Raging Right Wing Republican

For those of us who are politically informed, and therefore Republican.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Dinesh D'Souza on environmentalists

Liberals think that conservatives don't care about the environment. But this is silly. We like trees, rivers, and baby seals as much as the next guy. Indeed, as conservatives, we should be dedicated to conserving God's green Earth, and we are. It is hard to quarrel with the environmentalist claim that the ecosystem is a precious and fragile thing, and that man has the power to destroy it. The stewardship of nature is now a human responsibility.

The problem with environmentalists is that the movement seems to have been taken over by enviro-nuts: vegans, organic farmers, fruit-juice drinkers, tree-huggers, and earth-worshippers. These people do not have a reputation for being rational. Indeed, they seem to operate in perpetual alarmist mode. Thus they routinely exaggerate the threat that economic growth, technology, and human beings themselves pose to the planet. Moreover, the solution of many environmentalists—to restrict growth, to oppose "artificial" technologies such as pesticides and bioengineering, and to limit the aspiration's of the world's peoples—is impractical and harmful. . . .

They have warned that the earth is running out of food and water, that pollution levels never abate, that the population of the earth is surpassing the earth's capacity, and that massive human and ecological disasters are imminent. In reality, agricultural production per head has risen; known reserves of fossil fuels and metals are greater than previously thought; economic growth has produced lower birth rates and successful efforts to reduce pollution levels, and none of the horrors predicted by the environmentalists have come to pass.

. . . the solutions of the environmentalists are even less plausible than their forecasts. How likely is it that environmentalists can persuade people in the West, and in the Third World, to limit their aspirations to have a better life? How convincing is it to say to a Brazilian farmer, "We are more concerned about the rainforest than your efforts to feed your family?" Does it make sense to tell a poor logger, "Don't cut down those trees because they are the home to a very rare breed of ant?" There is virtually no chance for such arguments to succeed. . . .

The basic flaw of the environmentalist approach is its unremitting hostility to growth, affluence, and technology. Indeed, growth, affluence, and technology are the best hopes for saving the earth. Rich people—not poor people—join environmental protection groups. Only when countries become rich do they start worrying about pollution, and have the resources to tackle the problem. Moreover, affluence is nature's best contraceptive: it is a universal demographic law that when countries become wealthier, their birth rates drop. Indeed, the wealthiest nations have birth rates so low that they are considerably below replacement levels.

Finally, technology—not the naturalistic lifestyle—is the best way to preserve the environment. Organic farming, for instance, provides employment for lots of poor, simple folk, and produces crops that upper-middle class people are willing to pay more for. Organic farming, however, is inefficient. It consumes vast tracts of land to produce very small potatoes and strawberries. High-yield farming is vastly more efficient. Pesticides and bioengineering help farmers produce the most crops out of the least amount of land. When we get higher yield on our farms, we leave more room for wilderness.

By opposing the solutions that have the greatest chance to work, the environmentalists reveal themselves to be unwitting enemies of the planet. We cannot rely on these people to save the earth. Rather, conservatives must assume the responsibility of being the true stewards of creation.

(Dinesh D'Souza, Letters to a Young Conservative [New York, NY: Basic Books, 2005], 167-170)

2 Comments:

Anonymous Niall Mac Dragard said...

Out here around Cape Canaveral, they have a cookout called "Plant-Awareness Day". Hot dogs and hamburgers are served with buns made out of chicken breast instead of bread. Gravy is the only condiment, and milk is the only drink.

Tue Dec 18, 07:48:00 AM EST  
Blogger mAc Chaos said...

Burgers without Coke? Heresy.

Wed Dec 19, 02:09:00 AM EST  

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