Thursday, August 07, 2008

Reverse Socialism

The Green movement is unique among social movements from the last 100+ years in that its goals will make things much more difficult for the working man. This puts them at odds with their far-left brethren.

Most social movements have come from the progressive tradition. This includes communism, socialism, and national socialism (fascism). All of these center around the idea of redistributing wealth from the undeserving wealthy to the needy poor. You can see echoes of this in Barack Obama's proposals to tax the wealthy and to confiscate oil company's earning. Most of the health care debate springs from this background, also.

Traditionally, the Greens incorporate many of these values in their platform. This led conservatives to refer to them as "watermelons" - green on the outside and red on the inside.

But the new cult of global warming, while recruiting from a progressive base, is diametrically opposed to making life easier for the poor. For example, Marburg, Germany is debating a requirement that all houses should have solar panels. This would affect any buildings that have renovations or install new heating systems. The law can be counter-productive. The article gives tha example of a man who already has a solar panel and wants to add insulation. This would require him to upgrade his solar panel at a cost of $8,000. Germany's Green party is paying close attention to Merburg in hopes of imitating its law elsewhere.

Then there is Duff Badgely, the Green candidate for governor of Washington. He wrote a recent editorial on the changes that the governor (that would be him if he was elected) should institute. Among his proposals is nationalizing (can a governor do this?) Boeing and divert them from making airplanes and war machinery to solar, wind and wave power equipment. He calls for carbon taxes on both corporations and individuals rising to $500/ton by 2020 (this would cost the average family $10,000/year for individual taxes plus the corporate taxed that would be added on).

He also recomends: adopting new land-use law. Require affordable density. Stop sprawl. Protect all trees as "common good" that critically benefit climate. Require a permit before killing trees. Outlaw single-occupancy vehicles, except where no public transport exists.

And, possibly the most important: Keep Seattle NBA-free.

He does throw a few sops to the poor. The poor could ride public transport for free and he wants to build 1,000 new housing units for the poor to shelter 1,700 homeless. This does not allow for the huge increase in poor and homeless that Washington would see as a result of his recomondations.

While Barack Obama does not go anywhere near this far, he also supports policies that would hurt the poor. His reaction to recent gas price increases wasn't that they are too high, but that they went up too fast. He makes fun of drilling for more oil but is also against new nuclear power plants. He proposes to transform American society through expanded use of flex-fuel and plugin hybrids without telling where the extra food to be converted to fuel and the extra electricity to power the cars will come from.

Then there is Al Gore who just bought a big boat (complete with a jet ski on the back). The changes that Gore has been urging on society will hurt the poor the while he can simply buy carbon credits and continue his profligate lifestyle.

Where the progressives of old used to worry about the poor, the new breed is so busy worrying about the planet that they overlook the poor. The global price of food has gone up due to ethanol mandates but Gore and company want to increase the amount of food burned. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refuses to allow a floor vote on off-shore drilling because she is trying to save the planet.

Even non-carbon alternatives have to pass a green test before they can be considered. Since the 1960s the greens have had an unreasoning fear of radiation so nuclear power is off the table. Many greens dislike dams and would like to reduce the amount of hydroelectric power currently being produced.

In the Middle Ages, Europeans were bound to the land. They needed special permission to leave and most never traveled more than a dozen miles from home. Given half a chance the greens would love to see a return to this state. Then we will need a new progressive movement to save us from the greens.

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