Is being Green left-wing or right-wing?

All is illusion ...

I’m the son of a blue-collar upbringing and consequently a blue-collar view of the world. In many of the ways that really matter, I still am. It does give you a realistic outlook on life, which makes you wary of all politicians, irrespective of what their nominal politics might happen to be. You don’t particularly trust any of them, especially the ones you think might possibly be sincere, because that’s the same illusion they’re all peddling, and you may just be looking at someone who sells it better than the rest. You can only ever be betrayed by someone you trust, which is why you should always take a long hard look at them and especially where they came from, before investing any faith in them.

That is not an argument for cynicism about politics, politicians or for not engaging with political processes, but for being more realistic in terms of your expectations of what can be achieved by any of them. When too many people ignore politics, it falls by default into the hands of enthusiasts of either persuasion and a democracy inevitably drifts into unhealthy political situations.

Each side of the political divide wants to sell you illusions about themselves and the other side.

Left-wingers will paint themselves as protectors of the working person and the poor from ruthless exploitation by right-wing politicians, who are only there as puppets of capitalists determined to extract as much money as possible from the people.

Right-wingers will paint themselves as defenders of personal freedoms and wealth-generating free enterprise, against the stifling impulses of left-wing politicians, who because of their controlling tendencies, take away people’s freedoms and force them to become dependant on the state.

They deal in caricatures, both of themselves and their opposition, and while there’s a grain of truth in all of them, it is surprising how many people’s political thinking is nevertheless based subconsciously on those very simplistic caricatures. They tend to be the party faithful, whose vote can always be relied on, so they’re pretty much ignored by everyone.

You grow up and a combination of life experience and thinking about what you’ve seen, perhaps teaches you that the simple template of being right or left-wing simply doesn’t fit you. The choice you are presented with is between being a Montague or a Capulet, with not much in the way of a middle ground. If you have reservations about those choices, you tend to get into voting for whichever party most closely represents your opinion on what you consider to be the major issues of the day in an election. In a sense, you’re a thinking variety of floating voter.

On the issue of climate alarmism, no mainstream parties in the democracies of the developed world have actively come out against it, but since the whole issue of global warming dropped off the electorate’s radar, they’ve nearly all been busy distancing themselves from things environmental for the last few years. However, it’s only a matter of time until they will be forced to tackle that problem head on, because of serious domestic pressures, like for instance escalating levels of fuel poverty, bitterly known as heat or eat.

The spin put on their green policies reflected their respective caricatures of themselves. The Left said it would help people lead a greener pleasanter life, with the added bonus of doing some much-needed wealth redistribution to the poor of the developing world. The Right sold the greener pleasanter life idea too, but their added spin was that green policies would not only found a whole new green enterprise sector, but would also create new very profitable trading instruments, such as carbon credits. They both just extended their good caricatures of themselves to accommodate the new political issue.

At face value, it all sounded very laudable and plausible, but the reality has turned out to be the reverse of both of their intentions. You see, what we actually ended up with because of their green policies, is an unholy combination of both their worst caricatures of each other.

Green taxes, direct and indirect, are artificially raising prices and lowering the living standards of the poorest people in the developed word. Fuel poverty has now become a major problem not just for the poor, but for the ordinary person, many of whom are by now into self-rationing. One third of households in the UK are officially classified as being in fuel poverty.

The basic freedom to live your life as you choose without someone looking over your shoulder has been gradually eroded by the massive growth of a plethora of oppressive regulatory bureaucracies, each of which have painfully intricate Kafkaesque rules, regulations and official forms, all of which must be complied with or you’ll get fined or even imprisoned.

Across the developing world, foreign aid money is directed into inappropriate and pointless green initiatives, while at the same time, being discouraged for use in anything that could be construed as a move towards heavy industrialisation. Millions remain in abject poverty, while good money is wasted on harebrained environmental schemes, which are of absolutely no practical help to them.

The once nascent green industrial sectors are in their death throes and the trading in all those wonderful new green financial instruments is only barely kept on life support, because of regulatory obligations on companies to buy them and the occasional outrageously profitable foray into the market by organised crime.

The ordinary person is being ruthlessly exploited and stripped of money, which is going straight to the already rich. The snouts of every greedy pig of whatever political hue, are jammed into the subsidy trough and it’s a feeding frenzy. Every renewable power source is heavily subsidised, from construction, installation and all the way through its operational life, even when it isn’t generating any power. All that subsidy money is flowing straight into the bank accounts of big companies and wealthy individuals, and all of it is coming straight out of the pocket of the ordinary working person.

Being Green is actually both left-wing and right-wing. Unfortunately, it uniquely embodies the very worst excesses of both political philosophies. 

That is the sordid reality behind the grand illusion people have been sold about being Green.

©Pointman

Related articles by Pointman:

How environmentalism turned to the dark side.

How policies get dropped and positions reversed.

A decisive minority of idiots, fashionistas and the innocent.

Legislation by regulation.

The decline of the environmental lobby’s political influence.

Click for a list of other articles.

