“Let’s go,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says in promoting a new 15-city tour in support of her Green New Deal. Just one question — how exactly will they “go”? Unless it’s by bicycle or on foot, the organizers might have some explaining to do. They can’t travel by car, not even electric, since the energy to recharge vehicles comes primarily from coal and nuclear sources.
I know, I know … this qualifies as pouncing, doesn’t it? Via Twitchy:
‘We’re starting a 15-city tour + a 50-State campaign, starting in early primary states, to build political and public support for a Green New Deal.’ – @sunrisemvmt#ThisIsWhatDemocracyLooksLike ⬇️ https://t.co/bFs1nozd6e
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 14, 2019
The tour will be organized in part by Justice Democrats, which Ocasio-Cortez supports and which has pledged to primary Democratic moderates in 2020. The video urges Democratic politicians to fall in line behind the GND, or … else, presumably.
To watch this video forces one to come to the conclusion that the Magical GND Mystery Tour — the mystery being transportation — is some kind of modern Children’s Crusade. Rather than seeking Jerusalem, however, these children are trotting off in ignorance in order to impose Nirvana on everyone they meet along the way. They warn that a rising young generation wants to remake America in the same way that FDR’s New Deal and World War II supposedly created the “modern American middle class,” even though the American middle class had emerged decades earlier, and that the New Deal extended the Depression rather than bolstered the middle class. The video declares that they want to maintain the stable climate that humans have enjoyed for millennia without comprehending that the climate has changed constantly — and sometimes dramatically — throughout human existence.
In order to do this, the video instructs us, we will have to redo every building in America and cut off the sources that supply 79% of our current electrical energy needs — in ten years. That doesn’t count the energy needed for transportation, which is needed for ambitions like traveling from city to city. Transportation relies almost entirely fossil-fuel based sources, except for bicycles and feet. And even the production of bicycle tires and walking shoes relies on those fossil-based energy sources.
Robert Samuelson calls the GND a “make-believe” project of the most immature kind. The same can be said for this tour. Even so, it’s hardly the first utopianist fantasy we’ve indulged, at least for brief periods:
As Howard Gleckman of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center notes, it is “an ambitious manifesto demanding — among other things — a massive infrastructure initiative, a guaranteed job with a ‘family-sustaining wage,’ and universal access to high-quality health care, affordable housing, economic security, high-quality education, and healthy food.”
Granting the usual congressional penchant for exaggeration, this is still over-the-top. Most of it is make-believe. No one knows how much the program would cost. Gleckman says it would be “staggering.” The total would easily run to trillions of dollars.
We’ve been here before, as the eminent U.S. historian Richard Hofstadter once pointed out:
“We go off on periodic psychic sprees that purport to be moral crusades . . . [to] wipe out the saloon and liquor forever . . . [or to] destroy the political machines and put an end to corruption, or achieve absolute, total and final security against war. . . . Very often [these evils do exist and] . . . something can be done about them. [But our enthusiasm] often wanders over the border between reality and impossibility.”
This is surely true of the Green New Deal.
This appears to have wandered over the borders of both reality and impossibility, and straight into lunacy. But if the Green New Deal advocates adhere to their rejection of fossil-fuel energy, we can at least rest assured that they won’t be able to wander over many other borders.