Saturday, July 7, 2007

Live Earth, Bad Policy

We can all breath a sigh of relief. The brightest minds in the entertainment business have discovered the solution for nearly every crisis on earth: grab some musicians and give a concert.

Did somebody say there were poor people in Africa? Live Aid. What about vanishing farms in the US? Farm Aid. Find some more poor people? Live 8. What about The Last Days of Planet Earth? Live Earth.

Live Earth happens today, July 7th. It's described as a day of "concerts for a climate in crisis." Kevin Wall and Al Gore organized it with the goal of spreading the environmental message and changing behavior.

What's the message? Humans are ruining the planet. Our only hope is to dramatically change the way we live. Voluntarily, if possible. By command, if not. After all, the future of life is at stake. What's the violation of a few natural rights and a lower standard of living in the face of looming global disaster?

Unfortunately for their true believers, Wall and Gore didn't check out the track record of the previous "aid" concerts. There are even more poor people in Africa, American farms are fewer than ever, and in most of the world, the poor are easier to find than even the modestly well off. So much for the power of music to change the world.

In fact, the two countries that have done the best job at reducing poverty, India and China, didn't have a concert at all. China and India reduced poverty by adopting public policies that reduced the power of the state and gave individuals and businesses the freedom to trade. Two very unlikely outcomes if that pop group Gore & the Gang makes its way to the top of the political charts.

The danger in radical environmentalism is not bad science or pretentious celebrities. It's bad public policy. It's a point of view that values a questionable theory of the environment more than human life, fundamental human rights, and a standard of living that is the envy of the rest of the world.

The video below is a powerful counterpoint to Gore's radical environmental politics. After viewing "A Convenient Fiction," you might conclude that Gore won an Oscar for "Best Original Screenplay."

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