Comments
18 Responses to “Is being Green left-wing or right-wing?”
  1. Kurt in Switzerland says:

    Well written as usual. Bound to be shared with many!
    I will share with NYTimes Dot Earth readers.

    Kurt in Switzerland

  2. NoFixedAddress says:

    I believe there is some magic and I think Asimov and others taught many things…..

  3. Retired Dave says:

    Well I agree with your overall summary Pointman (as usual) but just to show my own prejudice I have to disagree with part of your basic premise for once.

    ” The spin put on their green policies reflected their respective caricatures of themselves. The Left said it would help people lead a greener pleasanter life, with the added bonus of doing some much-needed wealth redistribution to the poor of the developing world. The Right sold the greener pleasanter life idea too, but their added spin was that green policies would not only found a whole new green enterprise sector, but would also create new very profitable trading instruments, such as carbon credits. They both just extended their good caricatures of themselves to accommodate the new political issue.”

    What you describe here, such as carbon trading and green industries and jobs are left-wing constructs (all the way from Gore and Obama to the EU to Julia Gillard).

    Now I would totally agree that some on the Right have enthusiastically grasped the rip-off opportunity provided (in the UK you only have to think of Yeo and Lord Deben for starters), but the basic ideas were not Right in origin IMHO. The Right just joined the trough as they often do.

    The UK Prime Minister has also greened up, but that is because he isn’t Right in the real sense and of course his father-in-law is drawing a £1000 a day off his windmills. A nice little earner if you can get it. Co-incidentally my grandfather was a footman to that family 100 years ago.

    I distrust them all since they are all on the make BUT look at the many from the Left who have made £millions out of politics, while they purport to be for the working people. These are just tugging our chains.

  4. Manfred says:

    Thank you for an interesting article Pointman, highlighting the resultant misery arising from the politically correct embrace of both seductive and misleading ‘Green’ philosophy and imagery. I believe that the catastrophe may lie in the gruesome reality of Green intent that appears more toxic to humanity than either versions of left or right wing servitude. Notwithstanding their spirit crushing limitations, ‘left’ and ‘right’ philosophies at least attach an intrinsic value to humanity. The Greens take an entirely different perspective, with the developing results that you observe in your essay.

    I found the detailed analysis of the Greens philosophy, ‘in their own words’, written by Kevin Andrews utterly chilling. It is clear that whatever the politically correct mantra ‘saving the planet’ means (aside from the meaningless, ‘all things to all people’), the exacted price will be very, very high, for It may well be one’s soul, one’s humanity, which as some of us know instinctively is priceless.

    The Greens’ Agenda, in Their Own Words – Kevin Andrews
    http://www.quadrant.org.au/magazine/issue/2011/1/the-greens-agenda-in-their-own-words
    “What is at stake in the Greens’ “revolution” is the heart and soul of Western civilisation, built on the Judeo-Christian/Enlightenment synthesis that upholds the individual—with obligations and responsibilities to others, but ultimately judged on his or her own conscience and actions—as the possessor of an inherent dignity and inalienable rights. What is also at stake is the economic system that has resulted in the creation of wealth and prosperity for the most people in human history.”

  5. Graeme No.3 says:

    As for “The snouts of every greedy pig of whatever political hue, are jammed into the subsidy trough and it’s a feeding frenzy” it doesn’t need a subsidy. Check out the current cases in NSW, where a former minister is trying to explain away “insider trading” that netted $100 million, and the ex-union official and how he spent the union’s money. Perhaps he could claim that he was providing subsidies for sex workers.

  6. Keitho says:

    Good article Pointman. As always another pile of political bullshit achieves the exact opposite of what it claims to do. None of it would be possible though, without the active collaboration of big media.

    I will be sending this article far and wide. Thanks.

  7. Blackswan says:

    Pointman,

    Left or Right, Wet or Dry, small-L Liberal, New Labour, Tory, Red or Blue or Green – it makes no difference what tag or catch-phrase is used to describe a Political Platform.

    In recent decades, as it became obvious that the Electorate actually would succumb to the Green Ponzi Scheme and be induced to part with untold mountains of serious cash, all Parties have borrowed planks from each other’s electoral platforms until it’s difficult to tell one rickety structure from the other.

    Two hundred years ago Nathan Rothschild is famously quoted as having said …… “

    “I care not what puppet is placed on
    the throne of England to rule the Empire, …
    The man that controls Britain’s money
    supply controls the British Empire.
    And I control the money supply.”

    It was rapidly apparent that CAGW was never about Science (a Judas goat tethered to lend credibility) and Politics was only a mechanism for implementing controlling Legislation. Consequently politics has little bearing on exactly who is scrambling for well-padded seats on the Gravy Train.

    Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming is the “gift that keeps on giving”, and absolutely nobody is looking to strangle that Golden Goose any time soon.

  8. chris says:

    Excellent article as usual, and it echoes my thoughts on this exactly.

