by Edward Ring
“Do we see largely that it’s the global south and communities of color that may be bearing the brunt of the initial havoc from climate change?—Without a doubt.—And in terms of that wealth, the people that are producing climate change, the folks that are responsible for the largest amount of emissions, or communities or corporations, they tend to be predominantly white, correct?—Yes, and every study backs that up.”
—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Congressional Hearings on Climate and Race, October 2019
Welcome to yet another example of the nexus between climate change alarmism and a socialist redistribution agenda fueled by racial resentment. That may be old news to those of us paying attention, but thanks to birdbrained stooges like U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) the blatant race-baiting rhetoric is being turned up a notch.
And why not? If you’re a socialist, or a globalist, there is only upside to tagging nations of European heritage with guilt for the problems facing their “communities of color,” or the problems in the rest of the non-European world. It would be far too painful to consider the alternative explanation, which is that socialism, in all of its antecedents and derivatives, is the primary cause of the societal afflictions that plague “people of color” both in America and abroad.
Deconstructing Ocasio-Cortez’s convoluted logic isn’t hard intellectually, but the implications are hard indeed, at least for anyone who shares her delusional worldview.
Her arguments rest on three premises that build upon one another, and all of them are easily shattered by hard facts. Those premises are: 1) White racism is pervasive and explains income inequality; 2) climate change is an ongoing catastrophe that primarily harms “people of color”; 3) and socialism is the solution.
To get the most obviously flawed premise out of the way first, examine the plight of “communities of color” both locally and globally. The immediate fact that destroys this premise is the “communities of color” that are prosperous and thriving. Most of East Asia falls into that category. As for the “global south,” Singapore comes to mind. Sitting just one degree north of the equator, it is a sun-drenched, monsoon-swept city, situated in the absolute heart of the tropics.
Singapore’s success comes despite it being a multicultural nation overwhelmingly populated by “people of color,” coping with a supposedly hideous legacy of colonial oppression; its territory is a steaming jungle with no natural resources. Yet it is one of the wealthiest nations on Earth.
You can look to communities within America and make the same myth-busting observations. According to a 2018 Pew Research study, the richest ethnic group in the United States is Indian Americans, with a median household income of just over $100,000 a year. And U.S. Census Bureau data show “the median income for households led by someone of Nigerian ancestry . . . was $68,658 in 2018, compared with $61,937 for U.S. households overall.”
Why do some “communities of color” thrive, outpacing whites in education and income, while others do not? Could it be that the communities that are relatively unsuccessful are not victims of racism? After all, if that were true, why in America are people of Asian, East Indian, and Nigerian descent, along with many other “communities of color,” evidently exempt from the impact of racism?
Could it be that socialism, or its antecedents – welfare, unionized public education, affirmative action, leftist indoctrination, a victim mentality, and the pure, venal corruption that plagues big American cities run by Democrats – have combined to all but destroy these “communities of color?” Destroyed their families. Destroyed their work ethic. Destroyed their faith in themselves, their faith in their community, their faith in America itself? There is no “racism” in any of that.
Or to put it more precisely: in all these policies promoted by or associated with Democrats, there is none of the white, conservative, Republican sort of racism that seems to concern Ocasio-Cortez.
Ocasio-Cortez may look at her reflection in the mirror, and believe herself to be a crusader for social justice and a “green new deal,” but in fact she is becoming part of a rich, grasping, intergenerational gang of parasites who build their careers and their bureaucratic empires by spouting racist, quasi-Marxist trash to keep down the people they claim to care about. Ocasio- Cortez’s predecessors not only have created the poverty they claim they’re fighting, but they also need that poverty the way a virus needs a host.
Beware the Climate Bogeyman
The other flawed premise, fundamental to the socialist goal of global redistribution of wealth, is “climate change,” once known as global warming. The “climate crisis” is the boogeyman that Ocasio-Cortez hopes to ride into the White House with President-elect Joe Biden. Heading up his “climate task force,” she has made demagogic fear mongering in the name of the planet a big part of her act.
But the act is wearing thin. Unlike the far more convenient threat of imminent death from a global pandemic (however overhyped that may or may not be), anyone with an IQ north of room temperature realizes by now that the climate apocalypse deadlines have come and gone, and come and gone, and come and gone.
Why don’t conservatives challenge the scientific theory that anthropogenic CO2 is causing catastrophic climate change? Because the “science is settled” and “science” is sacred? “Science” has become so sacred, in fact, it’s become like an Aztec god that must be appeased. Cut a beating human heart out on the altar of Huītzilōpōchtli. Or throw a human sacrifice into the cauldron of Pele. Or bash in someone’s skull and bury them in a Polynesian pit. The God of Science must never be questioned, and Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez is a high priestess.
This preposterous paradox remains more or less unexamined, that “science” has become weaponized by a gang of green theocrats. But science is no longer science when it is “settled” and is instead used to stifle scientific inquiry, debate, and healthy skepticism.
Just as “racism” does not explain disparate outcomes for people of varying ethnicities, “climate change” is not conclusively demonstrated to be associated with the burning of fossil fuel, and what climate change we do observe is not demonstrated to be catastrophic. In fact, the net effect of increased concentrations of CO2 may be mostly positive both for humans and ecosystems.
Climate change policies, misguided and misanthropic, have lowered the credibility of environmentalists at the same time as they have flattened the trajectory of solutions to genuine environmental challenges. Clean up the filthy air in New Delhi, for example. The unhealthy air pollution has nothing to do with CO2, and everything to do with high-sulfur fuel and inadequate exhaust controls. Quit incinerating rainforests to monocrop ethanol from sugar cane and diesel fuel from palm oil. Quit asphyxiating women across the global south who have to cook with wood because natural gas is not “carbon neutral.” Quit pouring finite resources into crony green corporate boondoggles.
Socialism’s Dangerous Deceptions
Finally, to shatter the core premise of the Left: socialism obviously is not the cure for racism, nor is it the cure for economic inequality. Ocasio-Cortez is invited to identify one nation or society, today or throughout history, where socialism delivered freedom, prosperity and social justice. She’ll find instead a hideous legacy of tyranny, poverty, and murder. Those wonderful Scandinavian economies, held up as examples, do not qualify. They are mixed capitalist economies with (until recently) culturally homogeneous populations. They don’t count. They’re not socialist.
Capitalism, despite its flaws, and requiring judicious regulation, is the only system that can provide anything like equal opportunity. But it cannot provide equal outcomes, nor should it. Because without private property, which is guaranteed in a capitalist system, nobody tries, nobody cares, competence doesn’t matter, effort and ability don’t matter; all that matters is who you know and who you bribe. Socialism, at its core, nurtures resentment, cynicism, corruption, dissipation, decay, despair, and despotism. It is a seductive illusion, promising everything in exchange for nothing. Its adherents are a perilous mixture of the evil and the naive.
Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is not evil. She is an ignorant, mostly unwitting demagogue, and she is a puppet. The premises that underlie the world view she promotes – pertaining to racism, socialism, and climate “science”—are dangerous deceptions. They will deliver the most harm to the people their rhetoric says they aim to help the most. All three of these premises must be challenged without apology, without rest, without quarter.
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Edward Ring is a senior fellow of the Center for American Greatness and co-founder of the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013.