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The ideology of environmentalism


December 1, 2011
By John Hendrickson , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

President Barack Obama's presidency is associated with the continuation of policies that originated in the early 20th century with the Progressive Movement. The Progressive Movement, which contained both Republicans and Democrats, was a diverse group of individuals whose goals included more federal regulation of the nation's economy. The progressive Administrations of Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson, among others, were pivotal in creating not only the administrative state, but also the social welfare entitlement state.

In addition to pushing all of these policies, President Obama's Administration is also advocating an environmental policy agenda, which has resulted in more regulation by federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The environmental aspect of the progressive agenda argues that more "green" alternative energy sources are needed to combat global warming and more environmental regulations are needed to force the economy to adopt pro-green energy solutions. The argument is also used that a more "green" economy will result in expanded job creation, which will reduce the 9 percent unemployment rate. All of these points can be debated, including the science of global warming and the use of environmental stimulus to create jobs.

Marita Littauer Noon, who is Executive Director of the Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy, has recently written Take Away Energy, Take Away Freedom: Know, Understand, Influence the Role of Energy in Your Life and How Environmentalists Control its Use. In Take Away Energy, Noon provides a readable overview of energy policy and some of the consequences of radical environmental ideology. In fact, part of her book discusses the utopian ideas of the environmental movement and she explores what would possibly happen if the movement achieved all of its goals. Her intent in writing the book is to bring awareness of both the environmental movement and environmental policies.

Throughout the book Noon addresses environmental policies relating to transportation, health, housing and other areas. She also warns about the increase in environmental regulations and higher tax rates that usually accompany the "green" agenda. Noon also defends the use of nuclear energy as a reliable and realistic option for providing energy to a modern economy. In addition, she addresses the importance of energy to not only the economy, but also everyday life for Americans. Noon argues that the federal bureaucracy often defers to "supposed intellectuals to impose higher taxes and more stringent regulations on energy producers while government subsidies pour into building underdeveloped technologies" "Solar and wind technologies are far from being able to carry the energy load for large industrial countries," argues Noon.

The thesis of Noon's book is that if energy is taken away by an extreme environmental agenda, then freedom will also be lost in the process. Take Away Energy, Take Away Freedom provides a citizen's guide to energy policy and the objectives of the environmental lobby in trying to create their utopia. All citizens interested in learning more about environmental policy issues and the environmental movement from a free-market perspective will benefit from Noon's endeavor.

John Hendrickson is a research analyst at the Public Interest Institute, in Mount Pleasant.



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