By William Tucker on 4.6.12 @ 6:10AM

As a faithful tool of the environmentalists, the president betrays his main constituents.

There is a fundamental contradiction in the philosophy of President Obama that he is going to have to resolve before the electorate hangs him out to dry in the coming presidential campaign.

As the first African-American President, Barack Obama has come to embody the hopes of other groups that felt excluded from American society -- Hispanics, women, gays and lesbians, the handicapped and so on. There is an openly articulated strategy among his supporters that these out-groups can be forged into some grand coalition -- along with young people, pensioners and government employees -- to outvote the only group that does not seem to respond to the President's ministrations -- white men employed in the private sector.

But there is a problem with this strategy. In climbing through the ranks of academia and the liberal political world, the President has found himself welcomed at every level by people who saw in him the qualities of leadership that could represent their case. But in making this ascent through academia, he has imbibed the reigning ideology of this world -- environmentalism. Although the President may not recognize it, environmentalism works in direct opposition to the groups he purports to sponsor -- the poor, the disenfranchised, the unemployed, and so forth.

When stripped of its homilies about the beauties of the nature and virtues of a "sustainable" economy, environmentalism is basically an ideology for the protection of privilege. It works in favor of those who feel satisfied with current levels of consumption and against those who are trying to achieve greater levels of prosperity. As Michael Schellenberger and Ted Nordhaus expressed it in their landmark essay, "The Death of Environmentalism":

Environmentalists… aim to short-circuit democratic values by establishing Nature… as the ultimate authority that human societies must obey. And they insist that humanity's future is a zero-sum proposition -- that there is only so much prosperity, material comfort and modernity to go around. If too many people desire such things, we will all be ruined. We, of course, meaning those of us who have already achieved prosperity, material comfort and modernity.

Environmentalists make a living going around stirring up local opposition to all manner of development -- drilling for oil, harvesting forests, building power plants. The premise is always that this is the "wrong place" for such development and that whatever needs to be done is better taken care of somewhere else. What never gets noticed is that environmentalists are also doing the same thing in the next valley and the one after that and the sum of all this is that nothing gets done. They urge people to "think globally, act locally," but what this means in practice is professing some grand support for a "sustainable" economy built on "renewable" technologies while opposing the same things at the local level.
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