No More Green Guilt

By Keith Lockitch

Every investment prospectus warns that "past performance is no guarantee of future results." But suppose that an investment professional's record contains nothing but losses, of failed prediction after failed prediction. Who would still entrust that investor with his money?

Yet, in public policy there is one group with a dismal track record that Americans never seem to tire of supporting. We invest heavily in its spurious predictions, suffer devastating losses, and react by investing even more, never seeming to learn from the experience. The group I’m talking about is the environmentalist movement.

Consider their track record—like the dire warnings of catastrophic over-population. Our unchecked consumption, we were told, was depleting the earth's resources and would wipe humanity out in a massive population crash. Paul Ehrlich's 1968 bestseller, The Population Bomb, forecasted hundreds of millions of deaths per year throughout the 1970s, to be averted, he insisted, only by mass population control "by compulsion if voluntary methods fail." 

But instead of global-scale famine and death, the 1970s witnessed an agricultural revolution. Despite a near-doubling of world population, food production continues to grow as technological innovation creates more and more food on each acre of farmland. The U.S., which has seen its population grow from 200 to 300 million, is more concerned about rampant obesity than a shortage of food. 

The Alar scare in 1989 is another great example. The NRDC, an environmentalist lobby group, engineered media frenzy over the baseless assertion that Alar, an apple ripening agent, posed a cancer threat. The ensuing panic cost the apple industry over $200 million dollars, and Alar was pulled from the market even though it was a perfectly safe and value-adding product.

Or consider the campaign against the insecticide DDT, beginning with Rachel Carson's 1962 book Silent Spring. The world had been on the brink of eradicating malaria using DDT—but for Carson and her followers, controlling disease-carrying mosquitoes was an arrogant act of "tampering" with nature. Carson issued dire warnings that nature was "capable of striking back in unexpected ways" unless people showed more "humility before [its] vast forces." She asserted, baselessly, that among other things DDT would cause a cancer epidemic. Her book led to such a public outcry that, despite its life-saving benefits and mountains of scientific evidence supporting its continued use, DDT was banned in the United States in 1972. Thanks to environmentalist opposition, DDT was almost completely phased out worldwide. And while there is still zero evidence of a DDT cancer risk, the resurgence of malaria needlessly kills over a million people a year.

Time and time again, the supposedly scientific claims of environmentalists have proven to be pseudo-scientific nonsense, and the Ehrlichs and Carsons of the world have proven to be the Bernard Madoffs of science. Yet Americans have ignored the evidence and have instead invested in their claims—accepting the blame for unproven disasters and backing coercive, harmful "solutions."

Today, of course, the Green doomsday prediction is for catastrophic global warming to destroy the planet—something that environmentalists have pushed since at least the early 1970s, when they were also worried about a possible global cooling shifting the planet into a new ice age.

But in this instance, just as with Alar, DDT, and the population explosion, the science is weak and the "solutions" drastic. We are told that global warming is occurring at an accelerating rate, yet global temperatures have been flat for the last decade. We are told that global warming is causing more frequent and intense hurricanes, yet the data doesn’t support such a claim. We are warned of a potentially catastrophic sea level rise of 20 feet over the next century, but that requires significant melting of the land-based ice in Antarctica and Greenland.  Greenland has retained its ice sheet for over 100,000 years despite wide-ranging temperatures and Antarctica has been cooling moderately for the last half-century.

Through these distortions of science we are again being harangued to support coercive policies. We are told that our energy consumption is destroying the planet and that we must drastically reduce our carbon emissions immediately. Never mind that energy use is an indispensable component of everything we do, that 85 percent of the world's energy is carbon-based, or that there are no realistic, abundant alternatives available any time soon, and that billions of people are suffering today from lack of energy.

Despite all of that, Americans seem to once again be moving closer to buying the Green investment pitch and backing destructive Green policies. Why don't we learn from past experience?  Do you think a former Madoff investor would hand over money to him again?

It's not that we're too stupid to learn, it's that we are holding onto a premise that distorts our understanding of reality.  Americans are the most successful individuals in history - even in spite of this economic downturn - in terms of material wealth and the quality of life and happiness it brings. We are heirs to the scientific and industrial revolutions, which have increased life expectancy from 30 years to 80 and improved human life in countless, extraordinary ways. Through our ingenuity and productive effort, we have achieved an unprecedented prosperity by reshaping nature to serve our needs. Yet we have always regarded this productivity and prosperity with a certain degree of moral suspicion. The Judeo-Christian ethic of guilt and self-sacrifice leads us to doubt the propriety of our success and makes us susceptible to claims that we will ultimately face punishment for our selfishness--that our prosperity is sinful and can lead only to an apocalyptic judgment day.

Environmentalism preys on our moral unease and fishes around for doomsday scenarios. If our ever-increasing population or life-enhancing chemicals have not brought about the apocalypse, then it must be our use of fossil fuels that will. Despite the colossal failures of past Green predictions, we buy into the latest doomsday scare because, on some level, we have accepted an undeserved guilt. We lack the moral self-assertiveness to regard our own success as virtuous; we think we deserve punishment.

It is time to stop apologizing for prosperity. We must reject the unwarranted fears spread by Green ideology by rejecting unearned guilt. Instead of meekly accepting condemnation for our capacity to live, we should proudly embrace our unparalleled ability to alter nature for our own benefit as the highest of virtues.

