Copenhagen: the New Jonestown

Joel Kotkin at Forbes has a piece in which he argues Copenhagen’s climate summit is nothing short of suicide for the West. Here’s a portion:

So why do leaders like Barack Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown continue identifying themselves with the climate change agenda and policies like cap and trade? Perhaps it’s best to see this as a clash of classes. Today’s environmental movement reflects the values of a large portion of the post-industrial upper class. The big money behind the warming industry includes many powerful corporate interests that would benefit from a super-regulated environment that would all but eliminate potential upstarts.

These people generally also do not fear the loss of millions of factory, truck, construction and agriculture-related jobs slated to be “de-developed.” These tasks can shift to China, India or Vietnam–where the net emissions would no doubt be higher–at little immediate cost to tenured professors, nonprofit executives or investment bankers. The endowments and the investment funds can just as happily mint their profits in Chongqing as in Chicago.

Global warming-driven land-use legislation possesses a similarly pro-gentry slant. Suburban single family homes need to be sacrificed in the name of climate change, but this will not threaten the large Park Avenue apartments and private retreats of media superstars, financial tycoons and the scions of former carbon-spewing fortunes. After all, you can always pay for your pleasure with “carbon offsets.”

So who benefits from this collective ritual seppaku? Hegemony-seeking communist capitalists in China might fancy seeing America and the West decline to the point that they can no longer compete or fund their militaries. A weakened European Union or U.S. also won’t be able provide a model of a more democratic version of capitalism to counter China’s ultra-authoritarian version.

The Chinese may win a victory in Copenhagen greater than anything accomplished so far in the marketplace–and our leaders will likely thank them for it. Forget bowing to the emperor in Tokyo; like vassal states at the height of the old Middle Kingdom, the new requisite diplomatic skill for Westerners will be kow-towing to Beijing.

Copenhagen and Obama’s environmentalism is really nothing more than an end run around the vast majority of the American people. Political leaders have determined that they don’t need the consent of the governed because they will just force their will on them, elections be damned. Business leaders see dollar signs in their eyes with all the new regulations coming down the pike that will kill any competition from smaller companies. GE is one of the companies that stands to profit big with Obama’s environmental policies. These big companies won’t need to worry about the cost of hiring American workers because they can just outsource everything to the “emerging” countries.

Kotkin is right. Obama’s environmental polices and his EPA are suicide for America and the West. Copenhagen is the new Jonestown.

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