How Marxism Killed Keystone

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The global warming apocalypse and its Elmer Gantry, Al Gore, may have faded from public view lately, but that old-time green religion is still making mischief. President Obama has just delayed until after November’s election a decision on the Canadian Keystone XL pipeline. This truly shovel-ready project would create thousands of blue-collar jobs, help hold down the price of gasoline, and lessen our dependence on oil imported from thugs like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.

The administration’s excuses for this move are preposterous.  The State Department sniffed that it needs more time “to determine whether the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest” and, as Obama said in his announcement, can “protect the American people.” But three years, nine public meetings, and reams of reports have already shown that the pipeline’s alleged dangers to the Ogallala aquifer, or the malign effects of “dirty” crude oil, or the threat to endangered species, are specious pretexts. Like his slow-down of oil drilling permits and reduction of oil production on federal lands––down 40% compared to ten years ago––Obama’s decision is in fact both political and ideological, a mollifying bone tossed to the bicoastal progressive elites on whom Obama depends for campaign contributions and political support.

For these affluent urban-dwellers, the cult of environmentalism is a cheap way to indulge a vaguely leftist dislike of industrial capitalism while enjoying all the benefits that a high-tech, oil-fueled, free-market economy confers on them. Like the “telescopic philanthropy,” to use Charles Dickens’ label, directed at distant ghetto-dwellers or the Third World poor, the urban nature-lover conspicuously displays his concern over a natural world under assault by capitalism’s depravities. But he does so only from within a cocoon of technology that assures him a reliable, safe supply of food, freeing him from the drudgery of wresting sustenance from a hostile natural world; and that protects him from the disease, drought, famine, predators, malnutrition, and the other natural evils afflicting our ancestors and those living in the Third World today.

Equally hypocritical is the Marxist agenda lurking in environmentalism, which blames the degradation of the environment on the same free market capitalism and economic globalization that have created blue-state wealth. Given communism’s abject failure as an economic and social system, contemporary Marxism has insinuated itself into environmentalism as a way of wielding influence and recruiting adherents from among those dissatisfied with modern life and the trade-offs required by a free economy and its creative destruction. Issues such as pollution or species extinction are thus explained as the consequences of an evil capitalist empire that oppresses the international proletariat and the natural world alike. That’s why at most protests against the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank or Wall Street, the hammer and sickle can be seen flying beside the banners of Greenpeace. Forgotten, of course, is the fact that communist regimes like the old Soviet Union and today’s China are some of history’s worst polluters.

What gives this strange Marxist nature-love wider political traction, however, is the patina of science that disguises its mythic origins. Sentimental idealizations of nature as our true home, a superior realm of peace, harmony, freedom and simplicity destroyed by civilization and technology, are as old as the Greeks and their myths of the Golden Age and the Noble Savage. But today’s modern environmentalist cloaks these ancient myths in the robes of science. Overpopulation, pesticide pollution, resource depletion, extermination of species, and of course global warming have all over the years been presented as scientifically established facts that show the destructive consequences of modern capitalism. But in each case, the apocalyptic predictions have all ended in a whimper, and the science supposedly supporting them exposed as partial, incomplete, politically motivated, and riddled with unexamined assumptions and at times outright fakery. Nonetheless, politicized nature-love camouflaged with “science” permeates popular culture and our public schools, where kids are taught lies about drowning polar bears and melting ice caps, the quasi-pagan cult celebration Earth Day is solemnly celebrated, carbon-based fuels are demonized, and driving a Prius is a sacrament.

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  • randy

    This oil is for the world market!

    • FriendofGaryCooper

      If America is so bad, then leave.

    • ebonystone

      Actually this oil (i.e. the oil to be shipped through the pipeline) was for the American market.. But it belongs to the companies who found and produced it. If the Americans prefer to buy oil from Persian Gulf jihad sponsors and Venezuelan thugs, then so be it. The companies should be free to sell their product to whomever is willing to pay for it. If that turns out to be China rather than the U.S., then tough.

    • UCSPanther

      Funny. I thought you would be against Canadian oil, since my country was also allegedly founded on displacing Natives.

    • intrcptr2

      World market? Since when is China the world?

  • Alexander Gofen

    Here must be much more into it than mere pandering to the "green faith" co-religionists. There must be something far more tangible than a matter of "faith"…

    Stopping or delaying the fresh oil supply to our oil hungry nation – from the neighboring friendly nation! – is an act of treason. The impostor wanted to give more time and more profits to businesses which capitalize on the green hysteria and the hype about the solar and wind energy; and to give more good time for islamic oil suppliers. It was just placating his cronies and islamic owners.

