Thursday, April 27, 2017
In a recent column, Walter Williams catalogs part of the long history -- pushing a century now -- of failed predictions and mendacity on the part of environmentalists, including the following:
Hoodwinking Americans is part of the environmentalist agenda. Environmental activist Stephen Schneider told Discover magazine in 1989: "We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. ... Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest." In 1988, then-Sen. Timothy Wirth, D-Colo., said: "We've got to ... try to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong ... we will be doing the right thing anyway in terms of economic policy and environmental policy." [bold added]Really? It is worth considering for a moment how someone can feel so confident of doing the right thing regardless of their factual basis for their actions. If burning fossil fuels is, in fact, not about to destroy the planet we live on, what difference does continuing to use fossil fuels make, and what about curtailing it is "right?" More important, how do people continually get away with spewing such nonsense?
Part of the answer lies in the fact that practical considerations are not the only thing at play, at which point, many people might chime in that, yes, moral factors are also important. This strikes me as very odd, but that is because I reject the very commonly-held ideas that (1) the moral and the practical are opposites, and (2) there is no factual basis for morality. Williams closes his column by noting that, "Americans have paid a steep price for buying into environmental deception and lies." Those ideas about morality aren't just a source of drawing-room fun: They have consequences.
This is a warning shot across the bow. Our economy, on which our prosperity and our lives depend, is being damaged by the idea that the good has nothing to do with this earth, and that doing good has nothing to do with living or prospering.
It is high time to question the idea that morality is an enemy of a prosperous life, and, as Ayn Rand did, ask why we need morality at all. (Her answer: We do, desperately. Our lives depend on it.) Regarding the moral-practical dichotomy, Rand wrote, "The sole result of that murderous doctrine [is] to remove morality from life." I leave it as an exercise for the reader to consider what attempting to live without morality might mean for a species that needs morality to live.