By any means necessary
David Suzuki says he wants anti-Kyoto politicians thrown in jail. How did environmentalism become this totalitarian?
Brent Foster, National Post(See hardcopy for Photo Description)
So what exactly has Suzuki, who is on the university-lecture circuit these days, been saying? For starters, he told a University of Toronto audience last month that the next federal election ought to be about the environment. No problem there. However, as reported by a student newspaper, he then opined that government leaders who aren’t acting quickly enough to save the environment “should go to jail for what they’re not doing right now What our government is not doing is a criminal act.”
His allegation of law-breaking was apparently no mere slip of the tongue. Speaking a few weeks later at McGill University, Suzuki again equated governments’ alleged inaction on the environment with a criminal act; in fact, he is reported to have said students ought to find a legal way to throw politicians in jail for ignoring climate-change science.
The geneticist-turned-broadcaster had particularly harsh words for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Ed Stelmach of Alberta because of their alleged favouring of economic growth over environmental protection. “It is an intergenerational crime” — there’s that concept again — “that, in the face of the work of scientists over the last 20 years, they keep dithering as they are,” Suzuki declared.
Suzuki’s alarmism is nothing new, and more-prudent scientists have long ago answered his hyperbole and exposed his faulty logic. And it’s also long been abundantly clear from his speeches and books that his position is driven by both a quasi-religious zeal and a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of humanity’s relationship with the natural world.
On this latter matter, he told the McGill crowd there is actually no difference between human beings and the environment in which they live. “We are the environment. There is no distinction,” he declared, thereby equating, for example, a newborn baby with a mud puddle. How heartening.
But this is old ground. What we haven’t seen from him until now is such an incendiary call to arms. Taking to the streets to protest climatechange inaction is one thing. Calling for the jailing of politicians is quite another — especially considering the fact that, the last time I checked anyway, there is nothing in the Criminal Code of Canada to prevent the Prime Minister from attempting to enhance both the country’s economy and its environment. It’s called balance.
Actually, Czech President Vaclav Klaus (who, coincidentally, is up for reelection tomorrow) has already done a lot of thinking in this area and has concluded that environmental zealotry poses as great a threat to human freedom as did communism. Klaus, whose book Our Planet is Blue not Green will soon be translated into English, believes that climate-change alarmists persuade governments to launch costly and unnecessary programs that have the ultimate effect of impoverishing people, thereby making them less free.
“When we look at it in a proper historical perspective, the issue is — once again — freedom and its enemies,” Klaus wrote last year. “Those of us who feel very strongly about it can never accept the irrationality with which the current world has embraced climate change (or global warming) as a real danger to the future of mankind, as well as the irrationality of [anti-globalwarming] measures because they will fatally endanger our freedom and prosperity.”
Suzuki is actually supporting a more direct attack on freedom than that which worries Klaus. Suzuki’s plan would lead to a loss of freedom, not though punitive economic measures, but through the incarceration of politicians with whom he disagrees. I have a better idea: Let the court of public opinion decide this at the polls. And if Suzuki doesn’t like the democratic outcome, he can always show his displeasure by giving us back his Order of Canada medal.
firstname.lastname@example.org – Terry O’Neill is a Vancouver editor and writer.