In his piece in today’s Journal, John Fund notes that “It is deeply symbolic that this epic battle over the direction of government is taking place in the Badger State. Wisconsin was the birthplace of the modern progressive state in the early 20th century under Gov. Robert “Fighting Bob” LaFollette, who championed progressive taxation and the nation’s first worker’s-compensation system. In 1959, Gov. Gaylord Nelson made Wisconsin the first state to grant public employees collective-bargaining rights.”
Yesterday, Paul Taylor’s Eco-Politics column was titled and explored how “Enviros back unions in Midwest budget battles”.
Both recalled for me how it was indeed then-Sen. Gaylord Nelson who started Earth Day, chosen to fall each year when it does, April 22, we are told, by sheer 1/365 coincidence. Mmmm. Yes.
Enjoy this excerpt from an excellent book by another CEI colleague, Iain Murray, nailing the point:
“[T]he instinct to broadly and aggressively apply the tools of Marxism–central planning and government control–lives on. The instinct is the same as it was when Marx articulated it in the 19th Century, but the old justification just doesn’t fly. Free enterprise has proven itself not to oppress the working man, but to free him.
If the working man is no longer oppressed, the central tenet of Marxism no longer applies, but surely there must be another victim of capitalism to take its place? Women and minorities have advanced themselves under free enterprise just as surely as have the working man, and so they are not ideal candidates.
Luckily for the Left they have a victim ready on the shelf. This time it is one that will not exercise free choice in rejecting the ministrations of those who claim to speak for it. In the leftist’s world view, the worker has been replaced by ‘the Environment.’
The transition was seamless, because of a long history of co-operation between Marxists and environmentalists. Earth Day is held every year on April 22nd, a date deliberately chosen because it was Lenin’s birthday. R.J. Smith, the veteran champion of free-market environmentalism and private conservation, told Human Events:
‘It is no accident it is on Lenin’s birthday, April 22,’ he said. ‘It wasn’t a coincidence. I knew some of the kids involved . They thought, “What better day than Lenin’s birthday because capitalism destroys the environment?” Most environmental ecologists believed the source of environmental degradation was the selfishness of capitalist owners. So we had to have a socialist system with a manager instead of an owner. Some of the constitutions of Communist states expressly forbid pollution….’ (Joseph A. D’Agostino, Conservative Spotlight: RJ Smith, Human Events, Oct 29, 2001)”