Green Questions

An anonymous reader posed a couple of excellent questions that I wanted to address in a complete post:

1. Do you think the environmental movement/legislation has done anything good?
2. What if you’re wrong about the consequences of environmental degradation and the ‘wackos’ and ‘nitwits’ are right?

Below are my answers…

1. Do you think the environmental movement/legislation has done anything good?
Yes, it has. I am a firm believer in taking care of the environment. As a Christian, I believe this is one of the instructions that God gave us way back in Genesis (chapter 1, verses 26-29) when He said man had dominion over the animals, plants, and everything else on this planet.

Here’s the catch…people should always come first.

Again, my foundational basis for thinking this is primarily Biblical. I believe humanity is a special creation, blessed by God above the rest of creation. We are not the product of billions of years of violent death and struggle, the result of a meaningless progression of mutations and accidents. I believe we were placed here deliberately, in part, to manage the creation God made. Humans were set apart and given a greater privilege — along with a greater responsibility — than the rest of creation, including animals and plants.

As a result of these foundational beliefs, I will not support a measure that causes undue stress, pain, or hardship on humanity in the name of the environment. That’s why I may sound anti-environment at times, and I suppose I should do a better job of clarifying my position. I am not anti-environment, I simply believe that people should receive a higher priority than any plant, animal, or earthly substance.

So, back to your original question. Yes, environmental movement/legislation has done some good. Protecting the environment from undue damage (from chemical spills, over-harvesting of resources, etc.) is a good thing, and necessary as part of our role as caretakers of the Earth. However, I would suggest that it has done far more harm than good because the vast majority of this movement/legislation is promoting the environment above humanity. Another way to say it would be that we’re protecting the environment at the expense of humanity. I can’t get on board with that.

Some absolutely perfect examples of this were included in my original post, from Diane Katz. If you haven’t read it, click here. She basically points out how hunger in 3rd world countries is partly caused by ethanol subsidies, there are millions dying in Africa from malaria because of a myth about DDT, there are thousands of needless auto deaths every year caused by ridiculous vehicle standards, and millions have gotten sick and/or died because lobbyists pushed through laws based on little or no actual proof. All of these examples were based more on emotion and political correctness than actual evidence, and all of them failed to have a noticeable effect on the environment. This is exactly what I’m talking about when I speak of environmentalist ‘wackos’ pushing environmental legislation at the expense of humanity. Make sense now?

Let me tell you what I would like to see. I would like to see the free market unleashed on ‘green’ measures. Let’s look at cars as an example. If car manufacturers see that there is a market demand for hybrid cars, great. Let ’em churn out as many as people will buy. But, if manufacturers see a demand for large gas guzzlers or SUVs that provide incredible comfort, safety, and stability, let ’em churn those out, too. If people don’t want to buy a particular kind of car, they won’t, and manufacturers will stop making them. If people want something in enough numbers, the manufacturers will figure that out and continue to innovate, driving that technology and product forward even more. That’s how the free market works.

If the government is involved in any way, it should be in a very limited capacity, perhaps to offer tax incentives for ‘green’ cars or something like that. Keep in mind, though, that it’s one thing to offer incentives for perceived good behavior (i.e. hybrids), and completely another to offer penalties for perceived bad behavior (i.e. gas guzzlers). What is happening now is punishing the ‘bad’ behavior via excessive taxation. I’d like to see the other way around. Even better, get the government out of it completely. If Americans want hybrid cars, they’ll buy them. Government shouldn’t force it on us, especially at the expense of safety (which can be proven, by the way).

See the difference? This is what I mean by bigger government, more regulation, and excessive taxation fouling up the market place, and that’s why I see the vast majority of environmental legislation as being bad – it is designed precisely to make government bigger, raise taxes, and stifle innovation. The environment is ‘protected’ at the expense of humanity, and that’s wrong.

2. What if you’re wrong about the consequences of environmental degradation and the ‘wackos’ and ‘nitwits’ are right?
For the record, I don’t accept the premise of this question, but I’ll get to that in a moment. What if I did accept the premise that environmental degradation is real? If I’m wrong, then I would point to the fact that we can’t even predict the local weather accurately more than a couple days ahead (and even then it’s sketchy), so there is no realistic merit to the idea that we can modify the global climate, certainly not to any significant degree. So, if we can’t do anything to change it, what does it matter? It doesn’t. So why should we destroy the American economy (and the world’s economy) and wreak even more havoc (i.e. illness and death) upon humanity for no reason?

Now, about the premise. There are many, many eminently qualified people who also disagree with the wackos and nitwits, including people who are literally at the top of their respective fields. The evidence clearly casts legitimate doubt on any suggestion on catastrophic or man-made climate change. In my opinion, the actual evidence should, in fact, put the environmentalists squarely on defense. If they think the planet is truly in doubt, where is their proof? If it actually existed, surely there wouldn’t be any serious scientists sharing any doubt, right?

So, why are thousands of top-notch scientists all over the world being black-balled, denied tenure, getting their funding pulled, getting fired, and being ridiculed for merely expressing the conclusion their research and evidence logically suggests? Because it’s not about the science – the science is on the side of the status quo, not the environmental alarmists. The fact that the alarmists control the media and have consistently beat the drum of alarmism into the public consciousness doesn’t mean that alarmism is actually true. This is the key that people need to realize.

Now, let’s turn the question around on you: what if you’re wrong? Environmentalists would embrace sweeping ‘green’ legislation that would radically alter our economy, spending untold billions of dollars on ultimately futile gestures (remember that little detail about not being able to predict the weather, let alone control it?) and implementing stifling new regulations that will kill the free market, which is the single best method of making true progress in new technology and innovation. Environmentalists would take away freedoms of Americans, from simple things like forcing us to use a certain kind of light bulb or drive a certain kind of car to limiting the supply of critical natural resources like oil (even more than they already have). If you kill the free flow of cheap energy, you kill the economy because products cannot reach their destinations in a cost-effective manner. You also open the country up to national security risks because of shortages of oil and other natural resources that are vital to defending us. Or, the government will take the lion’s share of those resources, leaving even less for civilians and commerce, prompting higher prices and lower supply. That happened under the Carter administration back in the 1970s, remember? None of these effects are conjecture. They have already happened, to one degree or another.

So, let’s summarize. What if I’m wrong and catastrophic climate change is real but we don’t do anything about it? We can’t do anything significant about it, so it doesn’t matter; we’re all doomed, anyway. What if you’re wrong and we enact sweeping ‘green’ legislation? We will certainly kill the American economy (and much of the world’s economy) and we will exacerbate the horrible conditions that already exist due to existing ‘green’ legislation.

And all for nothing.

Now do you see why I fight and ridicule environmentalist wackos and nitwits? The facts couldn’t be clearer, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

There’s my two cents.

About

I'm a gun-owning, Bible-thumping, bitter clinger conservative in the heartland. You can disagree with me if you want (you do, after all, have a right to be wrong)...just don't be rude or stupid and we'll get along just fine! :)

Posted in Core Principle - Environmentalism, Economy, Environment

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