Lets see if I can pick up where I left off.
You think that I am saying lets discount environmentalism; I certainly am not. I am discounting the green movement as it has evolved, especially over the past two decades. No one in their right mind promotes wanton destruction of the environment. However, when a movement takes on terroristic tactics to stop activities like responsible logging (where more trees are planted than cut down) in the Pacific Northwest based on falsely creating appearances of turn of the 20th century lumber barons raping the forests, that goes way beyond responsible environmentalism. Same tactics goes for oil and minerals exploration and nuclear power.
Moreover, destruction of rain forests has nothing to do with free markets or capitalism. If it did, totalitarian countries (like the former USSR, PRC, North Korea, etc.) would have the best environments – yet they are/were the most polluted hell holes you could imagine.
What you do not see is that in a free market environment, the incentive (and regulations) is there to leave the environment pristine so that you can continue to profit from it.
Even the EPA says we are environmentally cleaner than 40 years ago. And in comparison to ‘green’ Europe? Guess who is doing a better job? The U.S.!
Your apparent indirect assertion that clean environment is a socialist thing misses the point as you can see. Your explanation of why the green movement is dominated by Marxists today is “they are Marxists because they also realize how corporations are exploiting resources under the guise of “free markets”.” My assertion on the other hand is that environmentalism must be common sense and as clean environment would maximize profits over the long run, free markets are the best solution. That is why we out-perform the more progressive countries in most of Europe and elsewhere when it comes to cleanliness.
By the way, I have nothing against James Lovelock. He is considered the father of the movement, but as I said, his movement got hijacked by today’s greens for their insidious agenda.
Enough said on this subject for now.
You say that rationing (energy, etc.) can be an enabler of democracy and point out that I said it was a great way to bring about social change. I said that in a critical way. Government policy should not be for bringing about social change in a free society.
In the same paragraph, you wonder why we do not have democracy instead of a republican form of government since internet is so available to the masses. If we had pure democracy in the 1960s, there would probably be no civil rights legislation. How do you feel about that? Direct democracy is wide open to mob rule and political instability and the only instance where it has worked relatively well is Switzerland (with its small and relatively homogenous population). In a republic, we have representative government that curbs such potential abuses of power. The founding fathers established a form of republican Democracy as the framework because (as explained- I believe- in The Federalist #10) a direct democracy creates, among many other things, tyranny of the majority. Benjamin Franklin even questioned future generations’ ability to “keep it” – he was right! He prophetically said: “Once the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” Our republican form of government is now as corrupted as the doomed republican government of ancient Rome.
Due to human nature, money in politics has corrupted our political process. A congressman has to practically start raising money for his next race the day he is elected. Lobbyists run amok with wads of cash, ready to oblige.
Politics must be made to be a service to the nation once again. Not a place to enrich one’s self or get entrenched for the next 30-40 years. Here are my drastic proposals to reform the system:
Take all money out of politics. All cash and equivalents are forbidden. Lobbyists can still lobby based on the merits of the causes they represent.
All elections are publicly funded. No private money of any kind.
Congressmen can only serve limited terms (no more than 2 terms)
Strip all outrageous benefits that congressmen have (immediate retirement benefits, cheap healthcare, etc.)
Regarding how green policies would eventually destroy the free market system, you reply: “I understand the concept, but I’m not sure there is any impact to the dissemblance of free markets. The markets are already established? Would they just disappear? The government would come in and shut down all of the businesses? I don’t understand why you think government regulation of the economy is such a terrible idea. Moreover, even in our “free market” system, there is government intervention when it fails. Look at the bailouts. I’d love to hear your opinion on the bailouts of investment banks and the auto industry.”
Let me explain this way. Transition to complete dependence on the central government takes place one step at a time, over a long period of time (unless you are talking about a sudden, overnight coup). As more and more onerous regulations are piled up, cost of doing business goes way up. Case in point, in 2008, regulations were estimated to cost $1.75 trillion to the U.S. economy, or 12.5% of the G.D.P. Some of that cost was obviously warranted but there is also a good portion that is useless, or at times redundant.
As the costs are passed on to consumers, they have the effect of impoverishing people (other than the absolutely necessary ones). At the same time, these regulations (ones designed to change our habits and condition us to live by the ‘prescribed’ way) accomplish the social change necessary for transitioning in to a collectivist system. As more and more people are impoverished, reliance on government increases proportionally. Once you render a critical mass of people helpless to take care of themselves by welfare policies that are akin to giving people a fish (as opposed to teaching them to fish), you can democratically transition in to a centralized collectivist system.
Do you remember when I talked about the spectrum between laissez faire system and communism? Everything else on that spectrum is a slippery slope on the way to collectivism. Dependence begets dependence. It is a self perpetuating vicious cycle (and that is why poor inner city dwellers rarely escape the cycle). See how people in Greece react to austerity measures? They do not care that they are insolvent. All they want is their government assistance (at whatever the cost)!
My opinion about the bailouts is not favorable (especially untenable ones like the auto manufacturers). For the system to recover healthily, it must be allowed to crash. If you prop it up, it will take much longer to recover (like housing market). Again: free market principles. One caveat however. Almost all these crisis/recessions occur thanks to government screwing around with stuff like housing policy, burdensome regulations designed for social policy, etc. Another reason to dislike big government. I am sure this will be discussed further, later.
Your assertion that poverty in the U.K. is “attributed to a widening gap between the rich and the poor from a reliance on capitalistic ideals” does not make any sense when you look elsewhere. By that account, we should be even poorer here, instead of having the highest standard of living in the G20. Also, how about Switzerland, etc.? Makes no sense and you cannot explain such a sophomoric statement by citing any evidence.
I’ll tell you why the U.K. standard for most people is lower than you would expect. With the exception of a relatively short Thatcher rule, U.K. has had the most socialistic governments of any in Western Europe (not including Nordic countries). That is why. It is an outright welfare society, practicing welfare capitalism. Again, what impoverishes Brits isn’t the amount of money they make. It is the cost of living thanks to high fees and taxes to support the welfare society.
Regarding gasoline, it is expensive all over Europe. They buy it at the same price (whatever the spot market price happens to be) that we do and ship it a shorter distance to boot, despite your attempt to tie their supply and prices they pay. It is, once again, all sky high taxes – gasoline, food, or whatever. Taxes in the U.S., despite being high, are no where near the VAT Europeans pay (upwards of 25% by itself, before any other taxes and fees)
You bet I am mad at our energy policies. Past few presidents have all slept at the wheel. We have plenty of resources when you include the proven undiscovered reserves, but again, the environmentalists and progressives who are bought off by them (and otherwise spineless Republican politicians) will not let that happen. I have a couple of articles that I wrote on that on my blog, if you care.
Part three will be discussing your and my views of constitutional republic. Till then, have a nice day.