December 8, 2005
Socialism's Trojan HorseBy Vasko Kohlmayer
It seems not a month goes by when we are not treated to some dire environmental prediction. Only last week we were told that Europe is on the verge of being plunged into an ice—age of sorts. And this as a result of global warming of all things. Allegedly involving disruptions in the flow of the warmth—exuding Gulf Stream, the mechanism behind this impending calamity is admittedly not easy to grasp. Howard Dean conceded as much himself, but he then quickly added that he had spoken to Al Gore who had explained the whole thing to him with eye—opening clarity. Yet a few days later Mr. Dean was still unable to coherently explain the theory on national television. Confused but undeterred, Mr. Dean told us that we should all go and 'listen to Al. He knows so much about all this, it's just amazing.'
We will have to take his word for it. After all, Al Gore should know since he has been in the business of expounding on catastrophic environmental scenarios for many years. Needless to say, he is the perfect epitome of the environmentalist zeal which has been inundating us with doomsday forecasts since the 1960s. None has come to pass yet, and it does not look one will take place any time soon. In this connection, one cannot but bemoan the fate of countless trees felled for all the books and articles inscribed with those missives of doom. Yet in spite of their zero prediction value, the influx of such theories shows no signs of abatement.
Fortunately, the outlook has improved (for trees) with the advent of the internet, which Mr. Gore has once claimed to have invented. The e—book would appear to be an especially responsible means of ecological panic—mongering, since it is paperless and can be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. A click of a mouse deletes it painlessly from your hard drive — no recycling required. This technique should make us not only responsible stewards of our planet's resources but also of our personal time.
Incidentally, those allegedly shrinking natural resources are not only as plentiful as ever, but we have more of them as we have become more adept at discovering new deposits. This should come as a relief to those who have been listening for decades to warnings and rants about how we are consuming our planet into depletion. Today that critical point is apparently no closer than it was when the depletion mania began. We would do well to remember how the environmentally—conscious were giving us only a decade (two at the most) to mend our profligate ways. We never really did, and yet we are still here. Our environment is cleaner than at any time since the start of the Industrial Revolution and we have access to more raw materials and natural resources than ever before. All this thanks to one of the greatest wonders that has ever appeared on the face of our planet — free—market capitalism.
One can only wish that the green lobby could be laughed off, but unfortunately it can't. Despite all of its unfulfilled prophecies and the apparent wackiness, it has become a powerful force on the western political scene. Laughter can be therapeutic, but it does not change things in the political arena, at least not in this instance. Not yet. What we need more than anything is to understand the true nature of the environmental campaign so that we can properly grasp its insidious nature and inherent dangers. Let us begin, then, with some basic observations.
A strong centralised state which controls society's means of production is — as Marx emphatically taught — the central feature of socialism. Tellingly, this is also the state of affairs toward which environmentalism inexorably inclines, and which it has been remarkably successful in effecting.
Environmentalism derives its impetus from an ominous insinuation:
This kind of oversight, environmentalists argue, can only be carried out by a government with the power to implement the radical measures called for by the gravity of the impending crisis. One of them is production targets for various business sectors to ensure that the levels of pollution do not exceed acceptable standards. Another is to compel businesses to conduct their commerce in environmentally 'friendly' ways.
Since businesses normally resist these kinds of measures — as they make their operation more costly and difficult — government must have at its disposal extensive monitoring capabilities to ensure compliance. But most importantly, it must have the power to persecute and punish those who refuse to submit.
All environmental efforts thus lead — in one way or another — to a government that has more and more control over the private sector until it inevitably becomes its supreme arbiter. By incessantly expanding its powers at business's expense, environmentalism is furtively realising the essence of socialism — a strong state which oversees and controls society's means of production.
In short, a careful look at the policies and measures advocated by environmental activists cannot but lead us to the conclusion that the movement is being used as a cover for advancing a leftist agenda.
The movement's true nature can be seen not only from its effects, but also from its appeal to credentialed leftists.
