Monday, January 4, 2010

Aborting "CO2 Machines"

“But can we get away with it?” asked Wesley Mouch. His voice was high with anger and thin with fear.

It was Eugene Lawson who answered. “That’s not, it seems to me, the way to put it. We must not let vulgar difficulties obstruct our feeling that it’s a noble plan motivated solely by the public welfare. It’s for the good of the people.”

“It’s obvious that measures have to be taken. Drastic measures,” said James Taggart, speaking … to Wesley Mouch. “We can’t let things go the way they’re going much longer.” His voice was belligerent and shaky.

“Take it easy, Jim,” said Orren Boyle.

“Something’s got to be done and done fast!”

“Don’t look at me,” snapped Wesley Mouch. “I can’t help it. I can’t help it if people refuse to co-operate. I’m tied. I need wider powers.”

The above is a fictional account of a group of high-ranking government officials and prominent businessmen pondering a vast increase in government power over the people in response to a national economic emergency. The concrete particulars differ, but the same mindset is prevalent among today’s real government officials who gathered in Copenhagen, Denmark, for the recently concluded (and ultimately failed) Climate Conference.

The drive to put in place draconian worldwide carbon curbs through massive expansions of government controls over energy production, the lifeblood of our economic lives, has taken on an hysterical urgency. The sentiment that “Something’s got to be done and done fast!” is allegedly because of an impending climactic cataclysm. But the real cataclysm, for the Copenhagen gang, is that the entire global warming fraud is unraveling at an accelerating pace. It’s only a matter of time before public opinion catches up with the scientific facts.

That is because the emperor is naked, and always has been. Global warming, to the extent is has occurred in recent centuries, is mostly (if not entirely) a natural phenomenon. To the extent that human activity has contributed to climate change, it is a necessary and benevolent by-product of man’s productive activities … activities that have vastly improved the environment. Improved, that is, from the standpoint of human beings as a value. But that is not the way Environmentalist theorists and fundamentalists see it. Improvements in man’s living conditions (man’s environment) are not a value, according to them.

EPA stands for Environmental Protection Agency. The very name implies antagonism toward human needs, to put it mildly. “Protection” from what? From human exploitation of the world’s natural resources, which are said to have intrinsic value in their “natural” state. But man’s mode of survival, unique among Earth’s living species, is to transform nature’s elements to fit human needs and comfort. To the extent that the environment is “protected” by force from transformation by man, is the extent to which man’s ability to survive and flourish is harmed. This is the real, sinister purpose behind environmental protection. Since man is by nature a rational, productive being, there is only one way to protect the environment from human control. How? Control humans. Individual freedom is the social condition that unleashes people to exploit the environment and prosper. To stop that exploitation, freedom must be curtailed. There is no other way. Either men are free to control nature, or men control men.

This is what Copenhagen is all about. But regardless of what policies come out of Denmark, the US Environmental Protection Agency is way ahead of the curve. The “wider powers” Wesley Mouch demanded came in the form of Directive 10-289. The wider powers the EPA has acquired dwarfs the fictional Directive 10-289, and in fact exceeds that of the elected branches of government. Ayn Rand’s terrifying vision of America’s future under current trends is within sight.

Iain Murray and Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute reported on the EPA’s efforts to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) as a pollutant, based upon its determination “that global warming, allegedly caused by mankind's burning of fossil fuels, endangers public health.” This is an enormous power grab – so big, in fact, that it grants them “more power than even they think they can handle.” Murray and Lewis write:

“The EPA already holds massive power to stop energy projects. It has used its regulatory powers to hold up the construction of new coal, gas, nuclear and even renewable-power plants and electricity-transmission lines around the country.

