The Secular Theology of the Green New Deal

A quote attributed to C.S. Lewis stated: “Once people stop believing in God, the problem is not that they will believe in nothing; rather, the problem is that they will believe anything.”

Today, among secular leftists, radical environmentalism has attained the status of theology and their catechism is the “Green New Deal.”

A wish list framed as a set of policy proposals, the Green New Deal demands the obliteration of our nation's energy infrastructure as expiation for our sin of material prosperity and requires faith that something will come along to replace it.

Bloomberg conservatively estimates the costs of the Green New Deal at $6.6 trillion per year. Other cost estimates are higher. “To put that in perspective,” writes economist Brian Wesbury, “in the past twelve months the federal government has raised $3.3 trillion in revenue, including $1.7 trillion in individual income taxes, and spent $4.2 trillion.”

In other words, said Wesbury, “it's an impossible fantasy that would require tax collections at least three times higher than today.” Yet, as of this writing more than 70 Democrats in the House, and a dozen in the Senate have signed on to this lunacy.

Forced to defend the particulars, many of its supporters retreat into the defense that its a “conversation” starter. But since the Green New Deal is based on the assertion by its chief proponent that the planet has only twelve years to survive, it’s a conversation that could only take place inside an insane asylum. The Green New Deal specifically excludes an expansion of nuclear power, so it’s unrealistic even on its own terms.

The radical environment agenda is not public policy, its dogma.

One person who understood this was the late Dr. Michael Crichton, the celebrated science-fiction writer and author of Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain, and other best sellers. Fifteen years ago, Crichton released his techno-thriller, State of Fear, which challenged the claims of the global warming alarmists. Rereading it today, in light of the Green New Deal, one is impressed not only with Crichton’s grasp of the science, but with his prescience in forecasting how modern environmentalism has morphed into a quasi-religion, complete with heresies and predictions of the apocalypse.

In State of Fear, Crichton suggests that radical environmentalism is essentially a politically correct narrative designed to advance an agenda. The agenda is social control through irrational fear. As one of his characters puts it: “Industrialized nations provide their citizens with unprecedented safety, health, and comfort... Average life spans increased fifty percent in the last century. Yet modern people live in abject fear... [T]hey are convinced that the environment of the entire planet is being destroyed around them. Remarkable! Like the belief in witchcraft, it's an extraordinary delusion -- a global fantasy worthy of the Middle Ages.”

And the delusion is fed by the corrupt universities. “The modern state of fear could never exist without universities feeding it,” Crichton's character says. Echoing Orwell, he observes that the modern university invents new terrors, new social anxieties, new restrictive codes, words you can't say, thoughts you can't think. “There is a particular neo-Stalinist mode of thought that is required to support all of this... The notion that these institutions are liberal is a cruel joke.”

There is also spiritual conflict at work of which Crichton was quite aware. The Biblical worldview sees man as steward of the environment. The environmentalist movement rejects the Biblical view and substitutes a new-age quasi-religious belief based on earth worship.

In a speech before the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, Crichton said

“Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western world is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it’s a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.”

Crichton considered himself a political agnostic. And while he thought climate research was impressive, it was simply not good enough to justify radically transforming energy policy. “I never thought the idea that you can’t predict the future would be controversial,” he once wrote.

The threshold question with any environmental action is whether the benefits outweigh the harm. Economist Thomas Sowell has observed that, in life, “there are no solutions, only trade-offs.”

This line of thought is heresy to the progressive left. The Green New Deal is a search for paradise on earth, a return to an Edenic past. For the true believers, there is no room for trade-offs. Their religion is radical environmentalism and they do not observe separation of church and state.

You can follow Nicholas J. Kaster on Twitter.

If you experience technical problems, please write to