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Robert Bradley: The Green Road To Serfdom

Robert Bradley, MasterResource

No matter which major political party controls the three branches of government, the Green Dream will remain an agenda for some and nightmare for the rest of us.

“As our nation’s first Green president, my mandate won’t be just to ‘create new jobs.’ My mandate, if elected, will be to end mass unemployment … through a Green New Deal … which will create 25 million jobs through direct public works programs and support for cooperatives and community businesses.”

– Jill Stein, USA Today, October 4, 2012.

Last week, the energy view of Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson was reviewed at MasterResource. The wish was that the Republican ticket of Romney/Ryan would take to heart the fundamental free-market approach of Johnson for the benefit of consumers, taxpayers, and the general economy.

Then there is the Green Party, whose government planning approach to energy and the environment lurks in the hearts and minds of Obama science advisor John Holdren and no doubt others deep inside the Administration.

Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein will be a candidate in 40 states, or about 85 percent of the national ballots this election day. She is polling well behind the Libertarian–a good sign in these troubled times.

Stein identifies the Green New Deal as the “the centerpiece of my campaign.” She explains:

The Green New Deal will prioritize jobs in the green economy as well as jobs that meet our social needs. In other words, the program is intended to help communities become sustainable, ecologically, socially and economically. The money would be distributed proportionate to unemployment rates. It would be provided to those communities who have need, in proportion to that need.

The Platform outlines the “green” destination:

A series of challenging yet feasible targets should be set, with the ultimate goal – complete freedom from fossil fuel dependency – to be achieved by 2050. The federal government should take the lead by setting targets for federal facilities. Achievement of annual targets should be cause for public celebration.

The key “Requirements for Energy Transition” are:

Investment: Enormous amounts of investment capital will be needed to accomplish the energy transition, much more than the promise of $150 billion for renewable energy over ten years, and must now come from government.

Coordination: The energy transition will be complex and comprehensive, and its various strategies will be mutually impacting. For example, efforts to redirect transport away from highways and toward rail service will need to be coordinated with manufacturers, farmers, retailers, and employers. An independent federal Energy Transition Office should track and manage the transition.

Education: Community colleges should prepare workers for new job opportunities, e.g., sustainable food production, renewable energy installation, grid rebuilding, rail expansion, public transport construction, and home energy retrofitting. Grade school curriculum should include gardening programs in all schools and increased emphasis on energy conservation.

The “collective struggle” will require a broad buy-in and “willing sacrifice” from all segments of society. The Platform states:

Our leaders must instill in the nation a sense of collective struggle and of a long journey toward a clear goal. The success of a project of this scope will require public buy-in at every stage and level, including the use of language and images to continually underscore what is at stake, to foster a spirit of cooperation and willing sacrifice.

Business leaders, advertising agencies and even Hollywood must be enlisted, a quid pro quo for government bail out of banks and corporations. Grassroots initiatives, such as the Transition Towns movement, could lead the way toward voluntary community efforts. A sophisticated, interactive, web-based program would inspire action and provide resources. Ratepayers should get full disclosure of the specific electric generating facilities used to produce their electricity.

If the above sounds like a green road to serfdom, it is. Part II will examine the Orwellian Freedom of the energy and climate planks of the Green Party Platform. No matter which major political party controls the three branches of government, the GREEN DREAM and will remain an agenda for some and nightmare for the rest of us.

MasterResource, 5 November 2012