By Tom DeWeese
I believe that the American people are being ruled, regulated, restricted, licensed, registered, directed, checked, inspected, measured, numbered, counted, rated, stamped, censured, authorized, admonished, refused, prevented, drilled, indoctrinated, monopolized, extorted, robbed, hoaxed, fined, harassed, disarmed, dishonored, fleeced, exploited, assessed, and taxed to the point of suffocation and desperation.
Americans are drowning in a sea of rules and regulations, the bulk of which exist in the name of saving the environment.
Under the flag of this most popular of causes, industry is being strangled. Our property rights are being obliterated and the innocent victims of these harsh policies litter our judicial system. Almost anything goes in the name of environmentalism.
Everyone has been victimized by Green propaganda. Perhaps no better example is the energy crisis California is experiencing as the result of the environmental rejection of common sense.
Many of today's activists have joined battle with the Greens in the cause of American freedom. For decades we watched our elected leaders as they gave up one fight after another. Now these Americans who once believed the right to ownership of private property could not be violated, nor the ability to freely engage in commerce, have come together in a new American revolution.
Some have lost their farms and ranches. Some have seen their industries and livelihood devastated or are hoping to avoid a comparable fate. Some are victims of unwarranted regulations. Some see the United Nations as a threat to national sovereignty.
Winston Churchill once said, "If you don't look the facts in the face, they have a way of stabbing you in the back." It is time to choose your friends, your associations, your candidates for public office with attention to the single question, "Will you oppose the anti-property, environmental radicalism destroying this nation?"
In the 1960's I stood on college campuses, opposing those who sought to close down classrooms in the name of a "revolution." Those who marched professed themselves to be Marxists, Leninist, Trotskyites, and Maoists. Their revolution, they proclaimed, was to give power to the people over evil industry, to replace money and materialism with charity and benevolence for a "common good." This has become the political mantra of the Democratic Party today.
In the 1960's, they used violence and deceit, burned campus buildings, and incited riots. Most Americans considered these self-proclaimed revolutionaries to be little more than spoiled kids exercising youthful energy and natural rebellion. Their advocacy of communism in the most free of all nations, fell on deaf ears.
By the early seventies, though a few had gone underground to form terrorist units like the Weathermen, most were forgotten. Here's the real question. What does all of this have to do with environmental policy in the 1990's? What do a bunch of forgotten campus rebels have to do with the livelihoods of ranchers in Nevada or loggers in Oregon, or fishermen in California, or international treaties coming out of the UN?
It began when these revolutionaries left their college campuses. I have a book published in the 1970's, a compilation of the writings of the New Left that appeared in the radical underground newspapers of that era. Its title is "The Movement Toward a New America, The Beginnings of a Long Revolution." Those who drove the revolution of the 60's, the true believers, were dedicated to a lifelong struggle. The book reveals the beginnings of modern feminism. It contains attacks on the family structure and marriage. You will find the roots of education restructuring, the beginning of Outcome-based Education and the advocacy of the use of psychological behavior-modification teaching methods, now standard in public education. And the book reveals the roots of modern environmentalism.
In 1969, TV host Dick Cavett aired his regular network talk show, featuring a number of rock stars, including Crosby, Stills and Nash, and Jefferson Airplane. These stars of their day had just returned from performing at the historic Woodstock rock festival. That concert was to go down in history as the defining moment of the "revolution." Here the anti-war movement finally took hold. Here the anti-poverty movement became social revolution. Here the drug culture took on an identity.
What, though, was on the minds of these rockers, just after such a monumental event? Toward the end of the program, Cavett asked his guests if any of them would like to say something that they never had the opportunity to say on TV before. Immediately, David Crosby leaped at the chance and said, "we all know the air around us is filthy, but the only way to change that is to convince Ford, GM, Chrysler and Shell to go out of business."
Environmentalism has its roots in those long ago years and we are paying the price for it today.
Many of the revolutionaries of the 60's and 70's, along with their fellow travelers, went into public service. They joined the offices of public defenders, staffed government social service offices, and worked in congressional and local political offices, using their positions to create subtle changes in legislation and policy. Others went to work for charitable foundations like Ford, Rockefeller and Pew, thereby gaining access to the purse strings and determining how the money would be spent. They hired on to respected and trusted institutions like the Smithsonian Institute, National Geographic, even the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association.
Still others went into the news media and entertainment fields. Some ran for public office. All of these positions filled a specific purpose: to influence public policy and attitudes. Among them were those who went to work for multinational corporations, facing accusations, at the time, of "selling out." But now, it's more than three decades later. The young revolutionaries have turned gray, balding and plump. And now, most of our government agencies, social services, news media, entertainment centers, institutions, charitable agencies, colleges, and multinational corporations are run by those who once marched in the street and pledged to lead a "long revolution toward a new America."
Are you surprised our schools no longer teach the ideals of what was once a proudly capitalist society? Are you surprised that American history is being changed and patriotism is considered a relic of the past? Are you surprised so many Hollywood films have an anti-corporate message? Does it surprise you that the news media repeatedly tell you that global warming will destroy the world when our planet hasn't warmed in more than a half century?
The truth you must now face is that the thousands of environmental rules and regulations that impact daily life in America have very little to do with saving the environment and everything to do with those slogans that were chanted in the nation's streets in the 1960's. You are a witness to and have become the victim of a revolution to turn American society upside down.
Tom DeWeese is a frequent contributor. He is the editor of The DeWeese Report, a monthly newsletter, and president of the American Policy Center.
Buy Roger Kimball's The Long March : How the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s Changed America at Amazon.com for only $19.16
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