Skip to comments.How the Environmental Movement Became Just Another Washington Power Bloc
Posted on 09/27/2010 5:43:22 AM PDT by Kaslin
Its not just a band of flannel-shirted environmentalists any longer; its become a big-money, major player in Washington power politics and American elections.
Starting today, the Washington Examiner is publishing a five-part special report in association with Pajamas Media on “Big Green”: the alliance of the Democratic Party, environmental groups, and activists in the progressive movement. It’s not just a band of flannel-shirted environmentalists any longer; it’s become a big-money, major player in Washington power politics and American elections.
In this first of our five-part series in coordination with the Examiner, we consider how the consensus for environmental regulation in the ’60s became a source of political power and big money when it was taken up as a cause by the ruling class.
Starting today, the Washington Examiner is running a special report on “Big Green”: the alliance of progressive activists, environmental groups like the Sierra Club, and the Democratic Party that has become perhaps the most powerful single lobby in Washington today.
It was, to some extent, a “stealth” campaign. “Conservationists” had been around for a hundred years, and the original Environmental Protection Agency was, after all, pushed through by Richard Nixon. Partly because of events like the Cuyahoga River fire in Cleveland in 1969, there was a general agreement in the 1960s that pollution of the air and water had become too obnoxious and that something had to be done.
The environmental movement quickly got involved with the New Left, becoming a sort of side-show for anti-war demonstrations while pollution became one of the litany of evils of what had been traditional American life. Along with real issues like river and lake pollution, there had been Paul Ehrlich’s book The Population Bomb, published in 1968; the Club of Rome’s book The Limits to Growth, in 1972; and a succession of other doomsday scenarios in the popular press.
What started as a largely bipartisan issue in the 60s began to transform into a more distinctly partisan issue in the 70s. Looking back, what was happening was a natural agreement of interests: in all of these groups, there was the general assumption that the various evils of humanity could only be remedied by government action, led by the enlightened. This meant that government must become stronger, have more power, and broaden its authority to deal with these new problems.
The environmental movement was quickly co-opted.
There is a natural progression in these things. It began as a mostly grassroots effort organized into non-profit groups, with dues and boards and presidents. The dues were used, as with any interest group, to lobby the government, either in Congress or in executive branch agencies like the EPA. The environmental movement began to develop a constituency, and that constituency was increasingly identified with groups like the Sierra Club. As those groups grew, they became big businesses themselves, although organized and run as non-profits.
People hear “non-profit” and tend to think of ragtag operations run on a shoestring by selfless activists; the large, well-known ones are major corporations with multimillion dollar budgets, and people who operate multimillion dollar companies tend to have nice salaries and nice offices.
Increasingly, being an environmental activist, at least in the upper reaches, is becoming a well-paid, high-visibility job.
What these activist groups have to “sell” is their ability to get things done in Washington, which means their ability to get access to politicians. Environmental groups could offer this through access to their membership and by encouraging their members to support the politicians who were friendly to their issues. Voting power meant re-election for the politicians, re-election meant moving up the seniority ladder, and seniority meant exercising power — which made the politicians more attractive to the environmental groups. What’s more, for every elected politician, there are dozens of staff positions, committee staff, and dozens of staff positions within the non-profit groups.
Quickly, there arose an “environmental activism industry” — thousands of people whose livelihoods depended on environmental activism. The environmental activism industry, in turn, depended on one thing: the government’s power to effect change in the environmentalists’ favored direction.
Now, forty years later, we see the results. As the Examiner pieces today show, the environmental movement has become a billion-dollar industry, providing thousands of people with jobs, all devoted to managing — and, in general, to increasing — the government’s power.
There is “green power” — but it’s big government political power. There are “green jobs” — but they are for the politically connected people who direct and wield the political power.
And there are the rest of us, who wonder how such a worthy endeavor became just another power bloc.
The EPA needs to be dismantled. Like the DHS, it is a socialist-leftist arm within the Federal Government that answers to no one except itself. It is equivalent to the Nazi SS brigades that are working hard to shut down capitalism. The EPA is working overtime to de-industrialize the USA into less than third-world status. WAKE the F*up America!
I wish I could find a reference to it, but on TV I once saw a clip by Patrick Moore, who left Greenpeace, that explains the environmental movement nicely. According to him, at the end of the cold war the social/commies had lost, so they infiltrated the environmental movement.