    I have witnessed it myself how a big owner of multiple subsidized apartment buildings had decided to replace still good double-glass windows (in near new buildings!) with the so called energy efficient Simonton Windows: in a very mild climate of CA. (The replacement takes a huge labor involving removal of the stucco, but we must assume the money is readily available for such a "good cause" like this. Just one example…

    • Stephen_Brady

      Alexander, it really says something about whom has more influence on this president, doesn't it? While the SEIU purple shirts are marching en masse for Obama, he betrays them and sides with the real power, the enviros.

  • JimmyB

    Looks like modern day McCarthyism to me.

    • Alexander Gofen

      McCarthyism was good yet alas, too little, and perhaps too late:

    • Joey

      That's what Marxists always say when the light is shone on them.

    • Crossbow87

      How do I know when a socialist/marxist/maoist/greenie is losing a fact based argument? They call others "racist" or use the term McCarthyism.

  • Alex Kovnat

    I must admit, I'm emotionally and intellectually conflicted about the Keystone pipeline. On the one hand, if buildup of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere is so great a problem as to justify 50+ miles per gallon CAFE, the last thing we should want is for motor fuel to be cheap. In other words, why demand 50 MPG to save the world from CO2, and then kill natural financial incentives to reduce fossil fuel usage by making said fuels less expensive?

    On the other hand if the real issue driving draconian fuel economy demands is that we don't like mass petroleum importation from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Libya, et cetera, than the Keystone pipeline would eminently make sense.

    • spinoneone

      Unfortunately, Alex, we do NOT know exactly what the rate of heat increase in the atmosphere may be nor the rate of that increase. We do NOT know what part of the "observed" increase is due to the sun and other natural causes [remember we are at the tail end of the last ice age so some natural heating of the planet must be assumed] and what part may be cause by the activities of man. We do know that some of the "science" and "data" used to support the concept of "anthropogenic global warming" is composed of some parts of sham, poor data and political posturing. We also know that if we reduce the CO2 contribution of Europe and North America to "global warming" that the impact will be minimal so long as China, India, Indonesia, and the rest of the developing world do not make drastic cuts in their carbon emissions.

      Rerouting Keystone XL to avoid the Ogallala aquifer will resolve that "environmental" concern but will do nothing to pacify the Gaia faith crowd.

      • Joey

        The Ogallala was simply an excuse for the ecofascists to hang their hat on.

        There are a great many pipelines already crossing the aquifer and they are not built anywhere near the standards as Keystone.

    • Rebel

      Hey real misthinker! This oil's burning product: CO2 will go to the environment anyway if not here then somewhere else because the world athmosphere is one unit. By the way CO2 is great, without it no life exist; it feeds life. You do not have to save the world from carbon dioxide the world should be saved from fake liers so called "scientists" in East Anglia U. and their marxist supporters in the UN and other governments. Your pompous intellectually,conflicted mind needs some biology and chemistry education other then marxism infected ones. Have a great day.

      • intrcptr2

        There is that niggling little fact that America's infrstructure is leaps ahead on efficiency, which means that the Chinese will burn through the oil faster, and with much higher levels of externalities, most of which will float out over Korea, japan, and Taiwan.

    • Eric G

      Global warming is a way to stave off the next ice age. Global cooling would kill far more people than global warming. The solar Maunder Minimum and associated Little Ice Age (~1550-1850) killed thousands of Europeans and North Americans prematurely from massive crop failures. By some estimates, 10% of French and 30% of Finns died due to famines in the late 1600s.

  • Spider

    Isn't it funny how "progressives" are always against progress. Building anything that could create jobs and lower energy cost (which in turn makes our manufacturing sector more competitive) is somehow an evil corporatist plot. I guess what they call progress is tens of milions of people in unemployment lines, on food stamps, in section 8 housing, selligng drugs or making porno for a living, housing foreclosures snd lost saving and retirements. Now there is real progress!

    • fiddler

      Ahh you have just uncovered the ruse! It is their ideology they care about most. Really, what would these people do with themselves if they had nothing to protest? They NURSE it, because they need it.

  • Tony

    It's simple, BHO would rather see US dollars going to his pals, the Muslim Brotherhood, than to either Canada or US companies. Of course his buddy Soro is making out also since BHO has funneled BILLIONS to the Soro oil companies in Brazil. And now all that oil from Canada and Brazil is going to the commies in China.

  • hungry4food4u

    FINANCIAL TYRANNY: Defeating the Greatest Cover-Up of All Time
    S&P PLAN to Destroy the US Dollar

  • mrbean

    I would not hire Barack Obama as an assistant crap shoveler in the stinkiesta razor back hog factory farm in the backwoods of Arkansas, and… I would not hire Hillary Clinton as an assistant charwoman on the midnite shift to clean the men's urinals in the old Immigration holding favility in the baddest part of El Paso just across the border from Juarez.

