Many of my friends have long referred to environmentalists as “watermelons”—green on the outside, red on the inside. The idea is that because communism and socialism (interchangeable political/economic systems in practice) have visibly failed everywhere they’ve been imposed, doctrinaire socialist zealots, being unable to accept reality, have embraced environmental causes as a backdoor way to get socialism adopted in Western liberal democracies. After all, who doesn’t care about the environment?
A recent admission by Saikat Chakrabarti, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, concerning the much-hyped Green New Deal (GND) reinforces the view socialists are using the environment to replace private property and free exchange in the market with state control of the economy.
In a meeting with Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington reported by the Washington Post, Chakrabarti said addressing climate change was not Ocasio-Cortez’s reason for proposing the GND.
“The interesting thing about the Green New Deal, is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all,” the Post reports Chakrabarti told Inslee’s climate director, Sam Ricketts. “Do you guys think of it as a climate thing? Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.”
This admission did not surprise me much. As far too many youth have increasingly embraced socialism—showing no understanding of how capitalism has made possible the iPhones, laptops, instant messenger and social media services, and latte shops found on nearly every street corner, these products they so cherish as sources of instant gratification—socialists are becoming more honest about the true aims of the policies they are pushing.
For instance, in the run-up to negotiations culminating in the Paris climate agreement, at a press conference in Brussels in early February 2015, Christiana Figueres, then executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, stated the global warming scaremongering going on for more than 25 years at the United Nations was about controlling peoples’ lives by controlling the economy, not fighting climate change.
“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” Figueres said, continuing, “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history.”
Others who have highlighted the anti-capitalist agenda motivating climate alarmism include professors Joshua Goldstein and Steven Pinker, who, in an article in the Boston Globe, said progressives were using the climate change fight to push big government action on a laundry list of “longstanding social ills such as inequality, corporate greed, racism, and political corruption…. Naomi Klein’s campaign to ‘change everything’ casts global warming as an opportunity for the left to step up its various crusades.”
To be clear, GND would constitute a complete socialist makeover of the U.S. economy—the culmination of years of effort by watermelons. GND’s package of government handouts combined with a government-directed industrial policy is straight out of the old Soviet playbook, promising, among other things, well-paying jobs and health care for all while calling for a complete makeover of America’s housing stock, its transportation system, and its entire energy system, all by 2030.
Perhaps the more than 100 Democrat members of the U.S. House and Senate who rushed to sponsor or publicly embrace GND—including Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), accounting for most of the senators vying for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president—are finally being honest about their fealty to socialism. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has always honestly proclaimed himself a socialist, so his support for GND should surprise no one.
Socialism kills. From the former Soviet Union to Cuba, from North Korea to Venezuela, everywhere socialism has been tried it has robbed people of freedom and their property, produced economic stagnation and misallocation of resources, and directly or indirectly resulted in millions of deaths. The socialist policies promoted in the GND under the guise of saving the Earth are no less deadly than previous utopian socialist schemes.
Both the human race and the environment will benefit when we permanently consign all such delusional national or international socialist plans to the dustbin of history.
Editor’s Note: This essay was originally published in The Heartland Institute’s Climate Change Weekly newsletter. Republished here with permission.
PHOTO: Rachael Warriner/Shutterstock.com. Washington, DC/USA- May 13, 2019: Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez speak about the importance of a Green New Deal at a town hall organized by the Sunrise Movement. – Image.
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.