The Green Road to Serfdom
Green New Deal Socialism Means the Death of the Economy—and the Environment
The Green New Deal’s most ardent supporters want you to know they’ll accept no compromise on their plan to radically restructure America—just in case you thought you could meet them in the middle.
In November, a list of 263 (mostly tiny) environmentalist groups signed an open letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) demanding Congress pass Green New Deal legislation, which was introduced in February by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
It’s the second such open letter to reach Capitol Hill; the last one was signed by 626 groups (leading one to wonder what happened to the other 363 supporters).
To date, both letters have gotten about as far as the $10 trillion Green New Deal has—that is, nowhere, save in the minds of the hardline eco-revolutionaries who demand nothing less than the complete annihilation of the nation’s economies in order to save the planet from climate change.
The Red New Deal
What is new about this particular paean is how quickly it dispenses with the climate change façade to get to the activists’ real agenda: pushing bright-red socialism with a dab of green paint. The Green New Deal sweeps away the Left’s delicate 40-year plan to convince Americans that global warming has absolutely, positively nothing to do with socialism and goes for the jugular:
The need for a Green New Deal is more pronounced than ever, as marginalized communities are impacted by intersecting crises of climate change, increasing income/wealth inequality, and rising white nationalism and neo-fascism. [emphasis added]
And here you thought that climate change had something to do with the climate. That’s a big admission, considering just how often liberals once dismissed conservative climate skepticism as “right-wing conspiracy theories,” as Salon put it in 2015. In 2013, Britain’s Guardian chided center-right fears of “watermelons”—green on the outside, red on the inside—as requiring “an impressive degree of paranoia.” And, of course, there’s the Left’s favorite blanket phrase for shutting up non-believers: “climate change deniers.”
Yet the Green New Deal is recognition from the most devoted environmentalists that climate change is just another name for social justice, which is just another name for wealth redistribution and totalitarianism—a dictatorship of the proletariat, if you like.
These aren’t New Deal liberals. In fact, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s signature policy is one of the accomplishments most despised by the Green New Deal’s supporters because, as they write, it “excluded and was especially harmful to African American, Indigenous and LatinX people.” The policy’s supporters have more to say about the plight of minorities, victims of what they call “environmental racism,” than the environment. Some highlights include:
- “We must honor the treaties protecting Indigenous lands, waters, and sovereignty by the immediate halt of all . . . projects affecting or on Indigenous lands.”
- “We must also provide increased protections and restitution for Black and Indigenous farmers who have been systematically discriminated against for generations.”
- “The climate crisis is a symptom of a system that exploits and extracts from our natural resources and our people, particularly frontline, vulnerable and Indigenous communities disproportionately burdened by the fossil fuel economy.”
If that sounds more like the racial separatism of Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael than John Muir’s Sierra Club, you’re not alone.
The environmentalist Left is increasingly run by overt socialists who use the “climate crisis” as cover to advance the most revolutionary ideas in American history. The language of activists such as Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg is strikingly similar to the anti-American tirades of Cold War communists such as Jane Fonda. Thunberg merely labels global warming, not U.S. imperialism, a “crisis of human rights” created by “colonial, racist, and patriarchal systems of oppression.”
Unlike yesteryear’s environmentalists—liberals and conservatives who celebrated America’s pristine clean water and air standards—these folks want socialism and are willing to say whatever it takes to get it.
It was outrageous when NASA senior director and global warmer James Hansen told Congress in 2008 that fossil fuel company “CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.” That dangerous and authoritarian conspiracy theory—that greedy oil companies are wrecking the climate to selfishly turn a profit—is now mainstream on the eco-Left. It’s been adopted by the libertarian-turned-liberal Niskanen Center, which has argued that “oil companies should be held accountable for climate change” through lawsuits.
At a recent Democratic presidential debate, socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) announced on national television his intent to “prosecute the fossil fuel executives who knowingly destroyed the planet” (as if we’re living on a dead rock):
And by the way, the fossil fuel industry is probably criminally liable because they have lied and lied and lied when they had the evidence that their carbon products were destroying the planet, and maybe we should think about prosecuting them as well.
This is the language of revolution and “comrades’ courts,” not reform. Of course, Marxist-Leninists have been arguing as much for years. The International Committee of the Fourth International, a communist group, has argued that global warming requires the advent of a single, global communist state able to control the worldwide means of production and flow of resources.
The editor of Ireland’s Marxist Review recently called socialism “the only realistic solution to climate change,” praising Greta Thunberg for mocking capitalist “fairy tales of eternal growth.” Australia’s Freedom Socialist Party wrote last year that “global warming demands fundamental change, not market ‘solutions’”—adding that “there is something deliciously communistic about a power plant on every roof, contributing to the common energy pool!”
Soviet Environmental Disasters
Ironically, the largest and most powerful socialist country on Earth—the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics—was also the worst environmental offender in history.
Most people are familiar with the Chernobyl disaster, the worst nuclear catastrophe to date. Far fewer are aware that in the 1960s the Soviets also destroyed the Aral Sea, once the world’s fourth-largest lake but now little more than a desert hellscape. In their haste to establish an enormous cotton belt in Central Asia, Soviet central planners caused the lake to dry up, leaving a massive, salty basin populated by toxic chemicals, pesticides, and graveyards of rotting fishing towns and container ships.
Moscow’s water supply is still tainted by heavy metals, mercury, and other contaminants left from the Soviets. Russia’s government estimates that an incredible 35–60 percent of the country’s drinking water is unsafe for consumption. So much for green communism.
The record of socialism is enough to condemn it a thousand times over. Americans should reject it as they always have—no matter what color of mask it wears.