Walter Williams, a professor of economics at George Mason University, in his article "Dead Wrong," rubbed the noses of several prognosticators of environmental catastrophes in their own words. A favorite whipping boy of environmental critics is Paul Ehrlich, author of "The Population Bomb," published in 1968, for daring to make forecasts that did not all come true.
Born in 1932, Ehrlich had seen the world's population double from 2 to 4 billion in a generation, and estimates were that it would double again in possibly less time (it's now at 7.5 billion). He saw food shortages in the world, saw the correlations between population and consumption, and logically deduced food production and other resources were reaching their limits.
To be fair to cherry-picked comments made almost 50 years ago, they should be framed in the context of both their time and available data. In his book, Ehrlich acknowledged his projections might not be exact, but that did not diminish the need for a course of action to address consequences of too many people consuming a finite planet's resources. It still doesn't.
Seemingly Williams' short article was to provide yet another straw in breaking the back of environmental voices, chiding, "Hoodwinking Americans is part of the environmentalist agenda." Since to hoodwink is generally defined as to deceive, to trick, to fool, to hoax, etc., I must say enviros have had their hands full. In spite of decades of work, they are still having to inform and convince their fellow humans that water is being polluted by every source imaginable -- oil pipeline spills, fracking, industrial releases, pesticide residue, sewage, plastic, chemicals, heavy metals, pig poop, etc.
Air pollution is different now than when Ehrlich first wrote about carbon dioxide and the greenhouse effect. He says it was a decade later he learned "the roles of methane, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons." Enviros have long pushed for alternatives to smokestacks up our noses, coal-burning power plants being high on that list. Fossil fuel exhaust from planes, trains and automobiles lingers in most of our lungs, and acid rain eats at us and our crops, forests and oceans, and even wears down stone and corrodes metal.
Oh, wait! I guess none of these things are actually happening if the environmental agenda is really a hoax. What a relief!
I can't wait to inform all the species on the brink of extinction that their disappearance from the earth is a fantasy made up by biologists. And cities will be thrilled to know solid waste, sewage and lead-leaching water pipes are also sick fantasies of enviro minds hell bent on spreading fear for all the fame and fortune it brings them. If environmental concerns have really just been trickery, it must actually be OK to drink from any puddle without concern, eat any food soaked in bug poisons, inhale toxic smoke in big gulps, spread lethal dioxins on crackers like peanut butter, and dump mining waste into watersheds. No harm done, right?
Speaking of agendas, let's consider Mr. Williams' own. He who says "Americans have paid a steep price for buying into environmental deception and lies" works for a university that by 2010 had received almost $30 million from the Koch brothers, the oil industry barons. A cut of this treasure went, conveniently, to the school's non-profit Mercatus Center ("mercatus" is Latin meaning "market"), an economic policy think tank, which the Washington Post has described as "staunchly anti-regulatory." That's putting it mildly when agendas are up for discussion, especially the agendas of Koch Industries. (See: "The Koch Brothers: Covert Operations")
One would be rather naive to think that even a public university could maintain an unbiased curriculum and faculty with some of the world's richest sugar daddies cuddling their hip pockets with tax-free gifts, while whispering that climate change is a hoax. Further slashing of weakened regulations on fossil fuel industry operations on land and in the sea, as well as polluting corporations of all kinds, is a dream coming true for these rapacious titans and their ilk. Their agenda is to make money no matter that they rape the earth doing it. Agenda-wise, I know of no environmentalists who have gotten obscenely rich from defending this planet.
Mr. Williams is right about being wrong. If we are lulled into even more complacency, while corporate masters continue to plunder life's basic requirements of air and water, we will have been wrong to allow it, and will be dead because of it.
Commentary on 05/09/2017
Print Headline: Depths of denial