The sign at her feet read “For a nuclear free, carbon free future.” The one in her hands an equally predictable “Excessive wealth and consumption are dying paradigms. Renew American with a Green Revolution.”
Before her stood Alex Epstein, energy expert and frequent PJTV guest commentator. Noting the sign on the sidewalk, Epstein asked, “You’re opposed to nuclear power and [carbon dioxide] generating power?”
“Yes,” she answered.
“Do you know what percentage of power in the world those generate right now?”
“That’s not my concern. My concern is the people that are profiting off of power that is unsustainable….”
Calm among the hubbub of Zuccotti Park, Epstein endured a lengthy non-response, then answered the question for her.
“We’re talking about something that’s producing 95% of the power in the world,” he stated flatly. “This is the power that’s keeping people’s lights on. It’s keeping the food going. And you’re saying we ought to dismantle that somehow. And I’m saying, if that happens, the entire world as we know it will collapse.”
This is how Epstein and his cohort at the Center for Industrial Progress confront the menace of radical environmentalism. There is a difference between caring about the world we live in and elevating wilderness above human life. The former motivates industrious action, shaping the environment to promote a thriving human existence. The latter retards industry and reduces both the quality of life and the capacity to sustain it.
Tea Partiers concerned with limiting the influence of government in our lives have a tremendous resource in the Center for Industrial Progress. PJ Media sat down with Epstein to explore why.
PJ Media: What is your impression of the Tea Party movement?
Alex Epstein: I am inspired to see the rise of a prominent movement that succeeds by advocating limited government with moral confidence. I am trying to create a parallel movement of my own that embraces industrial progress as a moral ideal rather than something to feel “green guilt” over.
PJ Media: How does the work of the Center for Industrial Progress advance the Tea Party’s principles of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets?
Epstein: Industrial progress is the improvement of the human environment through increasing energy and industry. The number one prerequisite of industrial progress is political freedom of the type guaranteed by the Declaration and Constitution. All that is needed for rapid industrial progress is for the government to respect property rights universally; that would enable people to develop the best forms of energy and production without government interference, and to compete on a free market.
As for fiscal responsibility, nothing could be more fiscally responsible than the government having an industrial policy with no subsidies, mandates, handouts, or bailouts — just the protection of individual rights.