Michelle Bachmann’s crusade against sustainability

August 10, 2011 | By | 12 Replies More

In “First They Came for the Lightbulbs,” Tim Murphy of Mother Jones explores Michelle Bachmann’s war against sustainability. Bachmann has described the enemy as follows:

“This is their agenda—I know it’s hard to believe, it’s hard to fathom, but this is ‘Mission Accomplished’ for them,” she said of congressional Democrats. “They want Americans to take transit and move to the inner cities. They want Americans to move to the urban core, live in tenements, [and] take light rail to their government jobs. That’s their vision for America.”

Murphy explains that the Republican fears about “sustainability” have mushroomed into something even much larger. Under the environmentalists’ plans, people would be:

instructed to live in “hobbit homes” in designated “human habitation zones” (two terms embraced by tea party activists). Public transportation would be the only kind of transportation, and governments would force contraception on their citizens to control the population level. A human life would be considered no more significant than, say, that of a manatee. “Sustainability,” the idea at the heart of the agreement, became a gateway to dystopia.


Category: ignorance, Orwellian, Sustainable Living

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (12)

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  1. Dan Klarmann says:

    What puzzles me is why even the rational opposition continue to publicize this patently unelectable member of an unregistered political party financed by untaxed entities such as churches and large corporations.

    I suggest that we remove the sensible guard rail pushing back against her ideas and allow her to plummet off of the far right side of the road into the ravine of the irrelevant.

  2. Jim Razinha says:

    Yeah. What Dan said.

    But we here at DI always seem to forget that the earth was given to man to be dominated…

    …and poisoned, depleted, and used as a dump. The sad things is, the earth will likely recover….humans just won’t be here when it does.

  3. Michael says:

    Go ahead, depress me. Obviously these people are living in some alternative universe. Their image of a sustainable future is ridiculous.

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    Please allow me to translate what Michelle Bachmann is saying, in code, to her fellow Republicans: “Those environmentalists are trying to make us Republicans live like NEGROES.”

    Sorry to be so blunt, but once you peel away Bachmann’s phrasing, this does appear to be her core message to her followers. And her message works well as a shrill alarm call to Republicans, especially since so many of them spent so much money moving out to the suburbs, and then the exurbs, to escape the problems of “the city,” as they are so wont to say.

    More evidence: Look how her characterization of environmentalism completely misses the reasons for the movement: to live sustainably, in order to pass on some semblance of a livable planet to the next generation. That she missed this point cannot possibly be an accident. Consider too: Can you name any better way to express “family values” than making sure that our children have a decent planet on which to raise their own children?

  5. This is another example of the GOP approach to populist politics since Reagan—“The government is going to force you to do something you don’t want to do. Elect me and you won’t be require to_____”

    Every instance, all the way down the line, it has been fear. I don’t think Bachman has an opinion one way or the other about environmental policy, all this is about it convincing people that the government is going to make them live differently, whether they want to or not. This has been going on since seatbelts were required by law. It’s a high-end example of protesting helmet laws. “If I wanna crack my skull open riding a motorcycle without a helmet, that’s my choice!”

    In this, she has tapped into a very American vein. I remember back in high school, when the advent of busing was on the horizon, I sat in on several meetings of people who by and large supported desegregation but who were strategizing to protest forced busing. (That we misunderstood what was actually going to happen is a hallmark of the spin opposition groups can put on things this way.)

    I imagine that if a coal plant was built on land within sight of where she lived, Bachman would be all about shutting it down.

    But this is politics. It don’t mean nothing.

  6. Dan Klarmann says:

    Personally, I’m against laws requiring the use of helmets and seat belts. But I am in favor of laws requiring auto makers to provide seat belts, and helmet manufacturers to prove the safety level of helmets. I am a habitual user of both, by choice.

    I’m not fond of requiring expensive catalytic converters. I would rather have seen increased efficiency standards set to consume that wasted fuel in the engines.

    I object to requiring air bags, as an expensive and arguably dangerous add-on that seems to only improve survival rates among those too stupid to wear seat belts. The only good thing I have to say for air bags is that they replaced those abominable, motorized, “passive” restraint systems, also designed for people too stupid to wear seat belts.

    In my opinion, government regulations should make it possible for people to protect themselves by regulating corporations, but not to regulate individual behavior that does not affect others.

    But this is tangential to the point that the Fear Uncertainty and Doubt crowd (GOP=FUD) spin every restriction on corporations as an abridgement to individual freedoms.

  7. Dan,

    My only disagreement with your point is the “behavior that does not affect others” bit. Some idiot breaks his skull open because he wouldn’t wear a helmet, it affects his family, his coworkers, a whole circle of people who depend on him being a viable member of that circle. I admit, requirements designed to mitigate stupidity are usually the wrong way to go about it, but it is almost never just the individual who suffers as a consequence of said stupidity.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      There are state-funded long-term care facilities that house many people with head injuries, including motorcyclists who didnt’ want to wear helmets. I once visited one of these facilities. Are those families willing to say, “Let him rot on the curb since he didn’t bother wearing a helmet”? Never.

    • Dan Klarmann says:

      I was reasonably certain that someone would bring up this caveat, thus we could hash it out in comments and not clutter up my original point.
      Families should be encouraged to pressure stupid members to take reasonable precautions for the sake of dependents.
      Insurance companies are welcome to finance ad campaigns to help reduce their costs of paying for this kind of resultant extended care.

      But I still think that the government should not make a criminal offense of stupidity. That is as sensible as requiring prison for suicide attempts.

    • Dan Klarmann says:

      I would also be in favor of insurance companies sending out an equivalent of treasury agents to fine those caught in costly behaviors. It works for parking offenses in municipalities; meter maids are not police.

      So why not let insurance companies require compliance with a suite of safety and health rules in their contracts, and enforce it with fees on the streets?

      Too Big Brother? Maybe. But let’s not use laws to criminalize ignorance and stupidity.

    • Okay. That’s reasonable. It’s the Do Nothing Cause It’s MY Business approach I find untenable. But do we actually put people in jail for not wearing helmets? Isn’t it just a ticketable offense, like not wearing a seatbelt?

      As to pressuring friends and family not to be stupid…hm. I went through a year of being obnoxious to my friends when seatbelts became the law and it got unpleasant. I stuck with it but I can see why people wouldn’t even try.

      However, with your general point, sure, criminalizing stupidity is in itself stupid. Like possessions laws. I can understand the state having an interest in people not possessing certain things, but putting people in jail for it is counterproductive. You confiscate when found, maybe write a ticket, but…

      Yeah, yeah, what about the dealers. Always another layer of quibble.

  8. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    I don’t think stupidity and ignorance will be outlawed. They are both too useful for getting GOP candidates elected to office.

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