Friday, September 05, 2003

Rights and Reason: Bill Moyers goes Green

Consider this line from PBS's Bill Moyers on the anti-enviromentalists:

Their god is the market -- every human problem, every human need, will be solved by the market. Their dogma is the literal reading of the creation story in Genesis where humans are to have "dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the Earth, and over every creeping thing ..." The administration has married that conservative dogma of the religious right to the corporate ethos of profits at any price. And the result is the politics of exploitation with a religious impulse.

Meanwhile, over a billion people have no safe drinking water. We're dumping 500 million tons of hazardous waste into the Earth every year. In the last hundred years alone we've lost over 2 billion hectares of forest, our fisheries are collapsing, our coral reefs are dying because of human activity. These are facts. So what are the administration and Congress doing? They're attacking the cornerstones of environmental law: the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, NEPA [the National Environmental Policy Act]. They are allowing l7,000 power plants to create more pollution. They are opening public lands to exploitation. They're even trying to conceal threats to public health: Just look at the stories this past week about how the White House pressured the EPA not to tell the public about the toxic materials that were released by the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center.
Then Moyers says he's a capitalist:

It stuns me that the people in power can't see that the source of our wealth is the Earth. I'm an entrepreneur, I'm a capitalist. I don't want to destroy the system on which my livelihood and my journalism rest. I am strongly on behalf of saving the environment [in no small part] because it is the source of our wealth. Destroy it and the pooh-bahs of Wall Street will have to book an expedition to Mars to enjoy their riches. I don't understand why they don't see it. I honestly don't. This absence of vision as to what happens when you foul your nest puzzles me.
It puzzles me that Moyers has the audacity to say he's a capitalist while simultaneously damming the free market. Moyers claims the corporate ethos is “profits at any price.” Any price? That’s news to me. And why does Moyers believe that the pro-reason position is that man does not have dominion over the earth? What else, according to Moyers, comes before man?

If Moyers was even remotely a capitalist, he would argue for individual rights--that is, that the individual has a right to his life. He would argue for property rights. He would not smear the individual’s right to profit from his labor. He would argue that the standard for judging so-called environmental damages would be proof of actual harm to humans from pollution, proven in a court of law.

And more fundamentally, Moyers would argue for reason. He would not glibly dismiss the mountain of evidence against global warming theory. He would argue against the faith based arguments of the environmentalists and the religious leftists.

Yet the chances of all this happing are about as great as Moyers leaving PBS to air his programs on greedy capitalist-dominated commercial TV.

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