    • DMW

      Gee, that sounds like you Mr. John Bean

      • mrbean

        I know you have the tingle down your leg for Obama and the hots for Hillary as your favorite dominatreaux. Ohhhhh I hear you….thank you Ms Hillary may I have another! heh heh heh

  • DMW

    Yesterday I watched on NBC "Sports" a one hour program about the most recent International Auto Show in Detroit. From what they said, only 2% of the current market consists of hybrid and electric vehicle purchases and that internal combustion powered vehicles will be around for a long long time. So, many "green" models out there but hardly anybody's buying them (plus no plug-in infrastructure). Also touted was that we can expect quantum increases in miles per gallon very soon — 50 mpg will be common and we'll see up to 100 mpg shortly. The NBC commentators also reported that car sales are up over last year and more units are being manufactured and sold. What I found interested was two things. First, GM ("Government Motors") seemed to have the most new and concept cars promoting "green" cars (so we have "green" NBC promoting "green" GM). Second, I had to ask myself, "If there's an increase in sales, who's got the money to buy them? AND "Who will have the money to both buy (from a jobs perspective) and operate them if gas prices keep going up?" (which will offset gains in miles per gallon or higher utility costs).

    • fiddler

      Perhaps it is part of the Cloward-Piven mentality to further break the economy. The basic administration's policy is "Who can I blame NOW???"

    • FedUp

      I also heard today that dealers are cutting back on orders for the Chevy Volt. People just aren't buying it. Too expensive in spite of the subsidies. Batteries faulty. Just another government boondoggle wasting resources that could be better used elsewhere.

  • UCSPanther

    Thanks, Obama. You just condemned America to higher prices at the pump.

    Try explaining that to voters next election around.

    • FedUp

      I'll be ignored just like all other government interventions. Instead, the blame will go on the rich and capitalism, as usual. The beat goes on…..

  • oldtimer

    How about all the birds and other animals killed daily by the windmill farms. They are also hideous and detract from the natural beauty of the landscape..They are ugly and dangerous, daily and proven. At least the pipelines can be built to blend in, and if properly maintained, are not a daily danger to wildlife and will help us get our energy independence back and supply much needed jobs.

    • kasandra

      These people (i.e., the political left) aren't really concerned about the environmental impact of the Keystone Pipleline since there will be little or none. It's just a camouflage for their continuing effort to "cut the U.S. down to size" by making it weaker, less productive and by reducing its standard of living. For decades their mantra has been that we're too rich and consume too high a proportion of the earth's resources and this is how they intend to rectify it. If they were honest about their real aims, however, they'd have no public support so they cloak it in terms of "environmentalism", "fairness", etc.

  • mrbean

    It is just pure Marxist watermelon politics; green on the outside and red on the inside. Should you and I have expected anything different when Americans elected a Marxist Alinskyite as President who along with his appointed czars is attempting to deliberately ruin the American economy and to diminish America internationally? Read his book, or rather the book Bil Ayers wrotefor him.

  • James R. Fencil

    My compliments professor Thornton on an especially insightful intertwining of the Obama anti-America agenda with the environmentalists' fantasies. Others of your recent articles have been among the finest extant in the current internet discourse. The pleasure is all ours.

  • burkasrugly

    Obama hates America. He doesn't know what the heck he is doing. Dick Morris has a petition on his website to encourage legislators to challenge Obama on this and override his veto. You can find it here;

  • Jon Clark

    Barry Hussein Soetoro, a radical marxist/muslim, is leader of the hate-America movement. He want USA to become a third wolrd arm pit, like his native Kenya.

  • Oleg

    Obama's approval or veto over Keystone XL only effects where the pipeline can cross the U.S/Canada Border, everything else is state jurisdiction and all of the states along the route approve ofthe pipeline. So here's what they can do, build the pipeline both North and South of the 49th parallel but leave a section out where it actually crosses the border, then when Barry leaves office next January, Mit, Newt, or Rick can give final approval and they can finish it.

  • Oleg

    Speaking of the ecomarxists the president of the Sierra Club of Canada was on Sun News two weeks ago. He compared oil to heroine and argued that it was more distructive and killed more people. When asked about China's polution he pretty much excused whatever they were doing by citing their investments in green energy (heard that one before) and claimed that it was all right because they were "Just catching up with the rest of the world". Excuse me, ten of the world's most poluted cities are in China, and I mean real water, soil, and air polution that can kill you, not the CO2 emission B.S or farm dust. Such is the level of stupidity and intelectual dishonesty of the environmentalist left, the Chicoms allow them to fundraise over there so these groups turn a blind eye to the toxic cesspools in China while they continue to attact industry in the U.S and Canada.