“The words ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ are everywhere,” writes reporter Betsy Cohen in a Montana daily paper. “Used casually and broadly, they seem to have become attached to nearly every facet of daily life. . . ”
Although the story details how businesses are using “green” and “sustainable” in their marketing, it doesn’t take much investigation to learn that most of the talk along that line is fueled by government agencies (such as the university I work at) and by people who benefit from government.
Of course, the words “green” and “sustainable” actions are proffered alternatives to what is supposed to be a global environmental crisis — a crisis requiring massive expansion of national governments and international regulations.
But one of the most prominent recurring themes in American history is the federal government’s resort to crises – whether real, exaggerated, or wholly imaginary – to expand its power. This is true even when the crisis, if any, was created by government itself.
The Civil War was used to justify suspending the writ of habeas corpus in states where no fighting was taking place. World War I and the “Red scare” supposedly justified throwing dissenters in jail. The Great Depression was an excuse for a vast expansion of federal control over the economy, even though the Depression was largely the federal government’s own fault. World War II was used as a reason to expand that federal control further, and to herd tens of thousands of innocent American citizens of Japanese ancestry into concentration camps. Continue Reading »