Environmentalism’s Totalitarian Pipe Dream

“[S]ocialism . . . is . . . the society that must emerge if humanity is to cope with . . . the ecological burden that economic growth is placing on the environment.”

-Robert Heilbroner, “After Communism,” The New Yorker, Sept. 10, 1990

“Voluntary approaches are not sufficient.”

– Green Party Platform

In a recent article at mises.org economist Robert Murphy reported on an interview with a global warming alarmist that was published at vox.com and concluded that: “For climate interventionists, new taxes are only the beginning.”  Murphy was alluding to the belief by some that the global warming hysterics will be satisfied with extortionate-level “carbon taxes” to deter energy use.  Not so, says Murphy:  “Every aspect of our lives, from our cars to our meals to our family sizes, affects global emissions – and therefore the interventionists want every tool at their disposal to control others.”

Making Peace With the ... Barry Commoner Best Price: $1.75 Buy New $16.95 (as of 04:10 EST - Details) Murphy writes about a climate interventionist’s mention of such things as more stringent corporate average fuel economy standards, building codes, “alternative” energy sources, etc., but there is much more on the agenda of the environmental “watermelons” – green on the outside, red on the inside.  One source of information about the real watermelon agenda is the Green Party Platform, much of which sounds identical to the rhetoric on the Web site of Democratic Socialists of America, which itself is increasingly indistinguishable from the Democratic Party.

The Green Party’s first presidential candidate was biologist and author Barry Commoner, who advocated “social control” of the means of production in the name of “saving the planet.”  He explained in his writings, such as Making Peace with the Planet, that the word socialism had a bad reputation in his time, so “we” might as well try a euphemism such as “social control.”  Of course, with any kind of socialism “society” has absolutely no control over anything; that is the exclusive province of a small ruling class and its court intellectuals like Barry Commoner and his ilk.

Today’s Green Party Platform provides some insights into what, in addition to oppressive carbon taxes, the watermelon socialists have in mind.  The following is a partial list.  Keep in mind that all of the following would be achieved by using the coercive levers of the state.

  • Phasing out the use of all fossil fuels by 2030.
  • Heavy carbon taxes of the sort that caused riots in France recently that were labeled an “insurrection” by the European press.
  • Just in case those sneaky capitalists want to import oil, there would be high tariffs on imported oil and gas
  • The use of “clean fuels” would be mandated.
  • Poorer countries would be given welfare payments, courtesy of U.S. taxpayers, because “they can no longer be permitted to develop in the same way we did” by using energy resources.
  • Reductions in energy use (heating, cooling, automobile use) would be mandated.
  • Government will build a massive, national, “public transportation” system.
  • A national “zero waste policy,” which sounds like outlawing garbage.
  • “Massively polluting” nuclear power will be outlawed altogether.
  • Industrial agriculture and the economies of scale and cheap food production that it achieves will be outlawed as well, a form of Soviet-style “land reform.”
  • Mass food production, which again is why American agriculture is the most efficient in the world (despite the inefficiencies of farm subsidies and other interventions) would be prohibited and replaced with government-supervised “small scale organic . . . agriculture.”
  • A “rapid reduction in energy consumption” would be mandated as well.
  • “Millions of buildings” will be “super-insulated” and their energy use minimized or eliminated altogether and forced to use “alternative heat sources” such as “passive solar.”
  • The construction of hydroelectric dams would no longer be permitted.
  • All coal-fired power plants would be prohibited.
  • No more oil could be acquired from the outer-continental shelf, public lands, the Rocky Mountains, and the Great Lakes.
  • Governments will take over all utilities.
  • Communist-style “land reform” will be achieved, and the state will create “new farmers,” a sort of “new communist man” on the farm.
  • Car travel will be “handicapped by high fuel prices [because of supply restrictions and high taxes], and devastated by actual fuel shortages orchestrated by the government.
  • There will be mandatory carpooling until all cars are electric. How Capitalism Saved A... Thomas J. Dilorenzo Best Price: $2.65 Buy New $6.00 (as of 10:35 EST - Details)
  • Every city will have “free community bicycle fleets” that are not free, of course, but paid for by taxpayers.
  • There will be a “moratorium on highway widening” to make driving even more miserable.
  • Corporate average fuel economy (CAFÉ) standards will be constantly increased until all cars are the size of a zip car or smaller.
  • A special federal sales tax will be imposed on “larger” cars to drive them from the market, making automotive travel much more dangerous and life threatening.
  • “Reductions in airport noise” will be mandated as well, the only means of doing so would be to mandate reductions in airplanes and airplane flights.
  • Manufacturers will be forced to “take back” products they have sold and recycle them at their own expense.
  • The privatization of “public” lands will not be allowed.
  • Private companies will not be allowed to manage water supply and distribution in American cities and towns.
  • “Water-efficient appliances” will be ordered, which means you would never get your clothes clean again.
  • All pesticides will be “phased out.”
  • Offshore drilling for oil and liquefied natural gas will be outlawed.

As I said, this is only a partial list.  There are dozens of additional suggestions for further interventions.  Bob Murphy was not exaggerating one bit when he wrote that the global warming hysterics “want every tool at their disposal”, every governmental tool, that is, to control “every aspect of our lives.”  They make the Soviet totalitarians look like rank amateurs by comparison.