Craig Steiner, u.s.
Common Sense American Conservatism
About Me & This Website
I've often ended up debating people with decidedly liberal ideals--both Democrats and environmentalists--only to be frustrated. Not that they have somehow debunked me or that they're right and that I'm wrong. It's that they're just plain dishonest about their goals.
Let me say up front that I don't think all Democrats and all environmentalists are dishonest. I think most people--both liberals and conservatives--do what they honestly think is right and what is best. The problem is, the Democrats and the environmentalists aren't honest about their real positions. At least not the prominent leaders of those groups.
In all candor, the ultimate goal of both radical global-warming based environmentalists and Democrats is identical and straight-forward: Wealth redistribution based on the idea that the rich should give up their money to make the poor better off.
Reviewing the Goals of Environmentalism
Consider the most significant environmental effort of the last decade and a half: The Kyoto Protocol . This agreement supposedly was meant to reduce global CO2 emissions. However, of the 174 countries that signed the accord, only 36 developed countries were required to actually reduce emissions. The others, including CO2-producing giants such as China and India, were not required to reduce emissions.
Given such an arrangement it is clear that any company in the 36 developed countries that could not sufficiently reduce their emissions would simply move their operations to one of the 138 countries that were not subject to reductions; in addition, those exempt countries also were developing countries that could offer a much lower labor cost which further would increase the incentive of companies to move their operations there.
The logical result of such an arrangement would be the flight of CO2-intensive industries from wealthier developed countries to poorer developing countries. The poor countries would get richer while the wealthier countries would get poorer. People in poor developing countries would find jobs while people in wealthier countries would lose theirs as the industries moved abroad.
And CO2 production would not be decreased. CO2 production would simply be moved to those parts of the world where it is permitted. But in the context of global climate change, the CO2 would still be produced. Thus there would have been no environmental benefit to Kyoto.
If Kyoto wasn't going to produce any net benefit to the environment, what was the one thing it was guaranteed to do? Globally redistribute wealth from wealthier countries to poorer countries. And that's why the U.S. Senate, under Clinton, rejected the protocol 95-0--it's not that the U.S. was against making changes to address climate change; it was simply opposed to a treaty that would have no positive effect on the environment but which would cost Americans jobs.
Reviewing the Goals of Democrats
This could be contentious, but once you get through the nonsense, Democrats are essentially in favor of wealth redistribution, too.
In virtually any national election it seems that Democrats want to raise taxes on the rich and lower them on the poor--pure and simple wealth redistribution.
Likewise, Democrats constantly want to push for higher minimum wages--purportedly because they think it will help the poor. Even if this were to work, it would simply be giving more money to the poor at the expense of the wealthy and middle class.
Clearly, the populist agenda of the Democratic party is also wealth redistribution.
I Just Want Honesty
The problem with both the Democrats and the environmentalists is that they try to make the case for their goals with bogus data and conclusions.
The environmentalists cannot make the case that Kyoto should have been adopted because any rational analysis will come to the obvious conclusion that there would have been no benefit to the environment but that wealth redistribution would have occurred. Further, environmentalists are often pressed to the "we have to do something even if we're wrong, just in case" precisely because the data doesn't come anywhere close to conclusively supporting their position on the merits.
Likewise, the Democrats are forced to make silly claims that "the rich got rich while the poor got poorer " and "the rich must pay their share" and appear to class envy and emotions because they know that, economically and objectively, their policies fail. Likewise, Democrats try to pretend that you can increase minimum wage without increasing unemployment and without causing inflation when both logic and widely understood economic theory conclusively suggest the otherwise.
So, inevitably, Democrats and environmentalists are forced to engage in losing efforts to defend their position because they are trying to misrepresent data in such a way that would support their position. But the data doesn't support their position. They can try to squeeze it, massage it, bend it, and--as a last resort--modify it, but the true facts do not support their positions.
Why is that? Because they're trying to make logical arguments on something that is inherently philosophical.
Philosophical Question: Wealth Redistribution
When one wastes time with Democrats and environmentalists arguing matters of fact, one must understand that we're all ignoring the 800lb gorilla in the room. This is not a matter of fact, it's a matter of philosophy.
Should we, as a nation or a world, engage in wealth redistribution? It's a really simple question with an admittedly complex answer.
In a Utopian world, everyone would help their fellow man and their fellow man would receive that help with an implied social contract to better themselves so that they wouldn't require that help from others in the future. In such a Utopia, clearly the wealthy would be morally compelled to do what they could to help the poor get ahead. The Democrats and environmentalists seem to think we live in such a Utopia.
The rest of us recognize that as attractive and desirable as such a world is, we do not live in it. Welfare has clearly shown that if you give the poor a handout, a large number of those poor will simply continue reaching out their hand for more and more help. Politics has shown that those programs we institute to "help" the poor soon become considered "entitlements" that the poor then think is their God-given right to receive, and we're pro-poverty if we question those entitlements. Socialism has shown that such concepts do not work at a national level.
Recognizing the reality of the world we live in, there's little moral justification for the rich to be compelled to "help" others when it's entirely unclear whether the "others" will reciprocate with an honest effort to better themselves and become self-sufficient. We do not live in Utopia and Utopian plans will not work.
So the real question to ask when a Democrat or environmentalist starts misrepresenting cold hard facts is simply: Do you support wealth redistribution? Because all their gyrations and manipulations of the fact ultimately are to support that end. Save yourself time and cut to the chase and address this.
Personally, I would respect Democrats and environmentalists far more if they simply came out and said "We think it's morally right to take money from those that have more and give it to those that have less, even if it leads to a weaker economy." If they just said that then we could discuss that on its relative merits. They wouldn't have to bend the facts because we'd be discussing a matter of philosophy, not a matter of indisputable facts.
Should we redistribute wealth? I personally don't think so. History has clearly and indisputably shown us that wealth redistribution does not better society but simply leads to more broad-based suffering and provides a lack of incentive to reduce that suffering.
But if the Democrats and environmentalists think otherwise, I wish they'd say so. Then we could discuss their philosophy out in the open on its moral and economic merits.
Of course, I think the reason they don't do this is because they know that wealth redistribution is not something that most people support. So they choose to bury their goals in a lot of lies, nonsense and smoke and mirrors.
And that's why I don't respect the people that do this.
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