Saturday, August 06, 2011

Blue Planet in Green Shackles

When I was a kid I had a book titled something like 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth. At the time, the ozone hole over Antarctica and the impending ice age were all the rage. I remember how there were TV specials on PBS about the ozone hole. We read articles in those little newspapers from Weekly Reader or whatever at school telling us about what could happen to the earth should there be another ice age. The book was one I read through and actually thought some of the ideas were good ones. I think it influenced my life to a certain degree in what I admit is a positive way. I am inclined to recycle things (back when I was a kid there was only one word — recycle — not like the EPA slogan of today: "Reuse. Reduce. Recycle.") and reuse things like garbage sacks, lunch bags, and paper. At the time, the concept of environmentalism wasn’t in vouge, and most people who were trying to recycle or were into protecting endangered species were self-identifying as conservationists, probably because until the 1960s, relatively little in the movement had changed since the days of President Theodore Roosevelt, arguably the highest-profile conservationist in American history. I, too, thought of myself as a 10-year-old conservationist. While the movement has largely morphed into what is now known as environmentalism, a movement driven by much more leftist and radical principles, I still think of myself as a conservationist. There is, however, a large gap between conservation and environmentalism.

In his book, Blue Planet in Green Shackles: What Is Endangered: Climate or Freedom? (ISBN: 978-1-889865-09-6), Czech president Václav Klaus presents his reasons for why environmentalism and its liberal, leftist, and radical tendencies is dangerous not only for the planet, but for people who cherish their liberty. The book is largely written from an economic point of view (Klaus is an economist by training), but also includes a chapter on the many scientific fallacies present in various environmentalist arguments for global warming (or, now that global warming has largely been discredited, the environmentalists have changed the label once again, and we have "climate change" to be all freaked out about). The economics-heavy chapters explain why environmentalist policies are bad for the economy and why they also tend to be bad for the planet. There is also a section on how environmentalist policy limits economic and personal liberty. Finally, Klaus gives the reader a policy recommendation regarding so-called climate change: do nothing. Based on his analysis of real numbers (in contrast to environmentalists, who have brought us endless fake numbers, including the famous so-called statistics of the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia and those rain forest destruction statistics, that if true, would’ve resulted in the complete extermination of rain forests decades ago), Klaus convincingly points out that slow and measured responses to problems are much more effective at preserving solid economic conditions as well as personal liberty. When we look at everything as a crisis, we (or, at the very least, politicians) make knee-jerk reactions that almost universally compound the original problem. When you are facing a problem like global warming, which is far from having a scientific consensus, let alone from being fact, a reaction causes not a worse problem, but new problems.

I enjoyed the book, although I admit I had to spend extra time in the middle chapters where Klaus delved into economic theory. It can be tough to get through, but if one spends the time necessary to think it through and analyze what he’s saying, it makes sense. The book, which is only 91 pages, is put together well, and the argument is laid out well. I also think that it will be unlikely to sway the true believers in global warming, but it should make them think about their position. It most definitely shores up the position of those who just can’t figure out the environmentalist movement. Finally, it really is a great work because the main idea is not necessarily that global warming or climate change doesn’t exist (like all true skeptics, Klaus is simply waiting for proof, not denying any and all possibilities) or that such-and-such economic policy is the one and only, but that without personal liberty, we cannot expect to live the life we want to live. We most definitely won’t have the economic blessings that we currently enjoy, and as poorly conceived policy continues to encroach on our lives, our basic freedoms and rights will also start to be taken away (remember that one of environmentalism’s closest relatives is the overpopulation of the earth and that those who express doubt concerning environmentalism or environmentalist policy are marginalized by the leftists). Given free rein, environmentalist policy has the potential to impact negatively everything from individuals’ decisions about their own families to global financial markets to essential freedoms of expression. This book serves as a solid warning and should be a call to arms for those who prefer to make decisions for themselves.

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This work, including all text, photographs, and other original work, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives 3.0 License and is copyrighted © MMXI John Pruess.

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