I am a very strong believer in protecting and preserving the environment but I am not a believer in deceptive use of smoke and mirrors to obfuscate that goal. The recently rejected Paris “Accord” was, in my opinion, not only inadequate, but fraudulent. It is non-binding for heavens sakes! How much more than that do real environmentalists (as opposed to political opportunists) need to know? It’s as though the nuclear non-proliferation treaty were non-binding and merely aspirational. Or criminal laws just suggestions. Aspirations are fine for what they’re worth, especially when, as in the Paris Accord, they include details and targets, a positive thing. But to fool progressives into thinking that they are more than wishful thinking and to deflect real efforts to create binding standards likely to be complied with is malevolent.
The case of the Paris Accord is especially cynical given the undeniable fact that the Obama administration only entered into it last November, after the presidential elections, and did so in a manner bypassing Congress assuring that its applicability could be easily overcome. Thus, the Paris Accord did not apply to the Obama administration but could be used as a pretext to attack the Republicans and as a fund raising vehicle for the next Congressional elections. Machiavelli’s ghost must be smiling.
As is too often the case, especially since the recent presidential election, hysterically hyperbolic progressive reaction is not a plea for environmental sanity but rather, a demand that we continue to be misled and misdirected. Something we do much too often. So much so that we have become reliable albeit unwitting accomplices to the political machinations of those who could care less about the reality of the causes we espouse. As a test, measure how many fundraising letters you’ll receive from Democratic Party operatives to elect a new Congress in order to overturn the President’s decision, funds that, for the main part, will find their way to mass media coffers (remember, unlike most progressive states, our elections are privately financed).
In this case, as in the case of the great healthcare debates (satire), there may be very positive aspects that demonstrate that the Law of Unintended Consequences is not always detrimental. While more than anything involving political opportunism and hypocrisy, the purported decisions by United States municipalities, states, corporations and individuals to comply with the Paris Accord (we’ll see how much they live up to them and who holds them accountable) gives life to the most positive aspects of federalism. After all, the Great Experiment, as federalism was originally referred to, was designed to permit experimentation among the states in the expectation that the most positive solutions to governmental problems would be replicated.
If the states, municipalities, corporations and individuals (the latter being perhaps the most important) who have vowed to live up to the Paris Accords notwithstanding their disavowal by the federal government are serious in their purported concern for our environment (unfortunately doubtful), then they will enact and abide by specifically detailed legislation, with serious consequences for noncompliance, including appropriate benchmarks, rather than mere aspirations. The same is true with respect to issues involving the competing disastrously inept federal health care proposals (Obama v Trump). If states don’t like them, they should craft their own, something California seems to be considering.
We progressives need to wake up and to stop letting faux liberals and the very malevolent mainstream media continue to use, abuse, deceive and manipulate us.
The world needs us, our posterity needs us, our planet needs us.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2017; all rights reserved
Guillermo Calvo Mahé is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia. Until recently he chaired the Political Science, Government and International Relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science, law, international legal studies and translation studies and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.