By John Klar
Living in balance with nature is rare these days — few besides the remaining vestige of undisturbed Amazonian tribes do so. In the United States, if any group properly stewards the land it is the Amish, who have always distrusted technology as a destroyer of family ties and culture.
The latest liberal political fashion has been for hypocrites to invoke the climate as their virtue-signalling club to bludgeon fellow polluters. We all pollute — the question is how much this should be corrected by government mandate versus personal responsibility. Liberal elitists moralize that they “….consider it unconscionable to oppose government action against climate change.”
This is doubly immoral. First, those who seek to employ government as moralizer are abandoning the U.S. Constitution and its protections — which many Americans deem “unconscionable.” Second, these are always the people with massive logs in their eyes pointing at the twigs in others’. That zany Kyle Jureckfrom Bernie Sanders’ campaign who wanted to kill people and put them into Gulags to save the world’s wildlife was sitting under electric lights with food-to-go on the table in front of him. Greta Thunberg’s yacht crew took flights to support her sailing into U.S. climate politicization. Young people pollute more than their elders, whom they hatefully condemn for polluting.
Back in 1970, author Wendell berry observed:
Every time we draw a breath, every time we drink a glass of water, every time we eat a bite of food we are suffering from [the environmental crisis]…. Nearly every one of us, nearly every day of his life, is contributing directly to the ruin of this planet. A protest meeting on the issue of environmental abuse is not a convocation of accusers, it is a convocation of the guilty. That realization ought to clear the smog of self-righteousness that has almost conventionally hovered over these occasions, and let us see the work that is to be done (Wendell Berry, “Think Little,” from A Continuous Harmony, 1970, p.75.)
Fifty years on, today’s “climate warriors” are not interested in contributing to the work that they need to do — they weaponize our ecosystem for political power, while grabbing plastic-wrapped food from China on the way to an Antifa eco-rally. Cleaning up the environment requires more than scenting with patchouli and dreading hair.
Rome fell, it has been speculated, in part due to the disconnected dithering of urban elitists which caused the countryside (where the food was grown) to deteriorate and become vulnerable to barbarian raiders. Today’s eco-warriors fiddle while their food sources burn — in their microwaves, likely. (Or maybe their food is delivered by Uber while they engage in cyber-battles on their i-phones and computers against dairy farmers, or on behalf of migrant farm workers who perform the labor that supplies their pre-packaged snacks.) Some 30% of today’s college students don’t know how to boil an egg!
As the stock market plummets, dangerous dependency on China for fossil-fuel-dependent food might force its way into the liberal activist conscience. The Amish, meanwhile, will continue to make food production and land stewardship the foundation of their livelihood and way of life. If the nation’s fiat currency implodes, the progressives can enact scads of social justice laws while inflation makes the U.S dollar more closely equate that of Zimbabwe’s. But the Amish will eat fresh eggs, while young progressives contemplate how to go about boiling them — if they can find any.
The Amish don’t use fossil fuels very much. A currency collapse would make city-dwellers cold in winter — the Amish would have wood. Liberal East Coast fossil fuel opponents would have a long wait for their food to be shipped in electric trucks from California and Arizona — the Amish already have canned beets, meats, and green beans in the root cellar.
The Amish do not involve themselves in politics. Otherwise, they might berate all of us for squabbling over how much pollution we generate, while we keep generating it.
Perhaps the climate protesters perceive that they have a mandate from the Amish to protest in their stead. This is, after all, the modus operandi of liberal white suburban protesters who wear Nikes and champion the plight of inner city blacks; who watch porn in their #metoo sweatshirts; who use fascist tactics to assault people who wear MAGA hats; who drive BMW’s while chanting slogans for undocumented aliens.
The Amish eschew that sort of hypocrisy. Perhaps more of today’s urban elites should form backwoods communes, learn German, dress modestly, and abandon their perpetual Rumspringa. Then they would have the perspective to browbeat others.
Of course, then they would be silent. But, they would pollute the environment, and American politics, less.
John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield. He is running for governor in 2020.