Is Green Really Red?

Posted on Sat 01/17/2009 by


20090115_browner_climate_czarRED, GREEN AND BROWNER

William R. Hawkins

TonyfromOz prefaces …..

This may look like it’s pretty dry reading, but what is being said here is really important. Take the time to read and digest just what is being said, and then add two and two together.

Conservative pundits and talk radio hosts have had a field day citing Carol Browner’s ties to the Commission for a Sustainable World Society, which is part of the Socialist International. Browner, who headed the Environmental Protection Agency under President Bill Clinton, has been named by Barack Obama to be his Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change (or “Climate Czar”). This new and undefined office could give her broad influence over economic policy. The San Francisco Chronicle reported January 14th that “some on Capitol Hill predict that energy policy will be driven not by [Energy Secretary-Designate Steven] Chu, but by Carol Browner.”

In its coverage of Browner, the American Spectator was correct to note, “There’s a tendency of conservatives to carelessly toss about the ‘S’ word.” Indeed, the term “socialism” was so overused (and misused) n the last days of the presidential campaign, and during the debate on rescuing the banks and auto industry, that it may have lost all credence with the public.

But in the case of Browner, it is accurate, and the ideology is dangerous because it now hides behind the environmental movement it created decades ago.

Where there is Green, there is Red. The environmental movement was an offshoot of the New Left. The first Earth Day was held in the United States on April 22, 1970, the idea having been conceived the previous September at a conference in Seattle, Washington. 1969 was also the year that San Francisco made the first Earth Day Proclamation. The New Left is associated in the public mind mainly with the antiwar movement, which hit its peak in 1970 with campus riots against the U.S. raids into communist base camps in Cambodia. The desire to see the United States lose in Vietnam and retreat from world affairs in disgrace was only part of the larger vision of a completely transformed American society. A radically new kind of society was advocated that would abandon the culture of growth and affluence which underpinned an “imperialist” foreign policy.

In 1973 appeared E. F. Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered which quickly became required reading on the Left. Schumacher argued “The optimal pattern of consumption, producing a high degree of human satisfaction by means of a relatively low rate of consumption, allows people to live without great pressure and strain….people satisfying their needs by means of a modest means of a modest use of resources are obviously less likely to be at each other’s throats than people depending on a high rate of use.”

A survey of the new “radical political economics” appeared in 1974 in the left-wing Journal of Economic Issues, which was itself only founded in 1967. Authors Raymond S. Franklin and William K. Tabb wrote, “Radical economists go beyond mere modification of the growth preoccupation; they see further growth of the kind that presently characterizes U.S. society as detrimental to the well-being of the American people.” The antipathy to growth predates any theory about climate change, rather, environmental issues were conjured up to serve the ideological program of the Left.

The Green movement was necessary to solve the problem that socialism could not, expanding output to raise living standards. Capitalism is an unmatched engine of growth. The commercial and industrial revolutions it powered built the Western world and gave it the global dominance the hatred of which has become the central organizing tenet of the Left. Socialist central planning and state enterprises have never been able to outperform the system of private production for profit. And most serious socialist thinkers know this. The idea has always been for the socialists to seize control of an already developed capitalist economy and then simply redistribute the wealth it had created in a more “equitable” manner. Creating new wealth after the revolution was known to be problematic.

It was assumed by Karl Marx and his successors that the first socialist revolution would occur in Germany, the most advanced European economy with the most wealth to spread around. When the revolution came in relatively backward Russia, Vladimir Lenin attempted his New Economic Policy to allow private growth to take place until it reached a point where the socialists could intervene. As Lenin said when he announced the NEP in 1921, “highly developed capitalist countries where wage-workers in industry and agriculture make up the vast majority….Only in countries where this class is sufficiently developed is it possible to pass directly from capitalism to socialism.” Neither Lenin nor Josef Stalin was able to build an advanced economy on a par with the rival capitalist states. And despite Nikita Khrushchev’s claim that socialism would “bury” capitalism, the American Cold War containment strategy was based on the inherent inability of socialism to prosper. The Soviet Union cracked when it was unable to muster the resources needed to meet the challenge posed by President Ronald Reagan.

But what if a socialist economy did not need to grow? What if the basic economic problem, how to meet the insatiable wants of the public for an ever higher standard of living, could be tossed aside? This would be the concept of Full Communism laid out by Professor Emeritus P. J. D. Wiles of the University of London in the Marxian Economics volume of the New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics (1990). Under Full Communism, “productivity is higher than wants and everyone can help himself in the warehouses (not shops!).” This perfect state is “only possible because wants have been reduced to needs.” It is not output that has grown, but desires that have been scaled back. State authority “must be conducting the propaganda that persuades people to internalize the new value system.”

For 40 years, the Left has been propagandizing the public to do without, but without success. The history of humanity has been the pursuit of a better life, which does not mean shivering in the winter when one can turn up the heat, or walking when one can ride (or fly). So where the joys of the simple life fail to persuade, the wrath of the gods will be summoned. First, it was the “limits to growth.” There simply wasn’t enough to go around, the planet had a set “carrying capacity.” Since growth was impossible, redistribution of what was available called forth socialism. Technological advances tossed the idea of limits out the window. Perhaps not all wants can be satisfied for all people, but clearly more can be done to advance civilization and improve the lives of billions. Growth is still possible and its fruits highly desirable.

So the socialists had to up the stakes. Further growth would kill us all, they proclaimed. The resources might be available, but to exploit them would destroy the planet. Already, we have come too far. Global warming (or now climate change, since the latest warming phase may be waning) makes growth undesirable, and if there is to be no more growth, what is allowed to be produced must be rationed by socialist planners on an equitable basis. This is the practical meaning of sustainable.

Green is essential to Red. Environmentalism will be pushed regardless of the state of scientific knowledge because socialism requires it. It is a sin not to believe that Nature commands limits on human civilization, justifying enforcement by socialist vicars.

Browner’s appointment to the presidential staff does not require Senate confirmation. It is a reward to the far Left who backed Obama in the primaries. Yet, the new president must know that the public expects him to pull the country out of the recession and return to a path of economic growth. If he fails to revive the economy, he will not be re-elected.

Yet, the worst economic downturn since the 1930s would only be a down payment on the reduction in living standards the Greens would impose on America to reach their goal of rationed scarcity and a global redistribution of wealth. Browner as Climate Czar can be expected to threaten floods, storms and pestilence as holy vengeance against America’s love of progress and innovation. But this is one secular “church” that really does need to be separated from the state, as its dogma is horribly false.

TonyfromOz adds …..

This is what is really scary. The environmental debate is now being hijacked for an entirely different agenda. Even those who fervently believe misleading statistics from the dud Science are having their beliefs reinforced for all the wrong reasons. People are being put in place in specific areas to run an entirely different agenda, appealing to what their followers want to hear from them, giving the impression that they are doing something, when all along, the real reason bubbles along unseen, under the surface, until it is too late. I feel sure there are people who will say I am being alarmist, but like I have been saying all along.

This has nothing to do with the Environment. Contributing Editor William R. Hawkins is a consultant specializing in defense and trade issues.