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And the pendulum swings

By Henry Lamb
web posted June 30, 2003

It appears that the political pendulum may have reached its extreme-left maximum during the Clinton-Gore era, which was administered primarily by environmental extremists. The consequences of far-left policies are now being felt by a sufficient number of people to allow politicians to begin correcting some of the wrongs imposed upon the people.

The catastrophic fires that have ravaged millions of acres in recent years are the direct result of the left-wing notion that "natural wilderness" is superior to human-managed forests.

The soaring property tax bills that are plaguing landowners are the direct result of the left-wing notion that the government must buy up private property - leaving an ever-decreasing number of people to support ever-increasing local budgets.

The collapse of the domestic timber and ranching industries is the direct result of the left-wing notion that trees are sacred and grazing is a sin against the earth.

The incredibly stupid policies that have emerged to "protect" the environment, come from the same left-wing political machine. Consider this example. Michael McCormick saw a six-foot alligator waddling toward a woman with two small children, not far from where an alligator dragged a 12-year-old boy to his death a week earlier. Michael lassoed the gator, tied him to a pole, and called the police. The police arrived, turned the gator loose, and called the state wildlife officials. Before trying to recapture the gator, the wildlife officials gave Michael a $180 ticket for "possession of an alligator."

After a few days of public outcry, the state officials rescinded the fine, and left Michael with a "warning." There is growing evidence that the public is growing weary of this stupidity.

Eventually, common sense prevails, and truth penetrates the most elaborate fiction.

A sure sign that the pendulum is beginning to swing the other way, is the volume and acidity of the left-wing extremists, as even the most baby-steps are taken in a new direction. The Healthy Forest Initiative, for example, would allow limited logging in a few areas where it was outlawed during the Clinton years. The response from extreme greens would have you believe that President Bush is destroying 30 years of environmental legislation.

The people whose homes have been destroyed by needless forest fires, are no longer impressed with green rhetoric; they want the forests thinned, and managed wisely. Other Americans, who watch those homes burn nightly on television, are also having second thoughts about the wisdom of restoring the environment to its "natural," pre-Columbian condition. As more and more scientists produce evidence that the changing climate is not the result of driving SUVs, more and more people are questioning the veracity of the environmental hysteria produced by the left-wing extremists.

The pendulum is, indeed, beginning to swing, but very, very slowly. Congress is still full of people caught up in the fiction that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is too "precious" to allow an oil rig. People - including the Congressmen - have been sold a bill of goods through slick, Madison Avenue propaganda. The only effect of retrieving the billions of barrels of Alaska crude would be a reduction in our dependency of foreign oil. Drilling in Alaska would have zero impact on the environment, the oil rigs would only be seen by the tiniest handful of brave souls who ever venture into the frozen tundra.

People are beginning to discover that the "Smart Growth," touted by the Clinton-Gore crowd, and widely promoted by the Sierra Club, and other left-wing extremists, is really a strait-jacket, that doesn't fit very well on free people. Who would have believed that "Smart Growth" would require the removal of barber poles in Naples, Florida? Who would have believed that "Smart Growth" would prevent descendants of slaves from building a home on their own land in South Carolina? The consequences of these policies are beginning to be felt, and people are beginning to resist.

The more we resist, the louder the extremists scream. But the louder they scream, and the more strident their rhetoric, the more they fray their veil of fiction.

The needs of people, scientific fact, and common sense should guide public policy, constructed on the principles of freedom set forth in our Constitution. From time to time, the political pendulum forces us to stray from this proven path. Fortunately, free people can force the pendulum to reverse itself, when it swings too far in either direction. Perhaps we are escaping from the clutches of left-wing extremism, as the political pendulum begins to swing in the right direction.

Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization, and chairman of Sovereignty International.

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