Vaclav Klaus, Blue Planet in Green Shackles
The New Communism
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Americans are searching for leadership in this election year and they have found it. Unfortunately, he is not an American politician. Vaclav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic, who survived the communist system and now leads a country that emerged from the dissolution of the Soviet empire, is warning of a new form of communism threatening human freedom and progress.
Like former President Ronald Reagan, who developed his under-standing of the communist menace by fighting the communists in Hollywood, Klaus suffered under them during the communist era in Czechoslovakia. Because of this experience, however, he came to understand how Soviet-style communism, which collapsed as an empire and created the circumstances for the emergence of the Czech Republic as a free and independent nation, never really died as an ideology and that it has imitators in the West.
His book, Blue Planet in Green Shackles, published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, charges that the movement to “save” the environment has been taken over by ideologues who favor total government control over our lives. He says it can be considered a form of communism, socialism or even fascism. Whatever you call it, the result will be the extinction of human freedom.
Indeed, Klaus’s book quotes the authoritative essay, “Fascist Ideology: The Green Wing of the Nazi Party and Its Historical Antecedents,” by Peter Staudenmaier, as providing the backdrop for understanding the mentality driving the media-led hysteria over “global warming” and the alleged necessity for immediate governmental action at the national and global levels.
Staudenmaier wrote that “the Nazi movement’s incorporation of environmentalist themes was a crucial factor in its rise to popularity and state power.” He explained, “Hitler and Himmler were both strict vegetarians and animal lovers, attracted to nature mysticism and homeopathic cures, and staunchly opposed to vivisection and cruelty to animals. Himmler even established experimental organic farms to grow herbs for SS medicinal purposes. And Hitler, at times, could sound like a veritable Green utopian, discussing authoritatively and in detail various renewable energy sources (including environmentally appropriate hydropower and producing natural gas from sludge) as alternatives to coal, and declaring ‘water, winds and tides’ as the energy path of the future.”
While the Nazi embrace of these alternative energy or health solutions does not discredit them, the historical facts should prompt us to consider the motivations of those promoting these causes in the current context. Are the attacks on “Big Oil” and the push for alternative energy technologies being used as a pretext for more government control over the economy? Are the demands for government action to curb global warming being used to undermine and subvert free enterprise capitalism and private property rights?
But while communism was an atheistic system, Klaus notes, modern environmentalism has assumed a religious dimension and has become a “green religion.”
At the end of Klaus’s remarks on this subject at a Washington, D.C. dinner hosted and sponsored by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), master of ceremonies Jonah Goldberg remarked that he wished that we had a U.S. President who would make such a speech. Tragically, Bush and Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, have fallen into the camp, which includes Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and most of the Democratic Party, which wants to further erode individual freedom in the name of saving the environment. It is the modern version of the Marxist, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” except that the needs of the environment are now being placed above those of people.
It was noteworthy and appropriate that Goldberg, who praised Klaus’s remarks, has written the excellent book, Liberal Fascism, about the totalitarian tendencies of modern-day liberalism.
For his part, Klaus writes 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. Much as in the case of Communism, this approach is utopian and would 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.”
In short, we will not only lose our freedom but economic progress and human advancement will be stifled. And more people will inevitably die.
Klaus adds, “In the past 150 years (at least since Marx), the 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. The environmentalists are doing the same under equally noble-minded slogans, expressing concern about nature more than about people (recall their radical motto ‘Earth first’). In both cases, the slogans have been (and still are) just a smokescreen. In both cases, the movements were (and are) completely about power, about the hegemony of the ‘chosen ones’ (as they see themselves) over the rest of us, about the imposition of the only correct worldview (their own), about the remodeling of the world.”
In an appendix, Klaus takes on directly the popular congressional push for a so-called “cap and trade” system, on a national and global basis, giving bureaucrats the power to decide the “carbon footprint” of people, companies and nations and limiting their carbon emissions and use of energy. He calls the proposal completely irrational and unscientific and suggests it is just another excuse for giving government more power.
The Forces Of Freedom
In the introduction to the Klaus book, Fred L. Smith Jr., president of CEI, warns about the attraction that the “intellectual class” continues to have for “statism” or “collectivism,” which are other names for the threats we face. Today, Smith says, we are witnessing “cultural warfare against economic liberty” that requires “pro-freedom voices” to prevent the slide into totalitarianism.
Klaus came to Washington, D.C. at the end of May to lead this effort. But he will return to the Czech Republic. Various American conservative political figures, including former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, are even trying to appear “green.” Gingrich, for example, appears in a commercial, financed by Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection, with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, warning about global warming. (The group Judicial Watch contends the commercial is a violation of federal election law and an illegal contribution to Pelosi’s campaign).
Gingrich has become an advocate of “green conservatism” and now proposes a Gore-like “Contract with the Earth.”
In his book, Klaus calls Gore a hypocrite for his “own wasteful consumption of electricity” and says the former vice president has no interest in facts or documentation for his sensational claims.
The “cultural warfare” Smith warns about can be seen in the almost total blackout that the liberal media gave to Klaus’s various appearances in Washington, D.C., including at the CEI dinner and the National Press Club. Rather than attempt to refute the arguments of a man who has a wealth of knowledge about economics and international economic relations, the liberal media tried their best to ignore him.
Fortunately, the Washington Times highlighted his warnings on page one. “Environmentalism, says Czech President Vaclav Klaus, is the new communism, a system of elite command-and-control that kills prosperity and should similarly be condemned to the ash heap of history,” the paper reported in a front-page story by David R. Sands.
“I understand that global warming is a religion conceived to suppress human freedom,” Klaus told editors and reporters at the paper.
In order to demonstrate the courageous nature of the stand that Klaus is taking internationally, the book includes a cartoon of someone resembling Klaus being burned at the stake as three people taunt him, saying, “So, do you believe in warming now?”
Where are the U.S. political leaders who will follow Klaus in taking a forthright stand in favor of human freedom?