the dichotomy is this.
Excessive taxation and environmental controls inevitably lead to a fall-off in industrial output. Companies move to less stringent regimes, taking wealth away from the country. Employees find themselves no longer employed. Skill sets become lost to other nations. The young have no worthwhile future as their chance of finding skilled employment diminishes.
The subsidies meted out to firms who wave the ‘green’ flag are diverted from normal productive capacity to a mythical industry that produces nothing of value. Someone has to fund these subsidies. Guess who? The correct answer doesn’t include the word ‘Government’, by the way.
Every attempt at satisfying this ‘carbon’ fixation has proved to cause more harm than good. Let’s list a few;
Wind energy –
The arguments in favour include ‘Wind, it’s free’. Of course it is but capturing it, dispatching it and backing it up certainly isn’t. Currently, the cost of subsidising wind means that on-shore generation is twice as expensive as coal and off-shore is three times as expensive.
Only by loading excessive restrictions and costs on legacy power generation can the comparable costs be brought into line and the ‘green’ lobby pretend they are winning the argument. (More info available here – Is Wind Power Cheaper Than Coal Fired Power? – Well, No.)
Apart from the economic failure of wind as a source of reliable power, there is its singular failure to even reduce our ‘carbon footprint’. So, even one of the supposed key benefits – reducing CO2 – falls at the first hurdle.
Apart from the economics of wind, as a reliable source of energy, we then have to point out the crass hypocrisy of the environmental movement when it comes to the preservation of wildlife. There is much documented evidence of the impact of turbines on birds and bats. There is an enormous outcry if something is planned that might damage fauna but a deathly silence when that something fits the ‘low carbon’ mantra.
A classic example can be viewed here; Fatal Attraction: Birds and Wind Turbines – KQED QUEST . You might scratch your head when you hear that part of the ‘settlement’ to reduce raptor deaths is to shut some of the turbines down in the winter. THE WINTER? Surely that’s just when people need energy the most? Maybe I’m missing something here, though I doubt it.
The greens’ argument goes something along the lines of ‘cars, pylons, houses etc kill birds but you don’t complain about them’. All this is true, of course, but misses one vital point; turbines are more likely to kill scarce raptors (ie eagles, buzzards) than any of their ‘straw men’. Plus there is the small point that humanity needs cars, pylons, houses etc.
As for securing ‘our energy future’. . .
Sometime ago, someone came up with the idea that instead of feeding people with crops grown on farms we should, instead, divert this precious resource to making fuel. Let me get this straight. On the one hand driving a vehicle is bad for the planet so we decide that rather than feed people we’ll actually grow more fuel to keep the wheels turning for an increasing population of drivers, worldwide? Yeah, I can see how that makes sense. On the other hand we have all the main relief agencies holding out the begging bowl in order to help fight starvation in the developing nations of the world.
If the World Bank and the World Health Authority consider this bonkers, who am I to disagree? Biofuels Policy May Kill 200,000 Per Year in the Third World.
If you need more evidence of the sheer stupidity of the environmental movement, its lack of sound economic principles and its complete failure to understand the Law of Unintended Consequences, you need look no further than this; EPA: Bungling biofuels buffoonery
Another take on the EPA story; BEAUPREZ: EPA’s renewable fuel folly – Corn is good for cattle, but bad for cars
Needless to say, the EU is starting to backtrack on this now and is letting it slip quietly into the long grass.
As for the potential damage to car engines. . . ethanol damage to car engines
Last, but by no means least, is the ultimate dichotomy, bio-mass.
It seems like only yesterday the environmental movement would scream blue murder if an axe or chainsaw came within a mile of a tree. We were constantly harangued to remember what a magical CO2 sink these magnificent things are. How we must protect the rainforests in order to save the world. Needless to say they were absent when vast areas of these forests were felled to provide space for bio-fuel ‘farming’.
Here is a situation where, in the name of environmentalism, we have forced a well-run, very-efficient power station to switch from using cheap coal in order to burn wood chips. Please note; wood chips.
There aren’t enough trees in the UK to keep this place running at maximum capacity so the answer is to ship it in, literally, from the States. Here is an article from the very environmentally biased Guardian which highlights the dichotomy facing the green movement. And all in the name of saving the planet.
If the whole thing wasn’t so sad it would be amusing. If people wonder why we find the environmental movement to be a laughing-stock, here’s a follow-up article from the WSJ. Europe’s Green-Fuel Search Turns to America’s Forests
OK, enough already, as Americans would say. I can’t write any more as I find I get depressed very quickly nowadays.
Make your own minds up. But be quick about it, the greens are running the asylum and time is running out.
Other posts in the Dichotomy series