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.
PJ Media: How would you advise Tea Partiers and activists of like mind seeking to increase their literacy on energy policy and environmental issues?
Epstein: I would say first and foremost increase your literacy on industrial and environmental philosophy. Most of the political decision-making about energy and industry today is not based on economics or science, but rather bad philosophical ideas about our proper relationship to our environment. In every policy debate, there is a dogmatic obsession with only the negative impacts or possible impacts human beings can have (for example, an oil spill) and a dogmatic ignorance of the radically positive impact that, for example, coal, oil, natural gas, etc. have had on the human environment over the past two centuries. What that points to is that there is a deep-seated belief in our culture that there is something inherently wrong with the human project of transforming nature.
The best book to set yourself straight on this issue is — believe it or not — Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, even though it’s not thought of as having much to say about environmental issues. In fact, the whole book is a tribute to industrial progress.
There are a lot of other great resources, and many of them are available at CIP’s website, www.industrialprogress.net.
PJ Media: Of the current slate of Republican presidential candidates, are there any who you are hopeful would prioritize the Center’s policy prescriptions?
Epstein: I haven’t noticed anyone in particular, but I think many of them are open to positive influence if there is popular support for the right ideas and policies. For example, take the Keystone XL controversy right now, which Obama is going to rule on [and has since this interview]. Leaving aside the fact that the legality of a pipeline should be decided by clear laws based on individual rights, not the whims of the executive branch, what we need is a big movement that regards oil-production as good–because it is completely indispensable to human life. It’s a shame that right now the leading activists on Keystone are a bunch of ignorant celebrities who regard oil, the lifeblood of industrial civilization, as “dirty energy” that can be “replaced” with radically inferior “green” sources just as you switch out a lightbulb. They should be put in their place by a group of educated, passionate activists who are proud that we choose to use the best, cheapest portable fuel to fuel our lives.
As you might be able to tell, this is an issue I’m passionate about, and if anyone wants to join me on the Keystone issue email me at [email protected]
It could be said that industrial progress is the goal for which the Tea Party ultimately fights. Fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets are means to this end. The moral imperative is ensuring the capacity to act productively, guided by our own judgment, to shape our environment in pursuit of happiness.
If at any given time in our nation’s history the American people had embraced a philosophy as retarding as that espoused by the green movement, our progress would have halted. Indeed, that’s what’s happening now. The cheapest, most efficient means of production is no longer our national standard. Those hardest hit are the poorest of the poor who depend upon cheap, bountiful energy to both sustain their lives and facilitate their upward mobility.
For this reason, the green movement is not just wrong, but evil. It is anti-life, inherently regressive, and worth opposing with all our political might. Gird yourself with the intellectual ammo available from Epstein’s Center for Industrial Progress.
Check out Walter’s previous PJ Tea Party articles:
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