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Endless streams of gibberish and pseudo-science from the well-established neo-Malthusian establishment.
Although the issue of “sustainability” has been around a while, recently it has grown in popularity and influence. The way it’s happening follows an all too familiar pattern.
There are several common ingredients in how the left enlarges its control over our lives. The first is the selection of some aspect of reality — global warming, carbon footprints, population growth, inequality, diversity, for example. The second element involves designating the selected aspect of reality as a crisis. The third step is to explain that the only way to avoid Armageddon is by reducing everyone’s freedom and by giving more centralized power and control to those who understand the magnitude of the crisis. The rest of us are told that our freedoms are a luxury we simply can no longer afford.
Another common element of the process is defining the crisis as ambiguously as possible. Ordinarily, a desirable characteristic of a definition is that it draws a bright line between what is included and what isn’t. Clarity, however, is contrary to the objectives of the crusaders — in regard to defining the problem, the slipperier the better. For example, climate change (or climate disruption) beats global warming. Global warming is too quantifiable in comparison to climate change. No one is quite sure what “climate change” is or isn’t or how it can be measured. Sustainability is even more ambiguous than climate change and thus has more sustainability as a ruse.
Ideally the designated crisis is as expansive and open-ended as possible. A vague, loosely defined crisis provides politicians and bureaucrats with what amounts to a blank check or a no-limit credit card, a credit card where someone else gets sent the bill. A problem having no clear definition is a problem without borders.
At Arizona State University you can get a B.S., M.S., or Ph.D. in sustainability. ASU has an entire “School of Sustainability.” The school’s website offers several answers to the question, “What is sustainability?” Here are four of the answers they offer:
“Sustainability is a concept with as much transformative potential as justice, liberty, and equality.”
Arizona State University
“Sustainability is larger than one person, one company, or one country. Its scope, scale and importance demand unprecedented and swift solutions to environmental protection and other complex problems.”
Julie Ann Wrigley
Julie Ann Wrigley Foundation
“Sustainability is living in harmony with our social and natural environment, based on a sense of justice and equity.”
Sander van der Leeuw
School of Sustainability
“Sustainability is a process that engages every discipline to provide dynamic solutions to complex problems.”
School of Sustainability
Are you clear now on what sustainability means and why a “School of Sustainability” is of paramount importance?
Academic papers on the topic of sustainability often include such concepts as “intergenerational equity” and “inter-temporal welfare.” The left somehow manages to insert its obsession with inequality into every imaginable issue. Inequality is not only a problem at a point in time, but also between time periods.
The Environmental Protection Agency recently spent $700,000 on a study entitled Sustainability and the U.S. EPA. The abstract of the report states:
Recognizing the importance of sustainability in its work, the U.S. EPA has been working to create programs and applications in a variety of areas to better incorporate sustainability into decision-making at the agency.… This framework provides recommendations for a sustainability approach that both incorporates and goes beyond an approach based on assessing and managing the risks posed by pollutants that have largely shaped environmental policy since the 1980s.… EPA should also articulate its vision for sustainability and develop a set of sustainability principles that would underlie all agency policies and programs.
Obviously the EPA sees sustainability as a golden opportunity in its quest for more power, control, and funding. The EPA’s new lease on life is going to diminish everyone else’s lives.
What is sustainability, really? It is actually an old concept that has once again been warmed over for the umpteenth time. Sustainability is simply the latest incarnation of Malthusianism. Writing in 1798, Thomas Malthus warned that England’s population growth was going to outstrip its available endowment of resources such as agricultural land and coal. The specter that Malthus described was summarized as population increases geometrically, food increases arithmetically. Based on that logic, starvation and suffering were seen as inevitable. Malthus, in other words, was saying that England’s economic growth was not sustainable. It was that profoundly pessimistic theory that resulted in economics being described as “the dismal science.” England, of course, has gone on to experience over 200 years of historically unprecedented economic growth.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?