By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2008 4:20 PM PT
Ideologies: Once in a while the truth accidentally tumbles out on global warming activists’ real agenda. That’s exactly what happened at the U.N., when Bolivia’s leader called for ending capitalism to save the planet.
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Delivering the keynote address at the United Nations forum on Indigenous People on Monday, Bolivia’s President Evo Morales told the adoring crowd that “if we want to save our planet earth, to save life, to save mankind, we have a duty to put an end to the capitalist system.”
Morales elaborated on that by calling for an end to “unbridled industrial development, extraction of natural resources, excessive consumption of goods and accumulation of waste.”
More conveniently, he also demanded that trillions of dollars from the West be diverted to places like Bolivia, “to repair the earth.”
Seldom has the environmentalist agenda to end the capitalist system been laid out so plainly.
But in reality, it’s capitalism — combined with the framework that enables it to flourish, like rule of law and property rights — that has lifted billions of people out of poverty and improved the environment. Contrary to Morales’ assertions, the most capitalist countries are also the cleanest.
According to a 2006 study by the Heartland Institute, free enterprise does more to protect the environment than state intervention.
“The nations that have the best track records on environmental protection and improvement are those with the highest amount of free-market capitalism,” wrote Samuel Aldrich and Jay Lehr, in “Free Enterprise Protects the Environment.”
Morales is a Marxist, so the environmental records of the communist and socialist systems he touts to save the earth are instructive.
After communism fell in Eastern Europe, some of the biggest revelations were about how vast the pollution was in countries where no one was permitted to own or care for land.
Getting rid of capitalism created the black rivers of China, filled Eastern Europe’s skies with unfiltered coal and diesel exhaust, brought deforestation that’s led to sandstorms in China, spilled oil that destroyed Siberian lakes, and poisoned land with mercury and nickel waste in large swaths of Eastern Europe and Cuba.
It also brought the still-dead nuclear devastation of Chernobyl. Diverse as these regions are, the lack of capitalism means there was no accountability or incentives to save the earth.
And, sadly, it’s still that way now. According to the Blacksmith Institute, the 10 most polluted places on earth are in Azerbaijan, China, India, Peru, Russia, Ukraine and Zambia, all of which have long histories of communism, socialism or nationalist isolation, the very alternatives Morales proposes to replace capitalism.
Morales’ attack on capitalism represents the real agenda for the radical environmentalists. They seek global governance and an end to private property, an unsalable concept given the record of communist countries. So they’re marketing it under a new brand name, wrapped in the greener concept of “saving the earth.”
Milking the West’s fascination for the exotic, Morales has the game down flat. “We feel that we have the ethical and moral right to talk about these things as indigenous peoples because we have historically lived in harmony with Mother Earth,” he said. “It is indigenous peoples who have defended this Mother Earth, Planet Earth.”
For that, he’s feted in the radical-chic circles of Manhattan as an indigenous font of truth — a real Aymara Indian from Bolivia and thus, wiser about conserving the planet than us ordinary mortals.
The patronizing attitude is obvious in statements like U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s:
“Indigenous peoples live in many of the world’s most biologically diverse areas. As custodians of these lands, they have accumulated deep, firsthand knowledge about the impacts of environmental degradation, including climate change. They know the economic and social consequences, and they can and should play a role in the global response.”
What’s really going on with the people Ban extols is something else: “Too often their real agenda is power — power to remake the economic and social systems to suit their own command and control goals, not to serve the public good as they so loudly proclaim,” Aldrich and Lehr wrote.
Romanticization of nature to promote state control hasn’t had it this good since the days of Rousseau’s noble savage. The only problem for environmental radicals, of course, is that sometimes the designated “savages” accidentally reveal the truth.