We live in an age of unabashed political hypocrisy. You may say, all times are witness to political hypocrisy – and you are right. Nevertheless, this moment is vexed by political leaders and news organizations moving in sync, and unmoved by hypocrisy. Examples tell the story – and suggest a better way.
The unspoken fact is that hypocrisy is everywhere, and so not newsworthy. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates held four debates, never squaring hundreds of trillions of dollars in promises with a national debt of 22 trillion dollars. Nor did any turn to another and say, “I agree.” It is all about power, not grace or truth.
No CNN reporter presses advocates of “socialism” to justify socialism’s failure by reference to history. None asks hard questions about how socialists redistribute wealth created by the private sector, once they have killed the private sector. No NBC reporters press Democrats on the value of tax credits, private risk-taking, innovation, wealth generation, entrepreneurship, capitalism, less regulation, or limited government – all essential ingredients for progress. Without them, socialist governments fail. No one pulls the curtain, revealing the power-grab – loss of liberty.
The most blatant hypocrisy relates to Climate Change. Sidestep the fact that panic justifies centralizing power. Let’s accept arguendo we are not in another saw-tooth, where temperatures rise, later falling under solar and terrestrial cycles. Today, we face an imbalance of carbon production and carbon absorption. That imbalance appears to be heating the planet. What is the solution? Panic and centralized government? No.
That imbalance, by definition, results from manmade and non-manmade carbon not being absorbed fast enough – by trees. The imbalance might – or might not – be halted by all-powerful governments ending carbon production.
Another answer, supported by hard science, is to reestablish the global capacity for carbon absorption – by planting and preserving trees. So simple – no need for massive, centralized government. That solution was recently proffered by scientists in Zurich, noting reforestation in four countries – the US, China, Russia and Brazil – would absorb two-thirds of carbon produced in the past 150 years. Fascinating, no? Add carbon capture technologies, and you have promise. That is hard science.
Now the rampant hypocrisy. Have you heard anything about this – refocusing on carbon absorption through reforestation, carbon capture and storage? Not likely. Look at this week’s G-7 gathering in Paris. French President Emanuel Macron used the event to cast himself and Europe as protectors of the Earth, casting President Trump as the inevitable villain.
But stop. Who just sent state-of-the-art fire suppression equipment to Brazil to extinguish that fire in the Amazon, what Mr. Macron calls “the planet’s lungs”? Who used his political influence to shift Brazilian leadership toward that priority? President Trump.
Before the US sent that equipment, CNN and other outlets literally blamed Trump for the fires – using bizarre, strained reasoning. After the US fire suppression response, no stories on CNN, NBC or other outlets crediting Trump. Why not? Hypocrisy.
Focus on a related issue: Compare US incentives to spur carbon capture and absorption with Europe’s. As of late 2018, the US had funded 20 years research into carbon capture and storage. Since 2010, we spent five billion dollars on the effort, including tax credits. Today, a major Texas plant generates electricity while capturing CO2 in large quantities – over a million tons a year. In Europe? No such plants. Zero.
In late 2018, the European Court of Auditors declared: “EU-funded efforts to boost the uptake of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies have failed largely because of a lack of coordination and long-term strategies that scared away investors.” That never made the US news cycle. Wonder why …
On reforestation, US again is a global leader. As of 2010, reversing a trend that began in the 1600s, the US has 750 million acres of forested land, covering a third of the country. From 1990 to 2010, we added 20 million acres of carbon-absorbing trees. Tax credits and private sector did that. France has 33 million acres of new forest – most private. Europe does not lead the US in reforestation.
Net-net, greater carbon absorption, capture and storage are advanced by research, tax credits and private sector innovators, not mass government programs that seize control over production and distribution of energy. Read that anywhere? Not likely, since giving the US credit does not fit the pro-socialist, anti-US narrative. More hypocrisy.
Bottom line: Too often, those promoting big government do not want solutions – or the burden of having to think hard about what works. At best, they misread history, misunderstand free market economics, individual liberty and the goodness of capitalism. They eye and covet power – for themselves. Getting there requires panic, not calm. It requires fanning fears, not ameliorating them. That explains a lot, doesn’t it?
In short, whether addressing climate variations or some other issue, beware hypocrisy – of the suspect socialist sort. It has no place in truth-seeking. Returning to the pursuit of truth, trained problem-solving, and fidelity to facts is a better way forward.