By Bruce Walker
The left pretends to care about the environment. It sounds like Bernie Sanders is going to make this faux interest in protecting the environment a salient point of any 2020 presidential run. In fact, leftism – both economic leftism and social leftism – are the primary cause of environmental problems.
Sanders, who honeymooned in the Soviet Union, apparently missed the horrific destruction of nature under the Soviets who were dramatically worse for the environment than the Tsars. Indeed, Marxism in virtually every land it has been tried has been an environmental horror story. Nations before Marxist rule and after Marxist rule, like Poland, demonstrated as clearly as possible that Marxism is the worst system of government imaginable for the environment.
What about free market economic systems and statist economic systems? Can the government compel cleaner air and water, more green spaces, compassion for animals and the other “green” issues? Coercion is nearly always the worst way possible of achieving objectives and this is true with environmentalism.
Free markets are better than statism in every way and not just in the narrow confines of economic choices and that means businesses and individuals compete with each other to be “greener” and if that sounds odd, consider in a grocery how many goods are touted as good for the environment. Once people are affluent they give their attention to other values and environmentalism is chic, popular and sincere.
Statism does not care a whit about those issues and values it purports to protect. In fact, statists have a vested interest in the perpetuation of the problems which they pretend to address or, in the case of Marxism – the greatest pox on the environment ever devised by man – nature is directly subordinated to man.
I describe the horror of economic leftism for genuine environmentalism in my book, Pseudo-Green Leftism and True Green Conservatism. That book also tells how two very strong and conservative businessmen, Walt Disney and Henry Ford, the notional enemy of the environment, have in fact been its most passionate defenders.
But Free Market conservatism is only half of conservatism. Social Conservatism is invariably overlooked in the debate about the best approach to green issues. The left, by contrast, has tied Social Leftism to green issues. Consider one of the oldest green parties, the Green Party of Germany. Its platform involves issues which have nothing at all to do with the environment.
Defending homosexuality may or may not be good public policy but it has nothing to do with the environment. Public schools and academia, which the Green Party of Germany champion, degrade the environment when compared with homeschooling and curbing our addiction to colleges. Green parties throughout the globe are full of support for public health, state radio and television, ending “income inequality,” relieving student loan debt and…blah, blah, blah. Just look at the platform of our own nation’s green party and see how many “green” priorities are simply dull, re-tread leftism utterly unrelated to the environment.
Leftism always professes nominal concern for issues it couldn’t care less about. Power, always, is the motivation of leftism in all it does every time. The worst nightmare of Pseudo-Green Leftism is the actual and natural resolution of environmental problems. The cadres would then have to do real work in those parts of the private sector which produce goods and services that people want.
Social Conservatism – traditional nuclear families which require only one home, home-schooling which could largely end the need for the vast manmade sinkhole of public education, productive work rather than bureaucratic leftism which infests government and education and huge charities, hunters and fishermen who keep animal populations within natural limits and the general de-institutionalization of life – provide not only a cure for environmental problems but also provide an organic system of life (conservatism, not leftism, is truly “organic”) which make overt concern over the environment unnecessary.
What people who actually care about nature ought to want is precisely this sort of “organic” approach to nature in which individuals, families, communities and businesses acting without conscious thought about the environment behave in ways which preserve and protect the environment.
Conservatives – Free Market Conservatives and Social Conservatives – ought to reclaim an issue which was originally something which only conservatives cared about, the environment. This would win for conservatives votes from those deluded into trusting the left with environmentalism and it would force the left to justify its outrageously un-green positions taken by green parties in the affluent democracies.
Bruce Walker is the author of the recently released Pseudo-Green Leftism and True Green Conservatism and a contributing editor to Enter Stage Right.