. Now gas prices have skyrocketed, with Hoosiers paying 68% more at the pump compared to this day last year. High energy costs hurt everyone and are a direct result of the mindless decisions made by Joe Biden. Nothing to argue with here, except for one thing: Maybe the Biden administration’s decisions were not “mindless.” Maybe they’re just the opposite: Maybe they’re all part of a plan—a plan, as Joe Biden said in 2020, to “fundamentally transform the country.” To be sure, from a Democratic political point of view, it’s a counter-productive plan; it could cause Democrats to lose elections. And yet from a progressive ideological point of view, it all makes sense; it’s in keeping with the long march of a certain kind of leftism, begun more than a century ago. President Joe Biden speaks to the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate, from the East Room of the White House on April 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Without a doubt, the lefty greens who dominate the Biden administration are thinking big—and they’re in a hurry. In a hurry, that is, to reach their long-sought end point on environmentalism. As they wrote in the Democratic Party’s 2020 campaign platform: We agree with scientists and public health experts that the United States—and the world—must achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, and no later than 2050. We can pause over the vaulting ambition here: Net-zero greenhouse gases, not just for America, but for the world. Yet it soon becomes clear that the Biden greens’ main focus is the United States. The same platform document calls for “eliminating carbon pollution from power plants by 2035.” And since the Chinese are still building coal plants, that means, as a kind of compensation, that the Democrats must come down all the harder on American carbon-fuel plants. The greens have to have a win somewhere! Similarly, the Democratic platform focuses heavily on electric cars, ASAP, because, after all, in the writers’ minds, Teslas are cool and Buicks are not. Yet most of all, the platform urges urgency. Phrases such as “climate change,” “climate crisis,” and “climate risks” appear hundreds of times of times in the document. It’s clear: This is what a certain tranche of elite Democrats—the kind that sit around, reading and writing position papers—truly believe: As President Biden said on November 1, climate change is “an existential threat to human existence.” The sun sets near a coal-fired power plant on the Yangtze River in Nantong in eastern China’s Jiangsu province on Dec. 12, 2018. (Chinatopix via AP) So yes, they still believe in the Green New Deal. To be sure, the exact words “Green New Deal” are no longer used—they were laughed off the political stage in 2019—and yet the concept of deep eco-transformation is still central to progressive hearts. Nowadays, though, it goes by other names, such as the Great Reset. Guided by such existentially ambitious thinking, of course the Biden administration has sought to kibosh carbon-based fuels, starting with—on his first day in office—canceling the Keystone Pipeline. Now some might wonder: What about jobs? To which the Great Resetters reply, in effect, Jobs, schmobs—that was all just boob bait for Biden voters. What really matters is decarbonizing the planet. Obviously, in addition to hurting employment, such cancellations were going to raise the price of carbon-based energy, including gasoline. And in fact, for most of this year, the White House insisted that higher gas prices were all to the good—the greater good (or is it greater god?) of decarbonization. Indeed, higher energy prices are baked into the Democrats’ multi-trillion-dollar reconciliation bill; as energy expert Alex Epstein pointed out on November 30: “Build Back Better,” aka “Make Everything Worse,” promises to further restrict US oil production and increase prices via: 1. new bans on offshore drilling, 2. a costly methane tax that only applies to US production, and 3. many other oil taxes and penalties. Democrats insist that they are going full speed ahead on this legislation, which Sen. John N. Kennedy (R-LA) variously dubs “Build Back Bonkers” and “Build Back Broke.” And yet electoral-minded Dems have started to notice that this approach isn’t popular. Biden’s approval rating on handling the economy fell into the high 30s last month, and we have yet to see what happens to his poll numbers when everyone realizes that inflation is non-transitory. Already, according to a recent poll cited in The New York Times: 72 percent of registered voters wanted Mr. Biden’s top priority to be getting inflation under control and fixing supply chain issues, compared with 21 percent who thought the priority should be new spending on social services, health care and green energy. So we can see: Nearly three-fourths of Americans want Biden to focus on curbing inflation, compared to 21 percent who want him to focus on everything else, including the Dems’ sacred “green energy.” And since Biden is doing the opposite of what the vast majority wants, Democratic political fortunes are sinking; according to the betting site PredictIt, Republicans have a 71 percent likelihood of winning the U.S. Senate next year, and an 83 percent probability of winning the House of Representatives. Yet true-believing greens have their eye on their grand goal, which to them is vastly more important than grubby politics. Thus Biden climate chief John Kerry, who shrewdly married into billions—and who used his donor-class clout to muscle his way into the administration—said loftily on December 1, “We have to be phasing out coal plants five times faster.” That’s not exactly the way to woo Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and his key senate vote, but Kerry is too rich to care about “little people.” So now we mere mortals might step back and ask: How did we get here? How did we end up with an intensely ideological administration committed to an unpopular agenda? U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry delivers a speech at COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 2, 2021. