Monday, September 21, 2015

How can the left be the change it wants to see?

If Pope Francis wants to push the First World to deindustrialize rather than suggesting that we tout and extend marvels like electricity and the rule of law that sustains open exchange, he should start washing his robes by hand. ...Be the change you wish to see, Pope Francis! - Joy Pullman
Pullman is clearly using Pope Francis as a proxy for the left here, but her criticism is extraordinarily confused. Environmentalists don't think that the fight against climate change should be left up to individual initiative. This is in fact precisely what distinguishes them from capitalists: they believe that the government should intervene. Ideally, we will live in a society where even if want to pollute the environment, and try to get away with it, the government will stop us. In that world the Pope's personal lifestyle choices are mostly irrelevant since they will be forced into compliance whether he likes it or not.

To act consistently with their call for government intervention, the thing leftists need to do is support government intervention. They should do things like vote for activist officials and ambitious policies and pay their taxes. They can choose to live an environmentally conscientious lifestyle if they like, but that has nothing to do with their call for government intervention.