Chris Trotter is up in arms in his latest column -- never a pretty sight. How dare Fed Farmers' president Charlie Pedersen accuse environmentalists of "a war against the human race," says Chris. How dare George W. Bush hire libertarian-leaning types like Gale Norton (right) and Lynn Scarlett (left) to run many of the agencies who until recently thought they were "responsible for protecting the United States' environment"; with "catastrophic" results, says Chris -- catastrophic, that is, for big-government advocates whose failed 'ban-everything' environmental policies have been slowly, quietly but inexorably (and thankfully) heading for the ashcan of history. (Read an interview with Scarlett here.)
Says Chris, who seems worried the same thing might be afoot here (if only!):
[Pedersen's] attack on the environmental movement reflects his determination that the farming community should remain politically unaccountable for the environmental damage it is causing. Trading on the massive contribution farmers make to New Zealand's export receipts, he has set his sights on rolling back environmental regulation in the name of economic security.If Pedersen is in favour of rolling back environmental regulation in the name of property rights, then I'm right with him. If only he was. After all, that's the only guaranteed way to have your environmental and economic cakes without eating either, as many of those libertarian-leaning types in the US already realise -- one reason they've been rolling back so much of that failing big-government enviro-legislation over there.
Mr Pedersen's speech [continues Chris] may represent the opening salvo of a campaign designed to bring about something very similar here. It would be a mistake to dismiss his ideas out of hand. What we consider extremism in one decade all too often becomes the conventional wisdom of the next.Too true. It does. Just look at what became of the Values Party.
This time however the 'extremism' Chris is worried about is not the extremism of his friends from Values, now known as the Green party, but the extremism of libertarians who, besides being "far-right" (according to The Trott-sky), are also apparently ZAPatistas. It's a little hard to make complete sense of it all, really. Trotter seems at times to be trying to out-Wishart Wishart, and at others to be seeing the demise of the politically-correct mainstream.
Whatever he's up to, he's pulled out some good old-fashioned smearing to warn all the good comrades to Watch Out, There Are Libertarians About, with Charlie Pedersen in the saddle riding shotgun. And about that he's at least somewhat correct. After all, if he's going to warn about an intellectual revolution, he'd hardly be taken seriously if he suggested one coming from within National.
But about there being one, on that he's right on the money.
UPDATE: Comments here from some of Trotter's accused: 'The man who shot JFK.'
LINKS: A preview of the future - Chris Trotter, Dominion Post
The reformers: Lynn Scarlett - ABetterEarth.Org
A closer look at Interior: An official explains its philsophical vision - Lynn Scarlett, PERC Report Pedersen slams religious environmentalism - Not PC (Peter Cresswell)
Linz shot JFK - Lindsay Perigo et al
TAGS: Environment, Conservation, Politics-NZ, Politics-US