  9. A.D. Everard says:

    This is so true and it’s about time they woke up! The MSM continuing to stick to the meme regardless of the facts might be keeping the ordinary citizen docile, but that’s not going to last long. People are not only being robbed, they are DYING. This is something we all should be very, very angry about.

  10. Deadman says:

    Instead of a political dichotomy of left v. right, I prefer a trichotomy of red, blue and green (with countless variations between the three); and, instead of a two-dimensional representation of political views, I prefer a three-dimensional model—a dipyramidal hexahedron, is my choice—depicting the three main differentiations gradating towards white (maximum individual freedom) and black (maximum state control) at the two apices whereby the more extreme, dark forms of politics and represented appropriately as so dark as to be indistinguishable.

    • sauromaton says:

      I love this model, its very much a semantic rectangle, just with more dimensions, well thought out

  11. Deadman says:

    Oops: “and represented” should be “are represented”.

  12. Aussie says:

    I think that your left/right construct is wrong here.

    Conservative thinking people are not Right Wing.

    The Left Wing and the Right wing are constructs of the same thing with Marxism at its root. This is why you have the Left Wing/ UltraLeft Green ideology and similar/ plus you have the ideology of the Right Wing of the ALP that includes people such as Paul Keating. Up to the 1970s the DLP could be considered Right Wing because they were the right wing of the Labor Party that had split from the ALP. One reason for calling the Greens Watermelons is simply due to the fact that they try to disguise and hide their real ideology, and yes they are Marxists.

    With the ALP if they are pushing State ownership etc then they are also Fascist in their outlook. Marxism/Fascism are two sides of the same coin.

    Most people, including the Centre Unity faction of the ALP are conservative by nature, but that does not automatically mean that they follow Liberal Party thinking either.

    Liberal has a classical meaning of freedom. I think most of us believe in that form of freedom, but one finds that even the Liberal Party has its Left/Right factions known as the “Wets” and the “Dry”. It is the Wets of the Liberal Party who tend to be out of kilter with the population as a whole.

    In essence I agree with Deadman, that there is a trichotomy rather than a dichotomy when it comes to politics. Conservatives are simply not right wing,

    • Graeme No.3 says:

      The main reason the Nazis are viewed as right wing is that was what Stalin called them. His left wing was the Trotskyites.
      Most perceptive viewers in the early 1930’s called them Bolsheviks, and after all they were the Nationalist SOCIALIST WORKERS Party.

      Consider their “platform” involved nationalised (or State directed) industry, censored press with violent abuse of critics, prison camps for opponents, and mass murder. Also love of nature, anti-smoking and a belief in changing mankind genetically.

      It is the mass murder practice that shows up the Left Wing. Mussolini may seem repulsive now, and I certainly don’t want to appear as an apologist, but he didn’t indulge in mass murder. Franco, after the Civil War, was extremely oppressive but very far from carrying out mass murder. The thuggish Generals in Argentina and Chile killed thousands, but even their left wing critics can’t claim more than 30,000 in Argentina, and about 7,000 in Chile. (I may be belittling the Generals by underrating their slaughter, but those are the figures generally accepted).

      Contrast this with the Nazis 10 million (excluding war casualties) Stalin’s 25-30 million, and Mao’s 60-70 million. Also Pol Pot who only managed 2 million, but at 25% of the population he was proportionally the worst. He was also the most fervent ‘green’ of the lot.

      So a mere 26,000 or so a year won’t make the left wing even blink.

      • Aussie says:

        Graeme No 3, thank you for that response. Yes, this bolsters my point.

        Also, the junta that was in Argentina was not conservative. They were despotic which is not the same as being conservative.

        Most people, whether they vote Democrat or Republican or in Australia Liberal Party or ALP are middle of the road conservative.

        So yes the Right/Left construct is entirely false when we see the origins.

  13. erasisa says:

    Simple: many greenies are just former commies, who switched to a more fashionable group after soviet union collapsed. I know this because I once dated a commie girl a while (no politics between the sheets) whom I found as a candidate in a green party list some time after the USSR folded.

  14. Braqueish says:

    I think it’s necessary to separate out the strands, as this article has started to do. Leftness and Rightness are moving targets. The intellectual basis of the green movement is fundamentally reactionary. It is built on a number of powerful myths: the noble savage at one with nature; the “balance” of (untampered) nature; humanity as a cancer; … upon a fragile planet; the unremitting evil of greedy corporations; the imminence of catastrophe.

    This is a heady brew which has made deep inroads into the collective unconscious of the (relatively) prosperous (largely public-sector) middle class.

    The great irony, of course, is that that whole movement has been turned inside out by the global warming issue. It is an Orwellian triumph which has the RSPB defending turbines which kill millions of birds and attacking shale drilling which does not. It has Friends of the Earth supporting logging for power station fuel and mercury vapour lightbulbs. It has the WWF benefitting financially from the clearance of rainforests for biofuels. It has Oxfam silent on the diversion of world food supplies to manufacture ethanol. It has socialists silent on the addition of one billion Chinese workers to the world proletariat.

    It’s worthy of a John le Carré novel.

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