“Yesterday's finding will much expand those powers. It will trigger a regulatory avalanche that vastly expand the number of activities that require EPA permitting

“The EPA recognizes the danger. It has issued a ‘tailoring rule’ that warns that if PSD and Title V are applied ‘literally’ to CO2 emissions, the permitting programs will crash under their own weight…

“Realizing that this would still produce a thunderous political backlash, the EPA wrote the ‘tailoring rule’ to limit its regulation of CO2…”

But once the power is embedded in a government agency, its exercise is a foregone conclusion. All it awaits is some future Wesley Mouch demanding, “I need wider powers”. They write:

“That is, the EPA is trying to acquire the extra powers from the endangerment finding, while avoiding the accompanying duty of regulating small businesses.” And the power derived from regulating CO2 as a pollutant is an awesome power at that, going much beyond the regulatory crippling of small business.

Physics Professor William Happer of Princeton University is an expert in the phenomenon underlying the entire global warming issue, the greenhouse effect. In the opening remarks of his illuminating congressional testimony in February 2009 (which is well worth reading in its entirety), Mr. Happer stated:

“I am not a climatologist, but I don’t think any of the other witnesses are either. I do work in the related field of atomic, molecular and optical physics. I have spent my professional life studying the interactions of visible and infrared radiation with gases – one of the main physical phenomena behind the greenhouse effect. I have published over 200 papers in peer reviewed scientific journals. I am a member of a number of professional organizations, including the American Physical Society and the National Academy of Sciences. I have done extensive consulting work for the US Government and Industry. I also served as the Director of Energy Research at the Department of Energy (DOE) from 1990 to 1993, where I supervised all of DOE’s work on climate change.”

Impressive credentials. Here is what he says about the regulation of CO2, as reported in a NJ Star-Ledger column by Paul Mulshine:

So why the emphasis on CO2?

Simple. "If you want to get rid of CO2, you want to get rid of people," he said.

We humans are CO2 machines. Every breath you exhale has more than 100 times the carbon dioxide of the air you inhaled. And almost everything you do generates CO2 in one way or another.

In Happer’s opinion, the carbon-control movement is really a population-control movement. He traces it back through the "Population Bomb" movement of the late 1960s all the way to the 18th-century writings of Thomas Malthus.

Other scientists have said the same, but Happer says it the loudest. He terms the IPCC crowd a "religious cult" and says, "Disagreeing with them is like going to Saudi Arabia and criticizing Muhammad." (Emphasis added.)

And here is a brief excerpt from Professor Happer’s testimony:

"Without greenhouse warming, the earth would be much too cold to sustain its current abundance of life. However, at least 90% of greenhouse warming is due to water vapor and clouds. Carbon dioxide is a bit player.

"I keep hearing about the 'pollutant CO2,' or about 'poisoning the atmosphere' with CO2, or about minimizing our 'carbon footprint.' This brings to mind another Orwellian pronouncement that is worth pondering: 'But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.' CO2 is not a pollutant and it is not a poison and we should not corrupt the English language by depriving 'pollutant' and 'poison' of their original meaning. Our exhaled breath contains about 4% CO2. That is 40,000 parts per million, or about 100 times the current atmospheric concentration. CO2 is absolutely essential for life on earth."
– From Princeton physics Professor William Happer's testimony to Congress on climate change from February of 2009, (emphasis added).

If carbon dioxide is a “bit player”, as this greenhouse effect expert says; if CO2 is not a pollutant or a poison…then why the panicky focus on it? CO2, after all, is life. It’s obvious, but let’s hear from the other side, anyway.

Jeff Scialabba, writing at Voices for Reason (Just say “no” to children?), says:

"Echoing the sentiments of Paul Ehrlich’s environmentalist manifesto, the 1968 bestseller The Population Bomb, British columnist Alex Renton of The Guardian writes, 'the worst thing that you or I can do for the planet is to have children. If they behave as the average person in the rich world does now, they will emit some 11 tonnes of CO2 every year of their lives. In their turn, they are likely to have more carbon-emitting children who will make an even bigger mess.' "

The “mess” that your children and their children’s children will make has nothing to do with industrial pollution, a by-product of our advanced technological, industrial society that can and is being alleviated by further technological advances. As philosopher Ayn Rand wrote in her devastating critique of the 1960s Ecology movement (the precursor to modern Environmentalism):

