The two hottest issues on the political scene in many Western countries are climate and immigration. On the one hand elites on the Left argue theoretical and moral concerns involving the survival of the planet and fairness to those who arrive illegally, while those in the Middle and on the Right see the issues in far more practical pocketbook terms. Completely left out of most discussions is any mention of competent climate science or any discussion of the impacts of massive migration. Emotions rule the day.
The gulf between the Far Left and everyone else is forcing the issue everywhere that the Left has already moved democracies in substantially unworkable directions. Where the pendulum has swung far beyond what working people will tolerate, they have revolted, expressing their outrage in the streets and at the ballot box.
Take for instance France.
When President Emmanuel Macron announced that gas and diesel prices would go above $7 per gallon to make automobile travel impractical for many, French citizens took to the streets in massive numbers and in the reflective yellow vests that everyone is required to carry in their cars. Although Macron canceled his climate action plan after four weeks of protests, demonstrators were not placated and still demand his ouster.
That has not yet occurred. But French voters did humiliate Macron by voting for Marine Le Pen’s candidates in the EU parliamentary elections in late May. In sharp contrast to Macron, her National Rally party is famously opposed to massive immigration from Muslim countries and otherwise strongly nationalist. She avoids the climate wars altogether.
Australian voters dramatically reject a move to the Left.
Although the Australian Labor Party expected an easy victory over Prime Minister Scott Morrison in mid-May elections, voters had a much different idea and not only kept Morrison in power, but gave his Liberal Party a clear majority in parliament. Although not known for charisma and frequently derided by progressives, Morrison managed to appeal to average folks with such stunts as bringing a lump of coal into parliament and stressing opportunity for all. The Right won in Australia because of the strong contrast with the Left on growth, taxes, and climate change.
The Labor Party had expected that the brutally hot summer just concluded in Australia would make their environmental pitches irresistible to voters, or at least scare them enough to turn Left. But voters were smarter than that, choosing those who promised an economic revival over ruinous carbon taxes and sky-high electric rates.
Queensland became a major battleground as the Labor Party turned off blue-collar voters by being evasive about a new two billion dollar coal mine project that promised many jobs. As soon as it became obvious that Labor had gone down to a major defeat in federal elections, the Labor Party Premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk, immediately expressed strong support for the new coal mine and ordered bureaucrats to clear away roadblocks. A project that had been held up in the courts and approval processes for ten years is now expected to get approvals within weeks. Palaszczuk clearly did not want to be brought down by her party’s climate ideology.
Reaction in the USA from our climate doomsday cult was apocalyptic. “We have lost Australia for now,” lamented the radical Penn State meteorologist Michael Mann. “A coalition of a small number of bad actors now threatens the survivability of our species.”
Canadian provinces fight Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on carbon policies.
In 2018, Global Warming skeptic Doug Ford was elected Premier of Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, partly as a protest against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s climate policies. Ford announced that he would join Saskatchewan’s premier in legal action against a carbon tax imposed by Trudeau and would reverse energy taxes imposed by his predecessor.
Just last April, a seismic event in Alberta politics saw Premier Rachael Notley and her New Democratic Party replaced by the United Conservative Party headed by Jason Kenny. The new Premier pledged to scrap every policy in the NDP’s climate action plan, including especially the province’s carbon tax. “By May 30th there will no longer be an Alberta carbon tax,” Kenney said at a news conference. He has also pledged to scrap plans to close the province’s coal-fired power plants, to reverse the cap on emissions from their tar
sands operations, and to expedite much needed pipeline construction.
Disgusted with both major parties, Great Britain looks for leadership elsewhere.
Britain’s ruling Conservative Party under Therese May has been bogged down for several years trying to figure out how to implement the voter mandate to leave the European Union, because some including May have been unenthusiastic about ‘Brexit.’ With the resulting stalemate, May has resigned and will likely be replaced by a Tory who is far more inclined to get the job done.
Meantime Green Tories have managed to make a mess of climate and energy policies, including allowing Parliament to declare a climate emergency in response to demonstrations around London and stop development of large natural gas fields that require fracking to extract the gas. The Tory solution to buy Liquefied Natural Gas from Russia instead of developing Britain’s own gas fields is more evidence that the Tories cannot run a country. And the foreign aid sent to help China develop fracking angered many.
Normally, such debacles would usher in the opposition Party, in this case Labour under Jeremy Corbyn. But Labour is even closer to extinction than the Conservatives. That has led to a surge in support for Nigel Farage and his barely six month old Brexit Party. They won nearly a third of the British vote in the recent EU parliamentary elections coming in first and relegating the Tories to fifth. The New York Times calls Farage “the most dangerous man in Britain,” because he advocates a conservative agenda. That agenda is decidedly populist and pragmatic on energy, climate, and immigration.
Holland and Finland move dramatically away from climate hysteria.
In March, the climate revolt spread to the Netherlands with a new political party, Forum for Democracy (FvD), winning 12 seats in the Dutch Senate and tying for the largest number of seats. The FvD’s leader, Thierry Baudet took a very skeptical view of climate change and campaigned against government funding of mitigation programs. He also took issue with international climate agreements, calling such efforts “climate change hysteria.”
In Finland, the Finns Party had little support ahead of the April 14 elections until it made battling alarmist climate policies its primary goal and took a strong stand against proposals to raise energy prices and limit energy use. At that point its popularity soared to the point that it won the second highest number of seats in the Finnish legislature, just one seat behind the Social Democratic Party. Even the New York Times admitted that the Finns Party’s remarkable performance was due to its climate skepticism.
Meanwhile in the USA…
In the United States, we have yet to progress as far to the Left as have other Western democracies. But we are certainly heading down the slippery slope. Wonder woman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) is pushing total war against fossil fuels with a $93 Trillion dollar taxpayer-funded plan to remake America in her image. Should that even be slightly successful, it will no doubt cause a backlash that will make the reactions we are now observing in other nations look anemic. AOC has no scientific background whatsoever, and her knowledge of economics is remarkably faulty, despite an economics degree from Boston University.
In Oregon, Far Left Democrats are threatening a new Carbon Tax that will harm the working class without any chance of improving our climate. None.
Democracy is a very messy way of dealing with many problems, but it does protect us from tyrants, ideologues and idiots – eventually. Unfortunately, a lot of damage occurs before the protective mechanisms take hold. We would be far better off to make the correct decisions in the first place. That means paying enough attention to scientific issues to spot the obvious scams and thinking through immigration issues to understand the consequences of allowing economic refugees unlimited access to our country and its welfare system.
Gordon J. Fulks lives in Corbett and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He holds a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago’s Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research and has noconflicts of interest on this subject.