We Cannot Worship Nature and Remain Free

When I heard Barack Obama promise to bankrupt the coal industry I did not hear a man at war with coal — I heard a man at war with man. His harsh words for the coal industry sprang from his near deification of nature and his subsequent willingness to sacrifice not only our livelihoods in the name of “environmental responsibility” but our freedom as well.

Obama’s exact words were: “[I] would put a cap-and-trade system in place that is…as aggressive if not more aggressive than anybody else’s out there, so if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can, it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.” These are the words of a man who puts nature above his fellow man, and sadly, the words of the man whom we will call “President Obama” after January 2009.

What many people outside of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia may not realize is that coal is one of the two main fuels we use to create electricity in this country (the other is natural gas). Thus, when Obama drives the coal industry into bankruptcy through taxes to save an environment that is not as fragile as it is worshipped, we will suffer and suffer immensely.

Obama knows this is so. Therefore, prior to his election he warned consumers that if his anti-coal policies were to be implemented “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” What happened to all the love for financially burdened middle-class Obama campaigned on?

Our Founders loved nature but they did not worship it. Yet today, lovers of nature often turn out to be worshipers of it as well. Whereas our Founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor in light of the fact that they rested on our Creator to view their cause as just, today’s call is for us to trade our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor for whatever is required to save an endangered animal or end “global warming”. Obama not only calls us to make this trade for nature’s sake, but to do so gladly, with a repentant spirit in light of our greediness and overuse of the world’s resources in the past.

While Obama is by no means the first person to hold this exaggerated view of nature, it is understandable that he does; particularly because environmentalism has long provided cover for Marxists and Socialists the world over. The language of environmentalists crept into the U.S. vernacular though the Progressive Movement’s support of evolutionary theory during the first two decades of the 20th century. Through that movement, socialists pushed a worldview counter to the Christian worldview with the explicit pursuit of things like “social justice” and progressive, redistributive taxes (thus the adoption of a “progressive” federal income tax in 1913 which comes full circle in Obama’s current pledge to “spread around the wealth.”).

Peter Staudenmaier, in his essay “Fascist Ecology: The ‘Green Wing’ of the Nazi Party and its Historical Antecedents,” has demonstrated how socialists and fascists during World War II took up where the Progressive Movement left off. During the war they used environmentalism as a cover for everything from the pursuit of technology in harmony with nature to “a total conversion from technology to nature.” It is in the name of this same environmentalism that Obama has told us “we can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times” because it’s not fair to the rest of the world.

In other words, we have to give up our favorite cars, we have to give up our favorite foods, and we have sleep with our windows open instead of using air conditioners in pursuit of a socialist harmony because it’s our environmental duty toward other nations.

No one has seen the dangers of such dogmatic, authoritative environmentalism more clearly than Czechoslovakian President Vaclav Klaus. He lived through the Soviet Union’s domination of Czechoslovakia during the Cold War, and understands that “the environmentalists’ attitude toward nature is analogous to the Marxist approach to economics. The aim in both cases is to replace the free, spontaneous evolution of the world (and humankind) by the would-be optimal, central or – using today’s fashionable adjective – global planning of world development.”

Klaus knows firsthand that dictators, progressives, and “socialists have been very effectively destroying human freedom under humane and compassionate slogans, such as caring for man, ensuring social equality, and fostering social welfare.” And all such slogans are an outgrowth of the attempted upheaval of Christianity through the systematic implementation of the worship of nature.

Ultimately, Klaus says this environmental approach “is utopian and [will] lead to results completely different from the intended ones. Like other utopias, this one can never materialize, and efforts to make it materialize can only be carried out through restrictions of freedom, through the dictates of a small, elitist minority over the overwhelming majority.” Therefore, restrictions such as those Obama plans to implement on the coal industry in the name of environmentalism threatens both “our freedom [as well as] economic progress and human advancement.”

The only real difference Klaus posits between full blown communists and environmental socialists like Obama is that in the past, the pursuit of power and subsequent loss of freedom was done “in the name of the Marxists or of the proletariat – this time, in the name of the planet." When Obama talks about bankrupting the coal industry you must listen, and you must understand that if he is allowed to implement such policies, as Accuracy in Media’s Cliff Kinkaid said, “the result will be the extinction of human freedom.”

We cannot worship nature and remain free, we can only worship nature or remain free.