"Actual instances of local pollution and dirt…, city smog and filthy rivers are not good for men. [But] this is a scientific, technological problem. Even if smog were a risk to human life, we must remember that life in nature, without technology, is wholesale death." (Return of the Primitive, page 282-283, emphasis added)

The “mess” Mr. Renton decries is human life-promoting activity as such – i.e., taking the actions necessary to live. It is to promote nature untouched by human technology and industrialization …i.e., by human intelligence … that environmentalism is all about. The CO2 regulatory regime is the draconian authoritarian tool that will be the means to a nightmare end, if it continues on the path to full implementation. Mr. Scialabba continues:

"The New York Times’ Andrew Revkin says … 'probably the single most concrete and substantive thing an American, young American, could do to lower their carbon footprint is not turning off the light or driving a Prius, it’s having fewer kids, having fewer children.' "

“The only way to leave no ‘footprint’ would be to die”, is how Keith Lockitch more accurately puts it - or to not be born in the first place.

[For environmentalists], population control is a logical progression within the framework of the environmentalist ideology, which views “the planet” as an inherent good that must be “saved” from the plague of man…[and] neither Mr. Renton nor Mr. Revkin is at all shy in…suggesting that government force is necessary to achieve it.

Mr. Renton lauds China’s one-child policy as “the most successful governmental attempt to preserve the world’s resources so far.” Noting that China’s policy is too “draconian” for Western tastes, however, he offers this alternative: “Could children perhaps become part of an adult’s personal carbon allowance? Could you offer rewards: have one child only and you may fly to Florida once a year?” Mr. Revkin concludes “So should there be, eventually you get, should you get credit–if we’re going to become carbon-centric–for having a one-child family when you could have had two or three?”

Cap-and-trade for children? This is less draconian? (Emphasis added.)

Remember what China’s one-child policy has meant to millions of children over there, especially baby girls, where “female infants are often killed, aborted, or left to die so the family may have a boy”.

And it's not just children who are victims of China's one-child policy. Consider this from Medical News Today:

Although "no one supports forced abortion," coerced abortions and involuntary sterilizations "are commonplace in China" under the country's one-child policy, syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker writes in the Washington Post. The Chinese Communist Party "insists that abortions are voluntary" under the policy, but "electronic documentation recently smuggled out of the country tells a different story."

The evidence presented by ChinaAID and Women's Rights Without Frontiers included "tales of pregnant women essentially being hunted down and forced to submit to surgery or induced labor," Parker continues. Citing a conversation with Reggie Littlejohn, founder and president of WRWF, Parker writes that a woman who does not have a "birth permit" or has an "out of plan" pregnancy "has to surrender her unborn child to government enforcers, no matter what the stage of fetal development."

This is what Alex Renton calls “the most successful governmental attempt to preserve the world’s resources so far.” Preserve the world’s resources - for whom? For their own sake! To environmentalists, all of nature has intrinsic value, except human beings, who are expendable.

And the Left calls capitalism “inhumane”!

But that’s Communist China and this is America, you say? Then consider this:

• Women could be forced to abort their pregnancies, whether they wanted to or not;
• The population at large could be sterilized by infertility drugs intentionally put into the nation's drinking water or in food;
• Single mothers and teen mothers should have their babies seized from them against their will and given away to other couples to raise;
• People who "contribute to social deterioration" (i.e. undesirables) "can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility" -- in other words, be compelled to have abortions or be sterilized.
• A transnational "Planetary Regime" should assume control of the global economy and also dictate the most intimate details of Americans' lives -- using an armed international police force.

Those are the ideas once advocated by John Holdren, President Obama’s “Science Czar”. The White House and Holdren have distanced themselves from those positions, published three decades ago. But that doesn’t change the fact that those ideas were (and are) a matter of serious consideration in America and elsewhere, and are exactly what one would expect under a CO2 regulatory regime. There is, ultimately, no other alternative if “saving” the planet is one’s goal. Humans, remember, are “CO2 machines”. In a book he co-authored with The Population Bomb author Ehrlich, Holdren is quoted as saying:

To date, there has been no serious attempt in Western countries to use laws to control excessive population growth, although there exists ample authority under which population growth could be regulated. For example, under the United States Constitution, effective population-control programs could be enacted under the clauses that empower Congress to appropriate funds to provide for the general welfare and to regulate commerce, or under the equal-protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Such laws constitutionally could be very broad. Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society. Few today consider the situation in the United States serious enough to justify compulsion, however.

