Was just down in beautiful, earthy and ever-so-tie-dyed Oregon for a fewdays. A sign in a coffee shop read, “Re-Green the Earth.” It was a reminder that Earth Day, April 22, was approaching, and now, here it is. It pricked my memories of how I, a right-leaning libertarian, used to appreciate Earth Day. I liked the idea of recycling, living close to the Earth, utilizing items to their fullest potential, and making my own environmentalist decisions based on my assessment of the information out there—voluntarily!
Today, when I hear someone mention, Earth Day, I gag. Well, not literally but at least figuratively. One issue pops into my mind: Paper or plastic? There are environmentalist arguments on both sides of this issue. However, in some jurisdictions one side or the other has managed to use the force of government to impose their political will on others, regardless of the actual benefits or harm done to the environment, not to mention the economy—just as long as their point of view is mandated, they are happy. Well, until they come up with their next environmental crisis.
What’s my problem? It’s the fact that the left: liberals, progressives, collectivists, statists, whatever they and others are calling them these days, has turned environmentalism—not to mention every other -ism they support—into a quasi-religion. It is not enough to teach by example or to attempt to convince one to one’s side through education and persuasion. No. Now, one must agree that government force is necessary to impose a left-wing political philosophy disguised as conservationism by cramming it down people’s throats whether they agree or not with a certain political philosophy, not a settled scientific consensus. Galileo suffered from a similar quasi-scientific/religious consensus four centuries ago in the form of an intolerant church. Today, an intolerant political perspective is doing it.
Libertarian that I am, I instinctively buck at such a notion. When an idea has to be forced on people by government, that is probably not an idea worth a damn. I am no more authorized to force an idea on you than you are on me. We are sovereign over our own lives, are we not? Perhaps, if we all lived by a simple code expressed best in the title to Freedom Works President Matt Kibbe’s new book, Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff: A Libertarian Manifesto, we’d all be better off.
When a group or an individual espouses a philosophy of mandate over one of educate, one must look with suspicion on the message and the messenger. What is the true agenda?
Perhaps, instead of worrying about the jack-booted greenies and their government allies, I should simply adopt a new tradition that someone I know has adopted. In fact, this is a rather liberal friend who adheres to most of the liberal conventions, lest she be excluded—or perhaps, as the Mozilla executive found recently, excommunicated, socially castrated and ostracized. However, risking these consequences, on Earth Day each year she dedicates the day to eradicating noxious weeds, assassinating them with a healthy dose of Round Up. Perhaps even better: some entrepreneur could come up with a, Round Up, to kill progressive ideas.