Creating Jobs That Destroy The Environment Is Like Hiring Someone To Spit In Your Food
Could you imagine if some eccentric billionaire decided to start paying thousands of people to spit in all the food in Seattle, Washington? How upset would everyone be? There’d be protests every day, people calling themselves Food Protectors would try to barricade the new Food Spitting Factory through which all food marked for Seattle delivery is routed.
How crazy would it be if instead of defending the people of Seattle, people started defending the billionaire instead? If they started citing the fact that the billionaire was employing thousands of food spitters as a justification for what he was doing? How crazy would it be if the President of the United States signed an executive order that the food spitting should commence, saying, “This is gonna create a lot of jobs, 28,000 jobs, great food spitting jobs.”
Republicans are such alien creatures to me. I spend so much time talking about the way establishment Democrats are obstructing the progressive agenda that I forget what stark raving lunatics Republicans are. This whole argument, that you can’t stop your nation’s ecosystem-killing policies because some people earn their living killing the ecosystem, might just be the single dumbest thing that humans have ever come up with, and we’ve invented war, religion, and Comedy Central.
Never mind the fact that Trump is vastly exaggerating the number of jobs that the construction of the pipelines will create. Never mind the fact that after one or two years of construction there’ll only be 35 permanent jobs at Keystone XL and probably not much more at Dakota Access. Never mind that pipelines are used to make professional transporters like truckers obsolete. I don’t care about any of that right now. I care that the fundamental premise of the argument is absurd.
This sort of thing is why I lean much harder toward socialism than capitalism. Capitalism, even if it were divorced from corporatist manipulation in the sort of free market utopia that libertarians have wet dreams about, necessarily brings with it arguments like, “Well if we stop people from earning a living destroying the environment, we’ll have to let them starve to death. Is that what you want? For them and their children to starve, all for your stupid precious ecosystem?”
That’s not the sort of world I want to live in, where people are forced to wage war upon the ecosystemic context in which our species evolved and upon which our survival is built under threat of poverty and starvation. That is sheer madness and should be fanatically opposed, but it’s upheld as a perfectly normal and sane way of looking at things. If someone finds a way to make money by dumping actual, literal fish poison into the sea, you can bet your ass that Republicans and corporate Dems will all be there cheering them along in the name of job creation.
Libertarians and anarcho-capitalists have no answer for this sort of madness. Granted, if you succeeded in prying the tentacles of corporatism off of the economic system you wouldn’t have the government conspiring with fossil fuel companies to ensure the hegemony of that form of energy, but you’d still have people getting rich dumping poison into the air and the water, and now with even fewer regulations. The free market is not some sort of magical, beneficent fairy deity capable of solving all of mankind’s woes if we would just leave it to its own devices; it’s a conceptual construct people made up in their heads, just like every other fantasy deity we’ve espoused over the millennia.
Call me crazy, but I think it’d be nice to live in a world where the ecosystem we require for survival is sustained, and people aren’t threatened with starvation at the hands of an arbitrary monetary system we made up if they refuse to collaborate with its destruction. We’ve got this whole planet that’s tailor-suited to sustain us, and people are already building rocket ships to escape to a separate deserted rock in our solar system because we’re destroying our home. People got so excited to find water on Mars, when our planet is freaking blue because there’s so much of it right here. All we have to do is learn to collaborate with it and take care of each other.
We can do that. It’s so much easier, safer and more natural than what we’ve been doing. Let’s turn away from the crazy and move toward the sane.