Why Green is the New Red
On a message board, I was asked to explain my belief that the environmentalist movement might be a kind of “last stand” for socialism, a “final, desperate, attempt to justify centralised State planning”. In particular, I was asked to explore how environmentalists might have managed to convince the scientific community of their views, and why it is that environmentalists rarely describe themselves explicitly as socialists. This is my adapted response.
Firstly, most people would agree that the source of research funding tends to alter the incentives of those who carry out the research. However, many people also grant an exception to government funding. I don’t do this.
For example, the US federal government has been spending about $5 billion on environmental research every year (Hillary Clinton would like to increase environmental R&D to $50 billion). This phenomenon is repeated all over the world (in Ireland, for example, nearly all scientific research is directed by State bodies, and it is highly advisable, if possible, to explain how your work can be applied to environmental issues if you are seeking funding). Governments are very eager to fund this kind of research.
That environmentalists see no conflict of interest involved here is indicative of the trust they place in the benevolence of governments. Remember that this is less than twenty years after the collapse of one of the most murderous regimes to have ever existed (up to 60 million people violently killed by the Soviet Union), and while much of humanity is still experiencing a medieval standard of living thanks to the governments that control them. The 20th century alone is testament to the danger posed to us by governments, with more people killed in war than had probably been killed in the entire recorded history of the human race up to that point. Despite this, environmentalists are desperate to abolish the now relatively prosperous and peaceful Western market-based economies and replace them with immense, all-powerful environmentalist regimes.
The trust in government benevolence is not the only trait that environmentalists share with their socialist predecessors. They also hold a common faith in the real capabilities of government. Socialism was discredited time and time again, leading its followers to engage in more and more ridiculous attempts to show that they were able to effectively plan economies. Salvador Allende, before he was ousted, thought that it would be possible to use a special computer, the “Cybersyn”, to effectively direct the Chilean economy (remember that this is in 1973). But socialist economies collapsed everywhere, for the good reason that economic calculation is simply impossible under central planning.
Yet environmentalists (at least some of whom must be sincere – though some must simply be opportunists) are preparing to treat us to carbon taxes and many other regulations on what we can buy, what we can eat, where we can go, what we can produce, what we can build. Nearly all of them are economic illiterates, so they think that what they are doing might not be inherently destructive. They have little comprehension of the cost-benefit procedures inherent to the market which are absolutely required for the efficient allocation of resources. They are political illiterates too, so they don’t understand that the vested interests feeding off environmentalist State subsidies are not going to just disappear when it is realised that the subsidies are unwarranted. And to top it off they are statistical illiterates too – they will never understand the massively complicated computer models which are the alleged scientific justification for their ideology, bought and paid for with taxpayers’ money down the barrel of a gun.
So to conclude, environmentalists are very similar to their socialist predecessors. They share many of the same beliefs and false ideas about government, and their agenda will have similarly dire effects. As I wrote yesterday, many of their older followers are undoubtedly aging socialists who failed to come to terms with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Their younger supporters don’t understand the terrible consequences of government expansion, and think that they are doing the right thing by going along with an ideology which looks warm and cuddly to them.
Now that their power is increasing, we can expect research to become more and more biased in favour of their plans, and for 21st century technologies to be used to control populations in ways that socialists of decades past could only have dreamed of. But, at the end of the day, their only real innovation is to replace Allende’s Cybersyn with modern environmental supercomputers. They have no idea how society could be centrally planned without descending into chaos, for such knowledge is impossible to obtain. They won’t call themselves socialists because that label has fallen out of fashion after the disasters of the 20th century, but their project shares many of the same goals, and is doomed to fail for all of the same reasons.