Let’s stop wallowing in Green guilt. It’s time to recapture our Founding Fathers' admiration for the pursuit of each individual's own happiness.

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Keith Lockitch,  PhD in physics, is a resident fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute, focusing on science and environmentalism.

The Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights is located in Washington, DC. It is a Division of the Ayn Rand Institute, whose mission is to advance Ayn Rand's ideas. To learn more go to www.aynrand.org

Apparel company The North Face recently stated that it would no longer make jackets for oil and gas companies because it doesn't want to be associated with the fossil fuel industry. In response, Colorado-based oil and gas company Liberty Oilfield Services rented full billboard ads to remind The North Face of the truth: "Globally, 60% of all clothing fibers are made out of oil and gas. For North Face, it is likely 90% or more."

Liberty CEO Chris Wright joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Tuesday to discuss just how much of our economy — beyond outdoor apparel and energy — wouldn't exist in a world without fossil fuels. And he warns that many companies are now deeming this truth to be "controversial."

"I have been for years, trying to get a real, honest dialogue about energy going," Chris told Glenn. "So we took this opportunity to point out that North Face jackets are ... almost completely made out of oil and gas. How can you choose not to associate with the essential material your equipment [is] made out of? So we put a billboard up ... the billboard says, 'That North Face puffer looks good on you. And it was made from fossil fuels.'"

"Most billboard companies did not want to run that billboard. They thought it was controversial," he added. "And Facebook put a hold on our brief video just saying the jacket looks good, this is what it's made out of. In today's world, that is controversial."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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During a lecture at the Yale School of Medicine's Child Study Center, a New York City-based psychiatrist told students and faculty that she fantasizes about "unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way," among several other shockingly race-hating statements.

In April, Dr. Aruna Khilanani — a New York-based forensic psychiatrist and psychoanalyst — delivered the talk called "The Psychopathic Problem of the White Mind" virtually as part of the Yale School of Medicine's "Child Study Center Grand Rounds," a lecture program for "trainees in child psychiatry, psychology, and social work, faculty, clinicians, and scientists."

On the radio program Monday, Glenn Beck shared several quotes from an audio recording of the lecture provided by Bari Weiss, a former opinion writer and editor for the New York Times.

Here are a few of Khilanani's statements from the audio:

  • "This is the cost of talking to white people at all. The cost of your own life, as they suck you dry. There are no good apples out there. White people make my blood boil."
  • "I had fantasies of unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way, burying their body, and wiping my bloody hands as I walked away relatively guiltless with a bounce in my step. Like I did the world a f***ing favor."
  • "White people are out of their minds. And they have been for a long time."
  • "White people feel that we are bullying them when we bring up race. They feel that we should be thanking them for all that they have done for us. They are confused, and so are we. We keep forgetting that directly talking about race is a waste of our breath."
  • "We are asking a demented, violent predator who thinks that they are a saint or a superhero, to accept responsibility. It ain't gonna happen. They have five holes in their brain. It's like banging your head against a brick wall. It's just like sort of not a good idea."

"We must take a stand. We must speak out, because this is evil," Glenn said in response to Khilanani's shocking lecture. "I don't care who you voted for, you know this is evil."

Watch the video below for more details:

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The prices of our houses and food are already rising fast, but they will skyrocket to record highs if we don't fix the problem soon. So what's causing the inflation?

On the radio program this week, Glenn Beck said he doesn't believe it's the fault of our loggers, farmers, or truckers — many of them are really struggling. But the big corporations that control these industries are making record profits, all while the Biden administration is making some very odd decisions that could make the crises even worse.

Watch the video below for more details:

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The crisis at the border continues to worsen, with the U.S. Border Patrol recently releasing some shocking statistics that illuminate just how bad the situation has become. But Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) is doing everything he can to prevent any additional unlawful crossings into the Lone Star State.

Abbott joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Wednesday to describe recent action he has taken to ensure that those who do cross into Texas illegally know they came to the "wrong state."

After noting that both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris "have completely abandoned post as it concerns the Texas border," Abbott explained how "Texas is stepping up" to combat the flood of dangerous gangs and cartels, human traffickers and drugs he says are pouring into border communities.

"Beginning in March, I deployed a thousand Texas Department of Public Safety officers to the border. I deployed the National Guard to the border. And they made well over a thousand arrests of some of these criminals we talked about. They've apprehended more than 33,000 illegal immigrants coming across the border." Abbott said. "But because of the way the Biden administration has abandoned the border, we are now elevating our game. What I did yesterday, in response to more than a dozen counties along the border ... I granted their request for a disaster declaration," he added.

Abbott went on to describe how his disaster declaration gives Texas the authority to toughen penalties for lawbreakers, including criminal trespassing, smuggling, and human trafficking.

"We're going to begin arresting everybody coming across the border and charging them with criminal trespass and putting them in jail. They are coming in here, thinking they'll get the Biden free-ride, and go wherever they want to go. Not in the state of Texas. We'll start arresting them right and left, and putting them behind bars, and saying they came in to the wrong state."

Asked by Glenn if he is prepared for the inevitable "media onslaught", Abbott simply answered, "We're prepared to see a reduction in the number of people coming across the border — because Texas is enforcing the law, period."

Watch the video clip below for more:


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