April 8, 2010

The Greens’ jumbled thinking

By The Greens’ jumbled thinking

Author:  Damien M. Schiff

Grist.com has this recent post on climate regulation strategy.  The article’s thesis is that it’s better to fight for legislative change, no matter how compromised, than to work within existing laws or rely upon the “progressive” intent of the EPA.  But what I found most interesting about this wonkish piece was its last paragraph, which sets forth the reasons why Greenies should be fighting for climate legislation.

What’s critical for activists—including professional environmentalists—to remember is that the goal of climate activism isn’t comprehensive climate legislation, or strong EPA enforcement of the Clean Air Act. Our shared, common goal is a green economy that rewards work, not pollution, and saves the natural gifts of the world without which we all perish.

I find this interesting because it reveals the dangerously pollyannish attitude of many among the Green Movement.

How can a truly free economy be constructed that rewards “work” but not “pollution”?  Presumably, “pollution” is only “rewarded” because there are individuals who value the items whose production entails “pollution.”  These consumers are willing to give value for those products.  On what basis do we deny them those goods?  Does pollution simply become the convenient pejorative for those activities whose products are not to our liking?

And who would want the “natural gifts of the world” to perish?  Surely no one, if we interpret “natural gifts” as those elements, such as clean water and nutritious food, necessary for human survival and flourishing. But I suspect that our Grist.com pundit considers many things in this world to be essential goods, even though frankly we could all survive should they perish.  For example, many endangered species undoubtedly have little or no anthropogenic value and their protection is justified only on the grounds of some quasi-religious respect to be paid to the “Biota.”  Must we all be forced to sacrifice for these creatures which many of us do not consider “gifts” and whose continued existence is anything but natural?

Here’s to hoping that the Greenies learn, you don’t dilute command-and-control government by using various soft-sounding euphemisms for forced sacrifice.

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