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Review: Sagebrush Rebel - Reagan's Revolution Against Radical Environmentalists


The fruits of Obama’s policies are the same as they were in the late 1970s: high gasoline prices, high fuel prices, diversion of agricultural commodities to inefficient bio-fuel production resulting in high food prices, reduced energy production and a stagnant economy. Obama has added to Carter’s economically illiterate energy policy by wasting billions of dollars in failed solar and wind subsidies.

In the 1980 campaign, Reagan vowed to end the madness:

He depicted a stark contrast between his vision of the future and that of President Carter.... He made common cause with Westerners who were fed up with an arrogant environmental movement that was entrenched in positions of power in San Francisco, New York and especially in Washington.

After he was elected, Reagan was given suggestions prepared by establishment Nixon and Ford advisors who “urged the new President to ‘maintain the momentum of environmental protection.’” Reagan ignored them.

Pendley details what Reagan did instead: he increased oil and gas leasing including on the outer continental shelf and federal lands, unleashed coal mining, and freed American ingenuity to drive down the price of energy:

Reagan deprived these extremists of the aura of inevitability, invincibility and infallibility with which they had been cloaked for almost two decades. Reagan denied them their moral high ground. When they said they spoke for the planet and the needs of all living things not human, he responded that he spoke for the dream of the American people and unborn generations to be free and prosperous.

The future of freedom was also in play. And Reagan knew that a nation which develops abundant energy resources is a nation which prospers. Governments which impair energy production and instead use command economy solutions to prop up inefficiencies will suffer from high energy costs and higher unemployment.