Something disturbing and ominous is happening in Great Britain as the country embarks on an all-out fight against the threat of global warming. Intent on making Britain the world’s first "green" economy, the government will soon introduce legislation designed to take SUVs and other "gas guzzling" vehicles off the road. By sharply increasing driving levies, the authorities intend to force car owners into making "more sustainable travel choices, including greater use of public transport, walking and cycling."
At the same time, homeowners will be asked to make their homes "carbon neutral" and required to draw their energy primarily from low or zero carbon sources such as wave, tide, solar or nuclear power. To ensure compliance, the government will send out inspectors to scrutinize everything from how a home is insulated to the kind of appliances it uses. Those who fail to meet the decreed standards will be fined and penalized. Just how serious the government is about enforcement can be sensed from the words of Environment Secretary David Miliband who stated — while unveiling the program — that it would be "painful" for home owners to continue to have an "energy inefficient home."
These sentiments were echoed by a group of cabinet ministers who said that complying with the new regulations will necessitate sweeping changes in lifestyle across the board. Everybody in Britain, they concurred, will have to "live, work and travel differently."
It is essential that we see these developments for what they really are: A thinly-veiled attempt by devotees of the state to take over a western society the like of which has not been seen since the Soviet-sponsored revolutions of the late 1940s.
The practical consequence of these plans — should they succeed — will be a radical empowerment of the state which will end up with virtually unlimited powers to regulate nearly every facet of life. Everything from the way people travel to the manner in which they furnish and maintain their homes will now be subject to governmental decree and oversight. Those who refuse to comply will be punished — and severely so — if the words of Miliband are anything to go by.
This is precisely why the idea of man-made global warming so appeals to those on the political left. Being ideological cousins of erstwhile socialists, they share a desire to expand government regardless of the cause or issue they ostensibly espouse. In global warming they have sensed the perfect opportunity, for if the underlying claim is true and the planet is indeed headed for destruction, then the impending catastrophe can only be averted by united action on a grand scale. And such action can only be taken by a strong state which has been granted a wide range of powers to deal with this life-or-death crisis.
What makes the global warming scenario even more appealing is that the chief perpetrator is none other than the left’s perennial villain — the business establishment. After all, most of the pollutants are emitted into the atmosphere by unscrupulous businesses as a by-product of their relentless pursuit of ever greater profits. Close second on the list of culprits are us the people whose excessive consumption, runaway appetites and outright recklessness further exacerbate the already critical situation.
The way to safeguard our survival, then, is for government to exercise strict control over both business and the masses. This will be done through taxation and regulation, which, admittedly, will have to be severe at times. But no one should object or complain, since it is only to be expected that this extreme emergency calls for extreme measures. Thus the alleged threat of man-made global warming is used as a means of realizing the left’s perennial dream of society administered by a powerful state.
Those on the left have sought to affect this state of affairs for many decades, but until now their efforts have met with vigorous resistance throughout much of the Western world. Not surprisingly, given that it is a world built on the ideals of economic and individual freedom and the principle of limited government.
But by invoking the specter of global warming, the left no longer has to fight tooth and nail for every tax increase or additional regulation. Alarmed by apocalyptic predictions, the frightened populations will now voluntarily and even eagerly turn over their money, freedoms and rights. Fearing for our lives, no tax will seem too excessive or regulatory burden too intrusive. After all, no decree or law can seem too extreme if our very survival is at stake. Believing we face an imminent doom, we shall readily submit to a governmentally mandated compact we would never agree to under normal circumstances.
This time there will be no resistance to this revolution as the state refashions almost all existing relations and usurps the rights and powers that properly belong to the private sphere. There will be no fierce street fighting such as accompanied the bloody revolutions of the past. This time around people will give up their freedoms willingly and even with gladness.
Even Karl Marx himself could not be wholly displeased with the state of affairs toward which the global warming alarmism is inexorably inclining: A vastly empowered state exercising tight oversight over virtually every dimension of life. The only departure from Marx’s original vision is the means by which this will be achieved. It will not come about as a result of bitter class struggle, but of a crusade by environmental activists to save the planet.
The tremendous efficacy of the global warming frenzy in advancing the left’s agenda can be seen in Britain where state zealots are in the process of taking over one of the world’s oldest democracies. Above all, no one should make the mistake of assuming that this is the work of environmental extremists who have somehow managed to worm their way into positions of power and influence. Rather it is the inevitable consequence of accepting the claim of man-made global warming. As such, it is a dire warning of what lies in store for all those who receive this left-induced hysteria as unassailable truth.
When similar measures are finally proposed in America — as they inevitably will be — we must be prepared to expose and call them for what they really are: A ruse to bring about the socialist dream of an all-powerful state in charge of every aspect of our lives.