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Roger L. Simon

Environmentalism: the new home of the Luddite reactionaries

April 1st, 2010 - 1:58 pm

Marx was right about a (very) few things, but one of those was his oft-quoted gloss on Hegel about history repeating itself “the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”

And speaking of repeating farces, the anthropogenic global warming movement is reaching maybe its hundredth sold-out, standing room only comedic spectacular with the latest news that the purportedly disappearing arctic sea ice is back to “normal” levels after less than a decade. Next the over-breeding polar bears will be invading our cities. Attention Don Siegel, wherever you are. Meanwhile, it seems the Germans, of all people, have had enough of this farce and are closing their Global Warming Theater. (Well, I always preferred Schiller.)

But that doesn’t seem to have disturbed our President who appears to be moving full speed ahead with some form of cap-and-trade legislation – although he is playing both sides against the middle by simultaneously allowing off-shore oil drilling in certain areas.

And this is where the Luddite reactionaries of my title come in. According to the New York Times: While the oil industry, business groups and some Republicans offered muted support for the proposal, most environmental groups denounced it. And the senators whose support Mr. Obama is courting for highly contentious climate and energy legislation to be introduced in the coming weeks gave decidedly mixed reactions: For every senator who praised it as at least a partial answer to the nation’s energy needs, another raised alarms about befouled beaches and continued dependence on fossil fuels.

Befouled beaches and dependence on fossil fuels? They forgot about the polar bears. Oh, well. If there’s one thing that the the AGW debate has shown us it is that our politicians are about as qualified to rule on matters scientific as I am to compete in the pole vault in the 2012 Olympics. Maybe worse, because at least I know what a pole vault is. Imagine asking Barbara Boxer to define the second law of thermodynamics! [Stop picking on her.-ed. Okay.]

But this too is of little importance because the cap-and-trade legislation isn’t about science; it’s about money and control. Anyone the slightest bit interested in science would laugh the whole thing off in twelve seconds. Indeed, the entire environmental movement is verging on becoming an enemy of science itself. But before I go further, let me make clear WE ARE ALL ENVIRONMENTALISTS. And, yes, I’ve broken the unwritten Internet rule and put that in caps because, ironically, it’s very obviousness tells me it has to be emphasized. We all like clean air and water, okay?

However, even a quick perusal of the NYT story linked above shows us how little scientific judgment relates to the environmental decisions being made by our senators and other supposedly-concerned groups. It’s all about the same greedy local interests mixed with the self-interest of NGOs whose vested interest is in the Luddite status quo ante. There is no acknowledgement that there has been an advance in oil drilling technology in the more than forty years since the Santa Barbara spill, nor that these installations will be so far off shore as to be below the horizon while standing on our pristine beaches. And forget complexities such as wind power being more polluting even than fossil fuels. As I said, this is not about the environment. It’s about money and control. Like the health care legislation.

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