I watched a visual presentation of “Green Living” on the New York Times web page the other day and it occurred to me that clean air could be the product of a closed facility instead of trying to stop all emissions and stop up automobile tailpipes. Just as you pay for “pure water’, so too the clean air aficionados can seek a pure-air bubble provided by the latest technology and – with competition – at the lowest possible price.
Environmentalists don’t think this way, however. The environmentalists are nostalgia-oriented, much like conservatives are in the political realm. They want to go back to the days when nothing man-made was spewing into the air and waters and all you had to do was sniff freely and drink from bubbling streams (upstream from the dead beavers ) and you would be healthy, wholesome, and have a lifespan of maybe 25 years. Moreover, the trees would never be cut and the rotten wood on the forest floor would be covered with termites and vermin, and the towering old growth would house happy woodpeckers and an occasional conflagration. There would be no trampled wildflowers, no unsightly paths, and – in true wilderness ecological-mandate fashion – no roads to anywhere. The smokestacks would release pure oxygen, the sewers would gleam with pristine waters, and the waste of humanity would be a few berry remnants composted into flower pots. Since there would be no textile mills to contaminate, everyone would run around naked and in the winter months would all huddle together to avoid sending the smoke from burning fuel into the sacred pure air. If a volcano erupted or a forest fire emitted plumes of contaminates, nomadic behavior would be required. But only if no one made a disruptive path, stepped on a bluebell,m or, heaven forbid, ate something sprouting, like a mushroom.
No, this is not the future the environmentalists would admit to. They don’t want to project the nonsense their policies would lead to. They simply dismiss such projections as “extreme”. What they want is a movement in the direction depicted above without any inconvenience, any lack of progress, or any lack of goods and services. Somehow, they think that contradictions between their direction and their wishes for convenience produced by industrialization will smoothly transition into a world where energy use has no exhaust and building materials can come from somewhere besides trees and minerals extracted from the earth. They have adapted a variant of the politicians’ creed that a country can be prosperous even though it spends itself into oblivion and taxes its productive citizens until the incentive to work is gone. Civilizations that faltered in the past also fell for the arguments of unlimited law making. The environmentalists and their partners in the political arena are accelerating a demise in our standard of living while soft soaping their intentions. Just as the politicians are moving more and more away from limited government, so too are the environmentalists moving towards more political “solutions “ to their misperceived theories of the need to worship and return to the primitive. The environment is not some pristine perfect model, not unlike the perfect competition model the economists dreamed up. It s a dynamic changing source of human raw materials ad energy. Food production did not reach the levels it has from pampering the soil. The housing of billions did not happen because some dimwit chained themselves to a tree. We enjoy rapid mobility because the oil in the ground and under the sea was not left to be trampled on by reindeer and jelly fish. Yet all these observations are blanked from the vision of the preservationists who ignore reality to focus on the dreamy wanderings of academics who have a difficult time opening a venetian blind. The cry “ protect the environment” is really a cry to stop man in his tracks, restrict his life enhancing activities, and give power to bumbling bureaucrats to tweak and twist the screws of regulation until all incentive to produce is thwarted. Believing that day will never come is another illusion they cling to. Science is a discipline that works from facts. Putting environmentalism into this category has granted it a distinction it is neither worthy of nor capable or attaining. It is rampant with phony theories and scare tactics relying on projections it can neither substantiate or demonstrate. Any discipline that moves ahead full steam with political ramifications and a background of conjecture can hardly qualify as a science. Such a discipline must be classified as a faith based movement trying to hijack the prestige of science without meeting the criteria. All that science studies are components that collectively make up the environment. When you study the identification of trees, you study dendrology. When you study the mineral makeup of the earth you study geology. But when you claim you are studying all aspects of the “environment” at once and from this stage you pick and choose political agendas and try to find data that supports your agenda, this is not the scientific method. It is maneuvering and manipulation. Just as a quack can claim healing powers and a title of doctor, so too can an environmentalist claim to speak for that which he knows nothing about. When a mob must chant to make a point you can bet the data is either weak or nonexistent. Nobody demanded by mob demonstrations that polio be cured and it wouldn’t have done them any good to use this method. But science applied by Dr. Salk saved millions of lives. Had he claimed his theory was correct and should be implemented by law before the data was conclusive he would have been thought mad. Yet this is the trend of the environmentalists and their tactic. They must be challenged in their claims and they must be recognized for what the are. And nowhere in that identification should be the title of scientist.