Friday, December 11, 2009

A bone to pick with Charles Krauthammer

I have a bone to pick with Charles Krauthammer – especially with his most recent article for the Washington Post “The Environmental Shakedown”.

First off I should say that I like Charles Krauthammer, I like his intelligence and his acerbic wit, I like his refusal to suffer fools, I like the way he uses language. I like him to the point where I sometimes forget that he’s an ideologue.

Fortunately, he can’t help himself and, from time to time, he reminds me of his ideological blinders. Take his latest article: “The Environmental Shakedown” where he attempts to cast the Copenhagen climate “summit” as an attempted shakedown of the rich countries by the Third World:

“One of the major goals of the Copenhagen climate summit is another NIEO shakedown: the transfer of hundreds of billions from the industrial West to the Third World to save the planet by, for example, planting green industries in the tristes tropiques.”

He then engages in classic conspiracy theory to conflate the BO(zo) administration’s EPA announcement into a vast hippie conspiracy to, well… reduce global carbon emissions

“On the day Copenhagen opened, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claimed jurisdiction over the regulation of carbon emissions by declaring them an "endangerment" to human health.”

And he goes on further to cast the entire collections of events as a left wing power grab of unprecedented proportions.

“Since we operate an overwhelmingly carbon-based economy, the EPA will be regulating practically everything. No institution that emits more than 250 tons of CO2 a year will fall outside EPA control. This means over a million building complexes, hospitals, plants, schools, businesses and similar enterprises. (The EPA proposes regulating emissions only above 25,000 tons, but it has no such authority.) Not since the creation of the Internal Revenue Service has a federal agency been given more intrusive power over every aspect of economic life.”

Aside from its unintended humor, his article is very revealing both by what it does not say and by its very wording. What Mr. Krauthammer desperately wants to avoid dealing with is what he finally mentions in as a boogeyman negative:

“Either the Senate passes cap-and-trade, or the EPA will impose even more draconian measures: all cap, no trade.”

Well, yes, that’s exactly where we must go: “all cap, no trade”. Trade is just that – pushing carbon around from one place to another, what we need to do is stop pushing carbon out at all.

The other aspect of his article that apparently got through proofreading is the inherent assumption that those grubby little “Third World kleptocracies” are robbing the “hard-working citizens” of their rightful rewards.

”In the name of equality -- wealth redistribution via global socialism -- with a dose of post-colonial reparations thrown in.

The idea of essentially taxing hard-working citizens of the democracies in order to fill the treasuries of Third World kleptocracies went nowhere, thanks mainly to Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher (and the debt crisis of the early '80s).”

This is filled with unintended humor but the glaring omission is that Mr. Krauthammer doesn’t seem to know where or how the “democracies” got hold of all this wealth. Think of it: the entire history of the plundering of the third world by the industrialized West (ongoing today even as we speak)… disappeared and the concept of compensatory relief reduced to a “heist” perpetrated by the “Third World kleptocracies” on the poor rich countries.

Shame on you Mr. Krauthammer, not because you dislike the third world, nor because you defend capitalism. Shame on you for the mendacity and disingenuousness of this article. I’m used to better intellectual honesty from you but I guess that’s what happens when ideology trumps intelligence.

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