As I watched the Lakers beat the Houston Rockets, a commercial caught my eye. It features a man walking, starting in the 1970’s, with his clothes and hair changing through years as walks. Across the decades he always wears t-shirts that say “Save the Planet” or “Save the Earth.” At the end of the spot he gets into a Honda Civic.
How does driving a Honda Civic save the planet? Does driving a car with good gas mileage make that much of a difference in any respect? Does it pollute that much less than a gas guzzler? Does it emit that much less CO2? Does it put off the day we will supposedly run out of gas that much? And if the driver drives more because of the money he saves on gas, doesn’t that offset any small benefits that might come with better mileage?
Moreover, what does it mean to save the planet? The planet is an inanimate object. It will continue to orbit the sun regardless of what kind of cars we drive on it.
Let’s imagine one of the environmentalists’ fantasies is true, and we are running out of oil. If we continued to drive gas guzzlers, then we would wake up one day to the horrible news that the oil is all gone. Civilization would suffer around the globe. People would be forced to walk or ride a bicycle. Manufacturing and production would decline. Millions would die.
We would have exactly the world the environmentalists want! Less production and fewer humans is their ideal, isn’t it? The end of oil would be the best thing that could happen by their standards.
If the environmentalists really believed oil was so scarce that it was about to disappear, they would campaign for people to use as much gas as possible. They would want people to drive the biggest cars possible. The more gas we consumed, the quicker we would get to ecological nirvana. Instead, they want people driving as little as possible, and they want everyone driving the shoe boxes we drive these days instead of the land yachts we used to drive.
Environmentalists want us to conserve gasoline for the same reason they want us recycling scraps of garbage. “Saving the planet” has nothing to do with the planet; it’s about sacrifice. It’s about getting people to renounce values — to live lives more deprived than they would live if they pursued their own selfish happiness.
Environmentalism is fundamentally an altruist ideology. Environmentalists hate the individual pursuing his happiness, producing wealth and consuming it as he does in a capitalist system. Anti-capitalists have always hated the selfishness of capitalism.
Capitalism depends on exploiting the world we live in. The ecology movement attacks capitalism at its root, by claiming that production and consumption are bad for “the environment.” By whose standards? By those who do not want man reshaping the world for his selfish happiness. Good and bad can only apply to humans. The planet has no consciousness, and cannot care what kind of cars we drive. Environmentalism comes down to what some people want. They want it because of their altruist-collectivist-statist premises.
The state can force people to live deprived lives — it does so now and it will do so even more in the future. However, the surest way to defeat capitalism is to persuade people to renounce values voluntarily. Get people to think that morality lies in sacrifice, and the war is over. The anti-capitalists win.
The war is not entirely over yet, but the New Left has been waging its ideological war for about 50 years now. Public school students are taught for 12 years to equate material sacrifice with morality. Environmentalism is everywhere in our culture. To some it serves as a religion. There’s a lot of work to do in this war. First we need to spread a rational philosophy. We need to fight bad philosophy with good philosophy. I hope it’s not too late.