Thursday, December 15, 2005
Murderers and Environmentalists
Required readings for today-
Consider the following hypothetical. David Duke, former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, murders, in cold blood, four innocent blacks. But, wait. Duke later renounces the Klan and pens children's books urging white kids to reject racism. But he refuses to accept responsibility for the murder of the four innocent blacks, claiming that a racist jury convicted him for his reputation, not for the murders. Imagine Snoop Dogg, Jamie Foxx, Ed Asner or the NAACP organizing a campaign to spare the "redeemed" Duke's life.
But for many opponents of drilling in the refuge, the debate is only secondarily about energy and the environment. Rather, it is a disguised debate about elemental political matters.
For some people, environmentalism is collectivism in drag. Such people use environmental causes and rhetoric not to change the political climate for the purpose of environmental improvement. Rather, for them, changing the society's politics is the end, and environmental policies are mere means to that end.
The unending argument in political philosophy concerns constantly adjusting society's balance between freedom and equality. The primary goal of collectivism -- of socialism in Europe and contemporary liberalism in
-- is to enlarge governmental supervision of individuals' lives. This is done in the name of equality. America
People are to be conscripted into one large cohort, everyone equal (although not equal in status or power to the governing class) in their status as wards of a self-aggrandizing government. Government says the constant enlargement of its supervising power is necessary for the equitable or efficient allocation of scarce resources.
Therefore, one of the collectivists' tactics is to produce scarcities, particularly of what makes modern society modern -- the energy requisite for social dynamism and individual autonomy. Hence collectivists use environmentalism to advance a collectivizing energy policy. Focusing on one energy source at a time, they stress the environmental hazards of finding, developing, transporting, manufacturing or using oil, natural gas, coal or nuclear power.