I recently read Glenn Beck’s Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-Of-Control Government. I found the book intriguing, although somewhat disappointing. The main ideas in Beck’s book are driven home daily on his TV show, so the ideas really aren’t anything new. The book does contain some specific examples of government being influenced by progressivism in a way that grows government control and scope. One such example is his discussion of the “green movement”.

He discusses the topic on pp. 69-77. Beck sounds the alarm that people who want to go green are really doing so for the purpose of taking away personal freedoms from individuals. I’m not convinced this is always the case. To be fair, Beck is only arguing against the Sierra club, and Al Gore, etc. He doesn’t mention people like me. Glenn says that 1) there is no environmental problem 2) the environmental problem changes to suit the needs of the special interest groups 3) the purpose of the policies recomended by these groups is to take away freedom from individuals and give that power to the government.

In a way I agree. When Beck discusses cap and trade policies, I wholehartedly agree. They result in an increased tax revenue, but there is no garuntee that they result in a reduction of emissions. Reform which gave incentives for making environmental improvements seems to be better suited to accomplishing the goal of correcting the environmental problem.

But, not everyone who wants to “go green” is in favor of cap and trade. I’m not. I take a unique position that: Each person should act in accordance with their own personal motivation to take care of the environment. If someone does not want to take care of the planet, but make it a wasteland, they can do that. I won’t be around to see it, but they can do that. On the other hand, I feel that it is my personal responsibility as a Christian to care for the environment. This is because in my view it is God’s creation, and therefore worthy of honor from me. Honoring God’s creation gives honor to God. That’s why I wrote a paper called “Recycling as an Act of Worship”.

For me, environmental responsibility is something that I am responsible to God for as an individual. I want to increase others awareness of the fact that God’s creation deserves respect, so that they are self-motivated to do it. I think the difference is that I fundamentally believe that changes in thinking occur at the personal level and not the national or policy level. A change in policy without a change in each individual’s thinking leads to individuals who grudgingly obey the law – or flat out disrespect the law as a statement of their view.

For me, Beck fails to take this possibility into account in his evaluation. Perhaps it is because there are not many people who are passionate about the environment, but want to do something with that passion on an individual level instead of a national level. I take showers, I don’t live in a tree, but I do make sure that what I buy comes from as much of renewable sources as possible, and that it is made by people who are paid a fair wage.  I do this because I’m a Christian first, and as a result I care about the environment.

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One comment on “

  • i tend line up pretty closely with your views in this area. i know more & more eco-friendly conservatives. my personal conviction to try & be more eco-friendly stems primarily from my interpretation of the humanity’s purpose in genesis 1-2, specifically our status as rulers of God’s creation.

    i’m you’re also right, though, that green politics are more often than not a smokescreen for something else. but, i’m slanted in that i’m cynical right now & believe the vast majority of american politics is a smokescreen for hidden agendas.

    good thoughts


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