By Vasko Kohlmayer
Friday, May 11, 2007
The most remarkable aspect of the man-made global warming claim is the lack of solid scientific evidence for it. Yet there are those whose apparent goal it is to advance this theory at all costs. Blatant in their disregard of the facts, they try to convince as many as would believe of the real nature of this alleged danger. But since this activism does not rest on scientific evidence or hard facts, it must be driven by motives other than those publicly stated. This much at least should be obvious, but sadly far too many people have failed to make this inference. Blinded by fear, they have not considered the possibility that those fanning the flames of hysteria may harbor ulterior motives.
To see just what those motives may be, we need to go no further than Mikhail Gorbachev whose remarkable political transformation offers a striking insight into the true character of the man-made global warming movement.
Formerly leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev is now one of the world's most vocal global warming activists. This is an unlikely role indeed for a man who during his years in power showed no inclination to address environmental issues. This could not have been for lack of opportunity, given that he presided over a country which suffered from extensive ecological damage wrought by years of gross disregard and mismanagement. Had he had the inclination, there was much to do about the lamentable state of his country's environmental condition. Gorbachev, however, not only did nothing, but brazenly continued the Soviet regime's ecologically disastrous policies.
But nothing revealed his true attitudes more glaringly than the explosion of a nuclear reactor at Chernobyl. His first reaction was not to launch a clean-up operation, but to conceal the fact. Initially he denied that anything happened at all. Then, when radioactive clouds reached countries hundreds of kilometers away, he claimed that it was only a 'minor' accident. It was only under the pressure of growing evidence that Gorbachev finally admitted the truth. While mounting the cover-up, the time and energy that could have been used to contend with the unfolding ecological catastrophe were irretrievably lost. But that was not all, for Gorbachev also decided to sacrifice the lives of thousands whom he refused to evacuate or even notify of the danger. Scores died and countless others suffered from diseases caused by exposure to radiation. Many could have been saved had Gorbachev done the decent thing. Chernobyl thus stands as tragic evidence of Gorbachev's disdain both for nature and human life which, sadly, is all too often found in those who espouse the communist worldview.
Yet today this man is one of the world's most prominent eco-lobbyists and an ardent proponent of global warming. The question is how we are to reconcile Gorbachev's past behavior of environmental destructiveness with his present-day activism. We would do well to ponder this, because the answer sheds light not only on a wily personal reinvention, but also on the motives of those responsible for the creation and spreading of the global warming hysteria.
The many interviews and statements made by Gorbachev since the collapse of the Soviet Union offer important clues. What they essentially reveal is that despite the ignominious fall of communism, Gorbachev has not changed his basic ideological convictions. In other words, this life-long party apparatchik remains an unrepentant communist to this day. This should surprise no one, since people rarely change their thinking later in life, especially if they are as willful and ideologically driven as Gorbatchev apparently was. After all, it was his ideological rigor that enabled him to successfully negotiate the dangerous waters of Soviet politics and emerge as his country's supreme leader barely a week after his fifty-fourth birthday.
But ejected from power less than seven years later, he faced a challenge. Unwilling to retire, he needed to find a new outlet for his political energies. This posed a problem, because Gorbachev could not afford to openly fly the banner of his communist convictions, since a declaration of allegiance to this well-discredited ideology would have resulted in his marginalization if not ridicule.
To remain credible, Gorbachev had to look for a more respectable platform from which to continue his efforts. This he quickly found in environmentalism and less than two years after his fall from power he founded Green Cross International, a Geneva-based eco lobby group.
It is not at all surprising that Gorbachev--like so many others on the left--has found environmentalism so attractive given that it in a furtive way tends toward the very essence of socialism. It is precisely this covert quality that makes this brand of activism so palatable to true believers in the post-communist era.
Environmentalism's socialist tendencies are already inherent in its starting premise which is that this world is headed for destruction because of the way modern societies conduct their life and affairs. The principal culprits are the business enterprise--whose relentless pursuit of profit has ecologically devastating consequences--and the masses whose excessive and irresponsible consumption exacerbate the already precarious situation. The only way to avert the looming catastrophe, then, is to rein in the greedy business and direct people's behavior in environmentally conducive ways. This naturally can only be done by a government properly equipped for the great task at hand. The net result of environmental activism is thus an empowered state exercising close oversight over the business and private spheres. In Marx's parlance, the means of production--and indeed nearly aspects of societal life--are placed under state control. This is nothing if not socialism rising, and since it also happens to be something Gorbachev has been striving for all of his life, it should come as no surprise that he has been an enthusiastic proponent ever since Marxism-Leninism became a byword for failure.
But while even the most basic forms environmentalism have proven themselves to be a potent vehicle for advancing socialist ideals, the potential of global warming has exceeded almost all expectations in this regard. All of the elements of the harrowing scenario it so vividly paints--its global scope, its imminence, its catastrophic potential--point toward the need for immediate and drastic measures on a wide scale. It should not take very long to realize that such a comprehensive response can only be mounted by a state armed with vast powers to decree, to regulate and to tax, powers which the devotees are only too eager to grant.
It is precisely for these reasons that the idea of man-made global warming so appeals to Mikhail Gorbachev who never did anything for the environment when he was in the position to do so. It is as paradoxical as it is revealing that this man who now parades as an angel of ecological salvation is by virtue of his actions at Chernobyl and elsewhere responsible for more environmental destruction than any other person alive.
The case of Mikhail Gorbachev carries an outstanding educational value, because it shows what the global warming alarmism is ultimately about. The glaring deceitfulness and duplicity on display here could well serve as emblems for the whole movement whose real objectives are sharply at variance with its promulgated goals.
We can only regret that President Reagan is no longer around to admonish Gorbachev for his spurious activism in the same way he chastised him for his dictatorial high-handedness by the Berlin Wall. One can almost picture Ronald Reagan standing in Kyoto's main square rebuking this old communist thus:
Mr. Gorbachev, if there is any honesty left in your heart, take off your mask. Do not exploit lies to further your devious agenda. Tell us candidly what your goals are so that we can have an honest debate. Stop erecting those bogus smokescreens and stop scaring the gullible with pseudo-science. Mr. Gorbachev, take off that ugly green mask.
And so should the whole man-made global warming lobby.
Born and raised in former communist Czechoslovakia, Vasko Kohlmayer is a naturalized American citizen. His work has appeared in The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Times, Frontpage magazine, The American Thinker, The Jewish Press, RealClearPolitics, and others. Email Kohlmayer at firstname.lastname@example.org
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