Glorious pictures from the edge of the universe have arrived on Earth just when events here force us to consider the possibility that governments are run by aliens. They are so out of touch with common sense that they must come from other planets.
The James Webb Space Telescope, a wonder of human ingenuity, resourcefulness, imagination, and creative curiosity, is revealing the birth of galaxies to a world in which, by contrast, overreaching oligarchs and bossy bureaucrats constrict the actions of ordinary people trying to make their own lives and the lives of others better.
Much of the world groans under
handed down by a “theory class,” even though they obviously don’t work. The accolade for the most disastrous policy outcome is hotly contested, and Wednesday’s grim revelation of 9.1% inflation shows that President Joe Biden’s spending agenda is a strong contender. But even that might not take the cake.
Worse, perhaps, are the results of hyper-alarmism on climate change. Excessive environmental policies are proving disastrous worldwide. Suddenly, all the green chickens are coming home to roost.
Intolerant “liberals” keen to “save the planet” are ruining it — officiously preventing the poor from lifting themselves out of poverty, forcing wealthy nations to retreat from comfort and efficiency into backwardness, even killing people by the hundreds of thousands.
Humankind long ago acquired the technological ability to thrive in all climes, but citizens of the most advanced nations must now check the weather forecast to know if their fridges and household lights will work or be shut down in an electricity blackout.
In Britain, overdependence on wind turbines built to cut carbon emissions leaves inhabitants
at the mercy of the weather
. When the wind doesn’t blow, the economy doesn’t work.
Likewise, in Germany, the world’s fourth-biggest economy, calm summer air means turbines stand idle, incapable of producing electricity and jacking up energy prices irrespective of the nation’s equally
on gas supplies from a recalcitrant Russia.
Excessively tight emissions rules, which amount to “anti-farming policies,” have triggered protests across Europe. They started in the Netherlands, where 30% of farms might be put out of business. And
they have spread
to Germany, Italy, Spain, and Poland, where farmers fear being subjected to the same privations.
If, as expected, bureaucratic meddling slashes Dutch output — the Netherlands is one of the biggest and most efficient farming nations in the world — production will shift to less efficient, more polluting producers elsewhere.
This is similar to the attack that green zealots in the Democratic Party launched against American energy production at the start of the Biden administration. By shutting down energy leases and discouraging investment in the United States because of exaggerated and parochial climate concerns, the green oligarchy transfers production and wealth to dirtier producers overseas, such as Russia.
As a result, gas prices across the country are higher than they’ve ever been and getting higher still. Basic energy costs, such as heat and air conditioning, are also more expensive. And yet California Democrats’ response to this crisis has been to pass local ordinances
forcing citizens to phase out natural gas
, one of the most affordable sources of energy, altogether over the next several years.
The results of shortsighted, self-defeating enviro-extremism are bad enough in rich nations. But they are even worse in the undeveloped world. In Sri Lanka, which banned chemical fertilizers in a fit of adherence to global green pressure, crops collapsed and food inflation spiked to 80% in June. The result has been a public revolt, including the overthrow of the president and an occupation of his palace by disgruntled citizens.
The specter of starvation is now being reported from Africa, and the latest analysis from the U.N. World Food Program suggests that
670 million people,
8% of the world’s population, will face hunger by the end of the decade.
The World Health Organization calculates that 439,000 Africans die every year from indoor air pollution because they are forced — for cooking, lighting, and heating — to burn charcoal and cattle dung, which one researcher compared to smoking 400 cigarettes per hour in the home. The reason Africans still use these primitive methods to generate energy is that green ideologues in rich nations won’t allow them to get financing to build coal-fired power stations.
Extreme environmentalism is an ideology that cares little for human life, even regards it as a blight on the Earth that should be reduced. Its instinctive sympathies are against our species. It wants less economic growth, less entrepreneurial spirit, less development, less energy, less safety, less food, less comfort.
Who suffers? Those in poor nations, of course, and we in the rich nations that impose our obsessions on ourselves and on others wherever we can.
But we can’t impose them everywhere. So, who doesn’t suffer? Our enemies, China in particular, that watch our self-harming foolishness with delight and perhaps a little astonishment. Beijing, which in recent years built more coal-fired power stations than the rest of the world combined, sits back and watches as the self-doubting, self-hating West cedes its prosperity and global leadership.
We’re now able, with our dazzling technology, to look billions of light years from the surface of our planet all the way to the rim of outer space and to peer back as far as the beginning of the universe. But here on Earth, we blind ourselves with ideology and cannot see what’s staring us in the face.
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