By Michael Swartz
The steady drumbeat of speculation about the “i-word” (impeachment) has pushed America’s political mindset away from the s-word: socialism. But it’ll be back soon, wrapped in the cloak of “climate change.” Despite what’s predicted to be a “near-normal” hurricane season beginning this weekend, much of the nation is still reeling from the wild weather of recent weeks — which is always a good time for blaming our free-enterprise system.
We all know that weather is beyond human control, but that hasn’t stopped leftists from insisting we can change this through government mandates that reduce our dependence on carbon-based energy and force us into other lifestyle corrections. Climate change was among several pet issues radical Democrats sought to address when they took over the House in last year’s midterm elections, and the Green New Deal is their most obvious effort. Never mind that not a single Democrat senator had the guts to vote for this colossally asinine legislation when the opportunity arose. But there are still a number of true believers out there in the House, and parts of the legislation could certainly find their way into other bills.
Those who’ve lived it have written at length about the dangers of socialism as an economic system, but what was lost in the initial assessment and commentary on the GND was the environmental track record of nations often considered to be leaders in green.
For example, North Korea has its fans among the Radical Green because its carbon output per capita is barely one-fourth that of its capitalist neighbor to the south. If one doesn’t mind the starvation and repression, North Korea comes across as an environmental paradise — at least until one sees the nighttime satellite images of a light-free nation and the daytime images of extensive deforestation.
And North Korea isn’t an outlier among communist nations. Writing at National Review, Shawn Regan, a research fellow at the nonprofit Property and Environment Research Center, makes the case that socialism, practiced in the style of the Green New Deal, has a “dismal environmental legacy.” As Soviet-era communism began to collapse three decades ago, the West could see firsthand the “massive ‘tragedy of the commons’” in the former Soviet Union and its onetime Eastern European satellite nations. Mass starvation killed millions. And then there was Chernobyl, which is now the subject of an HBO miniseries revealing just how calloused and deceptive Soviet officials were in the lead-up to and cover-up of that disaster.
The Communist Chinese are the world’s worst current offenders. Residents of Beijing must often wear masks to even breathe in the smog-laden city. And yet American leftists are content to take China’s pinky swears about reducing emissions for deals like the Paris Agreement.
Yet our own government doesn’t escape scrutiny. The military, federally owned power plants, and agricultural policies have despoiled their share of our landscape over the decades. Even the EPA dumped millions of gallons of toxic sludge into a Colorado river.
On the other hand, the U.S. has built a sanitary infrastructure to eradicate most water-borne disease and restricted unfettered private property rights in favor of generally (but not always) reasonable environmental regulations. Public outcry eliminated most of the automobile smog from our big-city skies and wanton dumping of industrial wastes into our waterways, and created entrepreneurial opportunities for satisfying both private and public interests. One of the many advantages of our capitalist system is how nimbly it can address such issues as they occur.
As for the Green New Deal, its mandates and red tape would create prosperity for a connected class of bureaucrats and rent-seekers, while the rest of us are met with energy costs that have “necessarily skyrocketed,” to paraphrase a former president. The GND would thus be a GRD (Green Raw Deal) for all but a privileged few.
Environmental, economic, and ultimately societal — the destruction of our nation would be complete if the proponents of the GND ever truly got their way. Socialism’s awful economic legacy is well documented, but its environmental legacy is one the Left would love to keep under wraps.