The Environmentalist Crusade Against Progress and Technology Aims at Making Man’s Life a Hell on Earth

by | Aug 8, 2000 | Environment

We are fortunate enough to live in the US at the beginning of the 21st century and enjoy all the benefits of modern science and technology. Human life is now longer, healthier and richer than ever before. But not everybody is happy about it. Some people would rather have us go back in time and […]

We are fortunate enough to live in the US at the beginning of the 21st century and enjoy all the benefits of modern science and technology. Human life is now longer, healthier and richer than ever before. But not everybody is happy about it. Some people would rather have us go back in time and sacrifice it all. They are the advocates of Environmentalism.

Environmentalism is not, as many naively think, a movement to protect the environment for man. It is rather a movement to protect the environment from man. But man could not have risen from the caves without exploiting the environment: without burning wood for light and fire, mining metals for tools, cutting trees for shelter, or draining swamps for farming. And man cannot survive today without industry and technology, both of which run on energy.

Energy lights our homes and cities, keeps us cool in summer and warm in winter, moves our cars, ships, trains and airplanes, powers our industries and factories, and creates all the material goods on which our lives depend.

The whole of our civilization depends upon the production and use of energy. But there is not a single viable energy source that Environmentalism does not attack.

Environmentalists are against burning coal and oil to generate electricity or to power our transportation. They claim it causes too much pollution and contributes to an alleged global warming. Though there is no scientific consensus that the latter is true, or even that it would be harmful if it were true, environmentalists are demanding that fossil fuels’ use be stopped or severely reduced.

Environmentalists are also against energy generated by nuclear plants. They claim nuclear power is unsafe and a threat to our lives. But the fact is that there are over four hundred nuclear plants in operation around the world, which have been safely producing electricity for forty years. France, for example, gets over seventy five percent of its electricity from nuclear power. The famous incident in Chernobyl, used to discredit nuclear power, was the consequence of a disintegrating, corrupt and negligent Communist government. It did not reflect an intrinsic lack of safety in nuclear plants, but an intrinsic lack of safety in Communist rule.

Amazingly, environmentalists also oppose hydroelectric dams. Since dams produce no pollution or radiation, one would think the Greens would welcome this alternative energy source. But they condemn it on the ground that dams disfigure the natural environment and adversely affect wildlife species.

Environmentalists, pretending not to be against all energy sources, conveniently champion unviable ones, such as wind and solar energy. These are not practical options in most contexts. The sun does not shine at night, and may frequently be obstructed by cloud cover at daytime. Winds are irregular and unpredictable, and stand no chance of generating even a fraction of the power we need. Moreover, with present technology their costs far exceed those of other energy sources. But make no mistake, if they ever become viable, the environmentalists will turn against them too. Some are already attacking windmills for causing visual pollution!

It is important to note that environmentalists offer no alternative solutions to our needs of energy. All of their efforts aim instead at banning, stopping, restricting and reversing all progress. There is not a single industry or technology that Environmentalism does not attack, directly or indirectly. Let us take a quick look at two basic and ancient ones: logging and mining.

Environmentalists demand that logging be made illegal. But no logging means no paper, no furniture, and no homes. Are we willing to live without them? Can we?

Environmentalists are also fiercely opposed to mining. But without mining we would not have iron or steel to make plumbing, tractors, bridges, railroads or skyscrapers. We would not have copper wires to transmit electricity, or surgical instruments to save our lives. We would not have any kind of tools or machines: no household appliances, no cars, no computers, no nothing. We would literally go back to the Stone Age, if they ever let us use the stones, that is.

And this is the true evil nature of Environmentalism: the obsession to see us all reduced to the level of animals, barefoot and naked, filthy and sick, miserable and helpless.

But the Environmentalist movement will not succeed, hard as it may try, to take us back to savagery — not without our help. Let us not sanction Environmentalism’s evil, or pretend it is anything other than a movement for human misery on Earth.

Let us proudly defend the value of our industrial civilization and the technological progress that makes our lives ever better, healthier, and longer.

David Holcberg, a former civil engineer and businessman, is now a writer living in Southern California. He is a former writer for the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, Calif. The Institute promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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