by Kevin Mooney
Standing behind self-proclaimed conservatives who advocate green energy schemes are left-leaning foundations and organizations that have seized upon clever marketing schemes.
The goal is to beguile young conservatives into accepting the premise of “clean, renewable” energy initiatives that would result in bigger government and higher taxes. Moreover, the wind and solar power infrastructure that green groups describe as “clean energy” have their own environmental baggage.
For starters, I would encourage college-age students attending the Conservative Political Action Conference, which kicks off this Wednesday, to take a hard look at the money standing behind the Conservative Energy Network, an umbrella group that was launched in 2016. These are state-level groups that slyly posture as conservative while advocating for additional burdens on America’s already beleaguered taxpayers. Follow the money leading into the Conservative Energy Network and much of it goes back to a San Francisco-based group known as the Energy Foundation.
That’s important because the Energy Foundation operates as a “pass-through” charitable foundation for progressive causes and is closely tied with Tom Steyer, the hedge fund billionaire who advocates for far-left causes. Yet, the “members and allies” of the Conservative Energy Network include such groups as Young Conservatives for Energy Reform, Conservatives for Energy Freedom, the Christian Coalition, and Conservatives for Clean Energy, to name just a few.
The late, great Stan Evans, a noted author who served as chairman of the American Conservative Union in the 1970s, warned against CPAC “turning into a kumbaya” that lost its focus. If you think that’s funny, just imagine what it was like to be there when he said it. “The purpose of CPAC was to conservatize the Republican Party,” he told me a few years ago when the conference was first moved to its current location at the National Harbor in Maryland. What began as tight-knit group of a few hundred activists built around the political ascendancy of Ronald Reagan now attracts in excess of 10,000 attendees.
There are many strands to the conservative movement that George H. Nash, a biographer and historian, has documented and explored in a series of books. The libertarian wing of the movement now seems predominant over traditionalists at CPAC. That’s partly a function of the emphasis organizers place on attracting large groups of students, which is understandable and appropriate. The libertarian appeal to individual and economic freedom is what typically draws young people into the movement. But it’s also clear that Evans had a point to make when he expressed concern about the size and scope of CPAC and how it might impact its mission.
There’s an argument to be made that the conference has lost focus at the expense of religious conservatives and traditionalists who have been moved off center stage. But the Green New Deal offers up an opportunity to unite the many strands of the conservative movement in a way they haven’t been united since the time of Reagan and the Cold War. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., the openly socialist member of congress, recently revealed what has long been true. The environmental movement is at its core an anti-human, anti-life movement. She has been widely quoted as saying that it may be immoral for young people to have children because of climate change. That’s hardly a fringe view among contemporary environmental activists who favor command-and-control policies that subtract from human freedom.