That was 32 years ago. Today, many “consider the situation in the United States (and the world) serious enough to justify compulsion”, and massive amounts of it. (The Constitution’s “General Welfare” and “Commerce” clauses bestow no such power upon the government, but they are just vague enough that – with the help of liberal courts – they have become the wedge for prying government away from constitutional constraints.)

And the ideas embraced by Holdren continue to percolate. Jonah Goldberg, covering the Copenhagen Climate Conference for the New York Post, writes:

“So consider instead Diane Francis, a ballyhooed Canadian pundit.

“In a recent Financial Post column, Francis wrote that the ' 'inconvenient truth' overhanging the UN's Copenhagen conference is not that the climate is warming or cooling, but that humans are overpopulating the world.'

“She insists that 'the only way to reverse the disastrous global birthrate' is to implement a 'planetary law, such as China's one-child policy.'

“Population control has always been at the heart of the progressive project, so it's no surprise that it's in fashion once again.”

Francis advocates a "planetary law, such as China's one-child policy." Holdren calls for a "Planetary Regime". Karl Marx called for a one-world communist utopia. Islamic totalitarianism strives for a global Islamic theocracy. You get the picture.

The power of ideas is inexorable. “The uncontested absurdities of today are the accepted slogans of tomorrow”, wrote Ayn Rand in the aforementioned essay. Today, the 1960s anti-industrial, anti-science Ecology crusade has spawned an all-powerful EPA. There is little immediate danger of the population-control measures discussed above being implemented. This country would not stand for them, yet. But the constant collectivist drumbeat of calls for service and sacrifice to the "community" (i.e., the state), coupled with predictions of impending environmental catastrophe despite the utter lack of any rational scientific basis, continues to germinate government power. Yesterday’s fringe Population Bomb rantings are today embedded in the highest levels of our government, Holdren’s repudiations to the contrary notwithstanding.

There is also a warning here for legal abortion foes. These two seemingly unrelated issues … environmentalism and abortion … are in fact tethered together by ideas, unifying principles, and universal truths … i.e., philosophy. The Environmentalists’ talk of forced abortions for population control and the Religious Right’s “pro-life” campaign to legally ban abortion involve the same fundamental issue – government control of a woman’s body … i.e., individual rights.

Thomas Jefferson famously said: “Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have…” Switch a few words and the same principle applies here: When you hand a government the power to compel a woman to bear a child, you hand it the power to compel a woman to abort her child. In either case, as Jefferson put it, “The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.” Most “pro-lifers” would be shocked to hear that by advocating a ban on abortion they could be condemning future women to forced abortions. But the carbon-control/population control ideologues provide the rational, the CO2 ruling the means, and the "pro-life" movement the legal precedent (if they are successful) for just such an outcome.

Environmentalism is not an anti-pollution movement. It’s not about cleaner industrialization. It is an anti-industrial movement. Which means, it is anti-man and anti-life. Complacency is a dangerous game, and brushing off the absurdities of environmentalist theoreticians as too far fetched for serious consideration is exactly what is paving their way. The kinds of powers governments are arrogating, and the kinds of people ascending the ladder of political power to claim those "wider powers", are real and dangerous.

The assault on America and freedom is coming at us from many directions today. The only way to repel this assault is through an uncompromising, “extremist” defense of individual rights – the moral right of each person to his own life, liberty, property (including his body), and pursuit of happiness.


Anonymous said...

Although I think that Thomas Jefferson would agree with the sentiments, I believe that Gerald Ford was the originator of the quote.

C. Andrew

Mike Zemack said...

C. Andrew;

You may be right, and I have no problem crediting President Ford with it because it's true.

Other sites credit Jefferson:

But it appears that you are correct. Thanks for pointing it out.