Bow Down Before the New Polar Bear Gods
Conn Carroll /
Commenting on the Interior Department’s decision to list the polar bear as threatened pursuant to the Endangered Species Act George Will writes:
No one can anticipate or control the implications that judges might discover in the polar bear designation. Give litigious environmentalists a compliant judge, and the Endangered Species Act might become what New Dealers wanted the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 to be — authority to regulate almost everything.
What Friedrich Hayek called the “fatal conceit” — the idea that government can know the future’s possibilities and can and should control the future’s unfolding — is the left’s agenda. The left exists to enlarge the state’s supervision of life, narrowing individual choices in the name of collective goods. Hence the left’s hostility to markets. And to automobiles — people going wherever they want whenever they want.
Today’s “green left” is the old “red left” revised. Marx, a short-term pessimist but a long-term optimist, prophesied deepening class conflict but thought that history’s violent dialectic would culminate in a revolution that would usher in material abundance and such spontaneous cooperation that the state would wither away.
Reviewing two new books on global warming renowned theoretical physicist Professor Freeman Dyson adds:
Environmentalism has replaced socialism as the leading secular religion. … Unfortunately, some members of the environmental movement have also adopted as an article of faith the belief that global warming is the greatest threat to the ecology of our planet. That is one reason why the arguments about global warming have become bitter and passionate. Much of the public has come to believe that anyone who is skeptical about the dangers of global warming is an enemy of the environment. The skeptics now have the difficult task of convincing the public that the opposite is true. Many of the skeptics are passionate environmentalists. They are horrified to see the obsession with global warming distracting public attention from what they see as more serious and more immediate dangers to the planet, including problems of nuclear weaponry, environmental degradation, and social injustice. Whether they turn out to be right or wrong, their arguments on these issues deserve to be heard.
One of these new church of environmentalism heretics, Bjorn Lomborg, writes in the Wall Street Journal today:
The pain caused by the global food crisis has led many people to belatedly realize that we have prioritized growing crops to feed cars instead of people. That is only a small part of the real problem.
This crisis demonstrates what happens when we focus doggedly on one specific – and inefficient – solution to one particular global challenge. A reduction in carbon emissions has become an end in itself. The fortune spent on this exercise could achieve an astounding amount of good in areas that we hear a lot less about.
The global food crisis has sadly underlined the danger of continuing on our current path of fixating on poor solutions to high-profile problems instead of focusing on the best investments we could make to help the planet.