The case of Mikhail Gorbachev is a case in point. The last president of the Soviet Union, he is now one of the world's most prominent enviromental activists. A strange role, indeed, for a man who once led a nation with such an abysmal record. During its existence the Soviet Union wrought monumental ecological damage including the greatest man—made environmental calamity ever — the explosion of a nuclear reactor at Chernobyl — which happened on Mr. Gorbachev's watch.
The way he handled this crisis tells as much about his real attitude to the environment as about anything else. His first reaction was not to launch a clean—up operation, but to conceal the fact. Initially he and his politburo comrades denied that anything happened at all. Then, when radioactive clouds reached countries hundreds of kilometres away, he claimed that it was only a 'minor' accident. It was only under the pressure of growing evidence that Gorbachev finally admitted the truth. While mounting the cover—up, the time and energy that could have been used to contend with the unfolding ecological disaster were irretrievably lost. But that was not all, for Gorbachev also decided to sacrifice the lives of thousands whom he refused to evacuate or even notify of the danger. Scores died and countless others suffered from diseases caused by exposure to radiation. Many could have been saved had Gorbachev and his comrades done the decent thing. Chernobyl is a striking demonstration of communists' characteristic disdain for both human life and the environment.
Today the man who presided over this tragedy is President of Green Cross International and one of the leading campaigners on the environmental circuit. What an irony that he is worshiped by those who regularly use violence against businesses whose ecological impact is marginal at best. There are no such bad feelings for Gorbachev, who should really be their enemy number one for the eco crimes he committed in the Soviet Union. Yet they honour him as their hero. How are we to explain this?
Gorbachev's statements make it clear that even after the Soviet collapse he remained a committed communist. Since he could no longer credibly operate under the banner of Marxism—Leninism, he had to look elsewhere for his ideological home. This he found in the enviromental movement whose leaders were only too eager to embrace someone whose fundamental views they share. The fact that Gorbachev is responsible for more ecological devastation than any other individual in history has been cheerfully dismissed by the same people who blacklist others for infractions negligible in comparison. We should not be surprised, given that the movement is — in its heart — far more intent on implementing a leftist agenda than on protecting nature. The transformation of Mikhail Gorbachev from a staunch Marxist—Leninist to a prominent environmentalist is a revealing illustration of this.
Gorbachev's conversion from red to green is not an isolated instance. Many other former communists have also expressed their enthusiasm for the environmental cause. This should make us immediately suspicious. It is hard to accept that those who not so long ago made up brutal regimes are suddenly so concerned with the fate of trees and butterflies. Can anyone really believe that Gorbachev — a man who did not hesitate to sacrifice the lives of thousands of his people — truly cares about some obscure marshland birds on whose behalf he now makes speeches?
The real reason for this transmutation is the discovery by former communists that the environmental movement can be easily used as a vehicle for their continued efforts. In this they are being aided by their green comrades from the West with whom they are now jointly implementing a socialist agenda right under the eyes of the largely unsuspecting populations.
In a very real sense, environmentalism is a Trojan horse. Hauled into western democracies as the guardian angel of their survival, it has been used to chart a course that would have had little chance of being accepted without its camouflage. Capitalism—averse forces in their green disguise have been thus able to shape societies by trumping up the threat of ecological annihilation which was never real in the first place.
They have already made considerable progress by boosting up states that control increasingly larger portions of the means of production. Countries like Germany and France show us just how effective their efforts have been. Marx himself would not have been displeased. Even though the ideology bearing his name has been discredited, its basic principles are nevertheless being furtively realised.
Socialist elements which were always a formidable presence in 20th century democracies did not abandon their cause with the worldwide downfall of communist regimes. They have merely changed their mode of operation. Today they pursue their objectives surreptitiously under the guise of good causes, having duped well—meaning people with their cover—up programme. The devious manner of their functioning is one of the reasons why they have been able to achieve such impressive gains.
There is constant evidence that the nature and goals of socialists have not changed. The only thing different now is their colour.
Vasko Kohlmayer defected from Communist Czechoslovakia at the age of 19. He lives in London and works in the publishing industry. He can be contacted at email@example.com.