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images) The Root of Zealotry: Progressive Technocracy Michael Lind is a professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Which is to say, he’s not exactly a Tea Party or Trump Republican. And yet in a long article for Tablet, this scholar applies a critical eye to the Biden-Kerry administration’s green zeal, which he sees as just the latest manifestation of “progressive technocracy.” Lind explains that progressive technocrats trace their lineage back a century or more, to the days President Woodrow Wilson. That’s when “prog-techs” got the blessing to start reordering American society in ways that a Princeton University professor (which Wilson once was) would approve of. As Lind writes: [Their] utopia is a planned society administered by social scientists and technical experts. In it, social engineers, insulated from democratic accountability and wielding vast authority, are empowered to devise long-range plans to promote social and environmental goals, which are handed over to deferential elected officials to implement with few changes—against the opposition of the ignorant masses if necessary. Here Lind pauses to make a key point: The progressive technocrats are not communists. That is, they don’t sit around thinking of Bolshevizing the means of production, nor do they look forward to living in propertyless communes and wearing egalitarian Mao suits. Instead, the prog-techs like to live well, and they are quite friendly to capitalism, albeit capitalism in its most elitist, cronyistic, and woke form. It’s that tight relationship with money, Lind explains, that’s the source of their power: They are financed by capitalist wealth, shoveled toward them by “Silicon Valley and Wall Street moguls who find technocracy the most congenial version of liberalism.” Yet make no mistake: There’s an iron fist inside this liberal glove. And that’s what we’re seeing with climate change, as the technocrats embrace this new issue as a rationale for doing what they’ve always wanted to do: bend the citizenry to do their bidding. As Lind explains: Rising concern about global warming in the last three decades has given progressive technocrats an opportunity to move from the political sidelines to the center. Because of the “climate emergency,” the various causes of twentieth-century progressive planners—high-density housing, replacement of automobiles by mass transit, renewable energy—are no longer matters of personal taste. Now these generations-old top-down social engineering schemes are necessary to save the planet. If these plans are not immediately adopted into a war-like mobilization, progressive technocrats claim, civilization will collapse, and hundreds of millions or billions of people—perhaps humanity as a whole—will die. Got that? Do as the prog-techs tell you, or die! And thus we can see that one needn’t be an all-out communist to nonetheless think like Josef Stalin or Pol Pot. In reality, the notion that climate change is some sort of immediately deadly emergency is a non-fact. That’s the view of Ted Nordhaus, a preacher of reason at the Breakthrough Institute, writing in The Economist. Nordhaus does not dispute that climate change is happening, and yet he points to truths that are inconvenient to prog-tech climate-alarmism: Deaths around the world from climate-related disasters are at an all-time low. People’s vulnerability to extreme weather has fallen rapidly in recent decades. Recent research in Global Environmental Change shows that climate vulnerability has declined the most in recent decades among the poor globally, owing to the resilience that comes with economic growth and development. And that’s the point: We can survive changes in the weather the same way that we survive changes in anything: with brains and the ability to adapt. That’s why have roofs over our head, and heat and electricity—because we built them, for our safety and comfort. And if we need to build newer and better, we’re smart enough to do that. Another climate-rationalist, Bjørn Lomborg, made similar points in his 2020 book, False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet. As the author explains, the impact of climate change, by the end of the 21st century, will amount to about 2.6 percent of world economic output. In dollar terms, that’s a huge amount, and yet in percentage terms, it’s obviously small—and so it’s manageable. We just have to figure out how to manage it, Lomborg continues, through a combination of carbon dioxide reduction (nuclear power, carbon capture) and physical mitigation (sea walls, water pumps). It should be noted that we might have to do all this adapting no matter what we do, or don’t do, on carbon dioxide, because the earth is getting warmer, seemingly for reasons far beyond our control. In fact, the entire solar system is getting warmer, most notably, the planet Venus. (Who does Greta Thunberg blame for that?) Still, whatever the cause of earthly climate change, we probably do have to do something to adapt. Here experts Nordhaus and Lomborg agree: With the right mix of human brains and economic resources—resources that can only come from continued growth—we can calmly solve whatever challenges loom ahead. In the meantime, this much is obvious: The whole progressive technocratic doomsday argument is somewhere between a false alarm and a hoax. We may need to take action, but we don’t need John Kerry and the Green New Dealers Great Resetters to tell us what to do, or how to do it. Yet at least for now, the Bidenite prog-techs are in charge. So how did that happen? How have they come so far in Resetting us? Perhaps because the prog-techs have been boosted by a partner—a partner across the Pacific Ocean. Qui Bono?—Who Benefits from the Green New Deal? Michael Lind is crisp and to the point: The green progressive-technocrats have a de facto ally in the People’s Republic of China. And China is the big winner in the Green New Deal, the Great Reset, or whatever else it might be called. Needless to say, the Red Chinese regime itself isn’t the least bit green. As noted, the country is still building coal plants. However, the Beijing capitalist-communists have been clever: They have used their cheap coal-powered electricity—and slave- or semi-slave labor—to dominate the world market in the manufacture of solar panels. And now the American prog-techs want America to buy them from China, by the boatload. Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way. We could mandate that the green technology we use must be Made in USA. However, it would take a few years to stand up these new industries, and the green prog-techs say that we can’t wait, because of the urgency of the “climate crisis.” Chinese workers inspect a solar panel at the Tianxiang Solar Energy Equipment Factory in Huaibei, east China’s Anhui province on March 21, 2012. (STR/AFP via Getty Images) Not surprisingly, for their own reasons, the Chinese agree: Buy solar panels from us. Now. This is the de facto alliance: American greens and Chinese reds. Lind writes: It is thus no coincidence that American supporters of the Green New Deal tend also to be dovish toward China in matters of trade, arguing that the coming climate crisis gives the United States no time to rebuild its own capacity to manufacture equipment needed for renewable energy installations.
The green prog-techs say: Never mind China’s human rights abuses, or its threats to neighbors, or its ongoing theft of American intellectual property. As Kerry has said, the chief concern must be climate change. To that end, just on December 2, The Washington Post reported that the Biden administration was lobbying against Congressional efforts to get tough on blood-stained Chinese exports. In the cutting words of Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), the Bidenites are lobbying “because John Kerry wants to import solar panels made by slave labor.” For American greens, it’s climate first. For Chinese leaders, it’s China first. .
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