Environmentalism: Anti-Capitalist Faux-Morality


We recently learned that a Texas high-school teacher was giving her kids biased handouts on the differences between liberals and conservatives, one of the biggest whoppers being that liberals have “a great deal of optimism” about human nature and trust people as basically good, while conservatives think people “must often be controlled for their own best interests.”

As anybody who’s followed politics for, oh, a week can tell you, this grotesque caricature has little basis in reality.  Last night, Sean Hannity and Chris Horner, author of the new book Power Grab: How Obama’s Green Policies Will Steal Your Freedom and Bankrupt America, explored how it’s really the Left, not the Right, that has a problem with individual liberty by “moving decisions from individuals, producers, and consumers to the state”:

There’s not a universal motivator, but if you follow the money, you’ll see a lot of the motivation, but you’ll also see it comes down to power, and I make that case in “Power Grab.”  For example, we know, we can begin on a point of agreement, we know the global warming agenda is not about the climate.  And we know this because nothing ever proposed would detectably impact the climate.  Ask every elected representative you see, what would the temperature be after cap-and-tax?

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The only thing that changes is the vehicle.  What’s their latest excuse for their goal of organizing society?  In Mark Levin’s book, “Liberty and Tyranny,” he points out that since 1988, elected members from the Left have been saying, “even if it’s not true, we just have to ride this issue, because our agenda is the right thing to do.”  Go back and read the president’s State of the Union address.  He said the same thing.  The issue isn’t the issue.

Tough claims, but he’s right—off the record, the UN has admitted that even the toughest new regulations that could have possibly emerged from the Copenhagen summit wouldn’t do much to save the world from global warming, the evidence is stronger than ever that the climate science is bogus, and in his State of the Union address, the President did indeed say that:

Even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy-efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future -– because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy.

Hannity and Horner are correct that the Left peddles radical environmentalism as a means of giving a sense of urgency to their collectivist, nanny-state policies (as brilliant satire site the People’s Cube illustrates with their Global Warming Wager, pictured above), but I think there’s another reason.

As a movement that is largely secular, pro-abortion, and anti-responsibility, there’s a distinct values deficit on the Left.  The “if it feels good, do it” culture they’ve cultivated—worshipping gratification without restraints, believing that truth is personal and relativistic, and sneering at tradition—is potent as a means of tempting recruits, but its lack of a moral core is hard not to notice.  Like social justice, anti-war “humanitarianism,” and racial preferences, environmentalism gives leftists a higher cause to offset their lower tendencies, a ready-made—and, even better, trendy—substitute for the “old” morality of religious squares and dead white guys.

Environmentalism is about many things.  But the well-being of Mother Earth and her inhabitants is not among them.

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Hailing from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Calvin Freiburger is a political science major at Hillsdale College.  He also blogs at the Hillsdale Forum and his personal website, Calvin Freiburger Online.