Linda Stamato, Co-Director of an outfit called the Center for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at Rutgers University, penned an op-ed in the New Jersey Star-Ledger titled The Climate March could be the Occupy Movement’s most noble progeny. These are her opening paragraphs:
Given the growing challenges to life on this planet and the concomitant need for policy change and political courage – notably from climate change deniers, whether they are governed by profit or political cowardice -- one yearns for leadership.
It’s wanting. But is it in demand? Do we have what it takes to face the challenges of climate change seriously?
The answer may arrive at the People’s Climate March in New York City Sunday morning, when we learn whether we are ready to move beyond willful ignorance, politics, and corporate resistance.
Stamato’s piece is classic. She discounts her opponents’ viewpoints without even bothering to cite and refute them. If you disagree with the Statists’ assertions on climate change science and related political agenda, you’re a “holocaust” . . ., excuse me, a “climate change denier,” a coward, just plain ignorant, or corrupted by base motives, like profit-seeking.
The piece takes the form of citing a panoply of supposed experts on the climate change “crisis”, and a series of questions—11 in all. Why the questions? Because the public simply isn’t taking the catastrophe claims seriously. Stamato cites a Pew Research Center poll, which “found that 67 percent of Americans believe that global warming is real, but it ranks 19th on a list of 20 issues that they think should occupy the minds of Congress and the president.”
The public’s ho-hum attitude probably explains the increasingly shrill predictions by “consensus” experts of global climate catastrophe, complete even with predictions of “global instability and conflict.” Cry wolf long enough, and people tune out the cry. So let me pose a question of my own: Are Americans coming around to the realization that the predictions of catastrophe are simply not credible?
This doesn’t mean that we’re not vulnerable to the statists’ political agenda. The Peoples Climate March may succeed in “changing public perceptions” enough for Americans to give the statists the benefit of the doubt on some of their policy prescriptions. This could open the door to the climate change statists’ real, underlying agenda. Remember how far along the road to socialism America has come in the last 100 years, even though Americans never voted for socialism, and rejected it whenever it was overtly offered. The Socialist Party USA has never gained any political traction, yet its “Democratic Socialism” agenda gets ever closer to reality.
Stamato continues in that tradition. Stamato sneaks in a stealth call for another big step toward Socialist Party USA’s goal, without calling it socialism.
In my comments, I zeroed in on these questions:
Is climate change a sufficiently challenging concern? To paraphrase Pogo: Is the enemy not them, but us? Do we not have a profound obligation to the next generation, and the next? Are natural resources not a public trust? Can we breathe life into this necessary cause?
This is a tacit admission that climate change is nothing more than a vehicle for statism.
“Are natural resources not a public trust?”
What are “natural resources”? They are raw materials that, through active human minds, are transformed into usable ingredients for life-enhancing material products. The foundation and source of natural resources is the individual reasoning human mind, which guides physical labor into productive work.
What is “the public”? The public is made up of individual human beings, each of whom possess a reasoning mind. There is no public mind. Only individual human beings think, discover knowledge, judge, act, and productively work and trade. The “public” can do none of this: it is an abstraction denoting actual human individuals. The term “public trust” means, in practice, government trust; which means, government control. Control of what? Of individuals. Sound familiar? When someone calls for “natural resources” to be placed into a “public trust”, they call for government control of the means of production—which means, of human beings’ productive activities. Haven’t we learned from the 20th Century?
Since man’s mind—the ultimate “natural resource”—is an individual, not social, attribute, the social requirements for human well-being is individual liberty and government protection of individual rights, including the right to produce, trade, and keep the product of his labor. If government controls “natural resources,” government controls human beings, the opposite of liberty. Environmentalism in all of its manifestations, including the current Climate Change March, is really a means to “breathe life” into an ancient evil: It is a reincarnation of political tyranny.
“Do we not have a profound obligation to the next generation, and the next?”
What we owe future generations is to reject any “public trust” of natural resources. The best we can do for future generations is to bequeath to them a free society.
Thankfully, there were no environmentalists around before the Industrial Revolution to put natural resources into a public trust. If there had been, the few of us that would be around today would still be existing in short, miserable lives, ever at the mercy of "untouched" nature; rather than enjoying the advanced technological industrialization bequeathed to us. We should celebrate the fact that the natural resources weren’t preserved in a public trust for our, as a “future generation,” alleged benefit. By leaving earlier individuals free to turn earth’s raw materials including oil, coal, and natural gas into the natural resources that feed our energy and other needs, we inherited a much better life than would have been possible otherwise. By building on the progress we inherited to make our lives still better and happier—e.g., by respecting the rights of productive individuals and their companies to turn still more raw materials into still more man-made natural resources—we will pass on to the next generation an even more technologically advanced society for them to build upon, in the process benefitting the next generation after that. Progress begets progress—unless, of course, we allow environmentalists to stop that progress.
We need individual freedom, free markets, capitalism, and a proper rights-protecting government, not “public trusts” or anything of the kind. Thankfully, we had the Founding Fathers to create the free society that enabled earlier industrious scientists, industrialists, entrepreneurs, and workers to create the natural resources and technological industrialization we now enjoy. We do have “a profound obligation to the next generation”—to emulate the Founding Fathers, and resolve to do the same.
One of the most important principles I’ve learned from Objectivism is to always zero in on essentials, and anchor those essentials to reality. In other works, think objectively. What does this slogan really mean in practice? That is the question I asked of Stamato’s questions. Beware stealth socialism; i.e., fascism.
The Secret History of Fossil Fuels—Alex Epstein, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, Chapter 1
The Environmentalists’ War on People—Ari Armstrong
Environmentalists, Luddites, and Collectivism