For a couple of decades I have asked, “Who in his right mind ever thought it made any sense whatever to entrust to the government the shaping of the minds of the people by whose consent it is supposed to govern?” I cannot imagine a question more suitably designed to lay bare the totalitarian tendency of government-run “education.”
The tenth point of the Communist Manifesto calls for “Free education for all children in public schools.”
Marx and Engels knew exactly why this was important: because it would undercut freedom of thought not, initially, by obviously draconian restrictions (such as the threat to prosecute those who question the magnitude, causes, risks and benefits of, and best responses to global warming) but rather by the subtle substitution of propaganda for free thought.
The founders of “public” schooling in America, working even before the 1848 release of the Communist Manifesto, knew precisely why they wanted to replace the private, locally controlled, mostly church-run schools that dominated education in America with government-run schools: to “socialize” American youth, that is, to make them fit to function as unquestioning cogs in the socialist machine.
In keeping with this tradition, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) has introduced a bill to “authorize the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to establish a Climate Change Education Program.” The bill asserts as grounds for creating this program that Congress “finds” six things, each of which is open to significant debate as to its fact or its significance:
- “the evidence for human-induced climate change is overwhelming and undeniable”—Implicit in these seemingly innocuous words, but made clear by some that follow, is the assumption that the human-induced climate change for which the evidence is “overwhelming and undeniable” is reasonable grounds for “fear” and a “sense of helplessness” and that its “impact on the environment” must be “reduce[d].” But despite its prevalence in the language of climate alarmists like Markey, none of that is clear in the scientific evidence. What is clear in the scientific evidence is that adding CO2 and other “greenhouse gases” to the atmosphere will, all other things being equal, make it somewhat warmer than it otherwise would be. But it is also clear that the direct warming effect of that added CO2 is small (roughly 1C) and probably benign (lengthening growing seasons and expanding growing ranges poleward); that warming in the range of 2–4C, only the upper reaches of which would likely have major net negative effects, would require that “all other things” multiple that direct warming by 2 to 4 times; and that the observed warming trend over the period when those emissions have allegedly been the primary driver has been inconsistent with such an assumption and is consistent instead with “all other things” leading to net warming in the range of about 0.5–2C.
- “the United States is the second highest emitter of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the world”—Yet the complete elimination of all of our CO2 emissions, at a cost of trillions of dollars and a major reduction in economic output and therefore living standard, would have negligible, perhaps undetectable impact on global average temperature.
- “atmospheric carbon can be significantly reduced through conservation, by shifting to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, tidal, and geothermal, and by increasing the efficiency of buildings, including domiciles, and transportation”—Contra the chemical illiteracy and the fear-inducing purposes apparent in the substitution of “carbon” for “carbon dioxide,” carbon is an element that, in the form of fine particulate matter, is black, solid, and a contributor to respiratory diseases, whereas carbon dioxide is a molecule, an odorless, colorless gas non-toxic at twenty times the current ~400 parts per million and essential to all life. Furthermore, the costs of reducing our CO2 emissions probably far exceeds the value of our doing so and is likely to reduce rather than enhance human health and life expectancy.
- “providing clear information about climate change, in a variety of forms, can remove the fear and the sense of helplessness, and encourage individuals and communities to take action”—On the contrary, it is precisely to promote fear that this legislation is offered, with the intent that the fear will drive voters to support policies the costs of which (not only in terms of material wellbeing but also in terms of reduced liberty) will exceed the benefits.
- “implementation of measures that promote energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy will greatly reduce human impact on the environment”—While reduction of traditional pollutants from burning fossil fuels (fly ash, oxides of sulfur and nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and some toxic metals) does enhance human health (and has already been achieved to a level at which the cost of further reductions will exceed the benefits), the reduction of CO2 emissions is likely to do more harm than good by reducing economic productivity and so the affordability of food, clothing, shelter, transportation, health care, and all other things that enhance human wellbeing. Indeed, a peer-reviewed study concludes that full implementation of U.S. climate policies every year through the end of this century would reduce global average temperature by at most 0.031C, and full implementation of the Paris climate treaty would reduce it by at most 0.17C—amounts so slight as to have no significant impact.
- “informing people of new technologies and programs as they become available will ensure maximum understanding and maximum impact of those measures”—Ignore for the moment that (as just stated) the fact that the maximum impact of these measures will be insignificant, what is the implication of “ensur[ing] maximum understanding and maximum impact”? That people will support and comply with the measures, i.e., that they will subject their minds and consciences to the dictates of the likes of Senator Markey.
In short, Senator Markey’s bill would, if passed, serve more to frighten American government-schooled children than to ensure that they receive the kind of information necessary for them to think critically and act as the free citizens they are supposed to be. Marx and Engels would be proud.
E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., is Founder and National Spokesman of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.