How the Environmental Movement Became Just Another Washington Power Bloc,or as some people call it insider trading.
“I wish I could find a reference to it, but on TV I once saw a clip by Patrick Moore, who left Greenpeace, that explains the environmental movement nicely. According to him, at the end of the cold war the social/commies had lost, so they infiltrated the environmental movement.” ~ epithermal
From my archives:
“There were always extreme, irrational and mystical elements within our movement, but they tended to be kept in their place during the early years. Then in the mid-Eighties the ultraleftists and extremists took over. After Greenham Common closed and the Berlin Wall came down these extremists were searching for a new cause and found it in environmentalism. The old agendas of class struggle and anti-corporatism are still there but now they are dressed up in environmental terminology.” - (Dr Patrick Moore, co-founder member of Greenpeace, May 2000)
February 23, 2007
Greenpeace co-founder changes mind
Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace, pens an op-ed in the New York Post endorsing the use of nuclear power, an enemy that the greenies fought tooth and nail for decades.
AS co-founder and former leader of Greenpeace, I once opposed nuclear energy. But times have changed, and new facts of compelling importance have emerged - and so my views have changed as well, as have those of a growing number of respected, independent environmentalists around the world.
There are few places where nuclear power makes as much sense or is as important as in New York. Indeed, the state is a microcosm of the challenges America and the world face to have ample, clean and reasonably priced electricity. As such, I strongly support renewal of the license for the Indian Point nuclear plants in Westchester, which provides 30 percent or so of the electricity used in the New York metro area.
Well, congratulations to Mr. Moore for honestly owning-up that environmental alarmism was wrong-headed. I remember when anti-nuclear activists forced the abandonment of the partially-constructed Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant in New Hampshire, forcing a billion dollar write-off in a period when a billion dollars was worth a lot more than today.
There are many reasons to support nuclear power, even if you are skeptical about global warming theories. Replacing hydrocarbon-based fuels for electricity generation will reduce demand for oil, coal and natural gas, helping ease price pressures, and reducing the economic clout of the oil exporting extremist regimes that bedevil the world today. Huge advances have occurred in technology since the time nuclear power plant construction was abandoned in the United States.
So how about a little humility on the other alarm bells the greenies are so fond of ringing? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice....
Continue reading here:
“The EPA needs to be dismantled. Like the DHS, it is a socialist-leftist arm within the Federal Government that answers to no one except itself. It is equivalent to the Nazi SS brigades that are working hard to shut down capitalism. The EPA is working overtime to de-industrialize the USA into less than third-world status. WAKE the F*up America!” ~ broken_arrow1
Thanks, that was the message I had seen by Moore. The environmental movement has not only provided refuge for the commies, but for every wacko looking for a home. Liberals love it because it gives them a chance to be self-righteous under the protection of the “Green Church”.
“The environmental movement has not only provided refuge for the commies, but for every wacko looking for a home. Liberals love it because it gives them a chance to be self-righteous under the protection of the Green Church.” ~ epithermal
To back that up, try this:
Life Amidst the Postmodern Ruins
...Chesterton, although writing in 1907, had already diagnosed the pathologies of the left. In fact, his ideas mirror exactly what Polanyi wrote some 50 years later about the moral inversion of the left, i.e., the dangerous combination of radical skepticism and an unhinged, ruthless moral perfectionism unbound from tradition.
Chesteron writes of the socialist that although he may have a large and generous heart, it is not a heart in the right place.
And only a human being can have a heart dangerously set in the wrong location.
It generally occurs when a religious scheme is shattered as a result of their intense skepticism. When this happens, it is not merely the vices that are let loose. Rather, the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage.
Just because someone has a moral code, it hardly means that they are moral.
I have written a number of posts on the dynamics of this pathological process, which I thought that Polanyi had been the first to recognize.
But Chesterton also writes of how the modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone.
Most every destructive policy put into place by the left can be traced to some Christian virtue gone mad:
i.e., feed the hungry, so steal from the rich and call it giving, or defending abortion on the basis of the sanctity of liberty, or encouraging every manner of deviancy under the guise of tolerance.
They have the bizarre idea that it is easier to forgive sins if there are no sins to forgive except for the sin of believing they exist. ...
More on this here: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1932911/posts?page=5#5
It was the Shoreham plant on Long Island, not Seabrook. Seabrook has been up and running for 20 years and doing very well, all be it the envir-commies did all they could to stop it.
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