Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Sustainable Development of Fear

Steven Milloy at Junk Science.com links to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald about a new movie opening there in Australia that I would like to see played here in America.

"Mine Your Own Business, which opens this week, shows that the "powerful group telling the world's poor how to live, how to work, even how to think" are not the world leaders gathered in Melbourne. They're not even wealthy multinational corporations, but wealthy multinational environment groups such as Greenpeace.

"Upper-class Western environmentalists" are the greatest enemy of the world's poor, says the documentary's maker, self-described left-wing journalist Phelim McAleer, from Northern Ireland."

In part, I blame thousands of businessmen and otherwise wealthy people who have been donating large sums of money to Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) like Greenpeace, Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund and others under the illusion they are doing something good for nature which they wrongly understand to mean the environment.

Liberals have always been in favor of taking from the poor and giving to the rich, e.g. the Poletown and Kelo and other property takings under Emminent Domain. And now the massive Green movement to keep the poor poor. The NGOs are now frantically trying to keep remaining poor people right where they are not only because it is allegedly better for them but because it's better for the environment.


With the spread of capitalism and the lifting of millions out of absolute poverty, and the collapse of the left's ideal, socialism, they have lost the altar on which they had hoped to sacrifice capitalism and individualism, the poor, and have now erected a new altar, enviromentalism.

It is not the rich that will be sacrificed to the gods of the wilderness. (They will be collecting the sacrifices) Nor is it the poor. (They are already where the enviromentalists want them--close to nature.) The real target of ecologists is the middle class. It is their air conditioners, lawn mowers, cars, electric appliances and other technological devices that must go. In other words, it is man's self-made environment that must be sacrificed to a non man made one, which means a natural environment, which means that a man made environment is not natural, which means that man is not borne of nature (or his actions would be natural), which means man is unnatural, which means man doesn't belong in nature.

Whoever buys into these notions is toast, but why are people buying into them? One big reason is fear. Ayn Rand said it best is her essay "The Left: Old and New" in her book The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution:

"Hatred of reason leads to fear of reality; since fear has always been the intense motivational emotion of the leftists, it is fear that they have always used as their chief psychological tool of propaganda, apparently in the belief that it has as irresistible a power in the consciousness of others as in their own.
With the destruction of capitalism as their unalterable goal, they tried, at first, to engender economic fear--by spreading the notion that capitalism leads to general impoverishment and the concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands. This line was somewhat successful in Europe, but not in this country, where the factual evidence to the contrary was too obviously clear.
The next leftist line was fear of the atom bomb, accompanied by the suggestion that we should surrender to communism without a fight, in order to avoid universal destruction. Do you remember the slogan: "Better Red Than Dead"? This did not go over, either--not in this country, nor among any men or animals with a vestige of self-esteem.
If, after the failure of such accusations as: "Capitalism leads you to the poorhouse" and "Capitalism leads you to war," the New Left is left with nothing better than: "Capitalism defiles the beauty of your countryside," one may justifiably conclude that, as an intellectual power, the collectivist movement is through.
But the leftists may still have a chance--by default. A society cannot exist for long in an intellectual vacuum. Culturally, we are approaching the stage where anyone can take over, provided his doctrines are sufficiently irrational. A cultural vacuum produces its own varients of fishers in muddy waters--and, on such terms, whoever is the muddiest, wins."


The mud being flung at us today is "sustainable development" and the new fear is "Global Warming." But at the end of her essay, Ms. Rand urges her readers not to give up. I take this to mean that I will keep writing to my Reps in Congress and LTEs to the media and supporting ARI's efforts to get more rational professors into our colleges.

There are those who say that America won't last long enough for Objectivism to take hold. They might be right. But I am optimistic despite the fact that the pro-global warming Dems are about to take power. The Dems will support GW as long as doing so will get them re-elected. But to fully support GW the way the NGOs want, citizens will have to suffer. So the Dems will have to settle for doing their GW duties slowly, piecemeal and that will take time.

The NGOs should be reined in but I don't see that happening anytime soon. No sitting Senator is going to introduce any legislation to restrict the power of NGOs to use the courts as a hammer to get what they want. It would be the kiss of death. The only way that will happen is if someone campaigns on such a promise and then gets elected. But it would take more than just one such person. In the meantime, I for one am going to keep challenging bad ideas and promoting good ones by speaking out, writing and blogging.

(The above mentioned essay can be found in the revised edition called Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution for sale here.)

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