careful what you wish for!

If you think Kelo confiscations are bad, get ready. In the name of combating anthropogenic global warming, a package of new laws are being readied which Kimberley A. Strassel describes as "an extraordinary new tool to allow environmentalists to lock up private property across the country" affecting "every dirt clod in America--publicly or privately owned."

Despite the fact that there's still a constitution in this country, the new laws would allow the federal government to basically confiscate any and all private property it wanted -- as long as it invoked the anthropogenic global warming mantra:

the big prize was an unprecedented new power allowing green groups to micromanage U.S. lands. That section creates "a new national policy on wildlife and global warming." It would require the Secretary of the Interior to "assist" species in adapting to global warming, as well as "protect, acquire and restore habitat" that is "vulnerable" to climate change. This is the Endangered Species Act on steroids. At least under today's (albeit dysfunctional) species act, outside groups must provide evidence a species is dwindling in order for the government to step in. This law would have no such requirements. Since green groups will argue that every species is vulnerable to climate change, the government will be obliged to manage every acre containing a bird, bee or flower.

It's a green dream come true, carte blanche to promulgate endless regulations barring tree-cutting, house-building, water-damming, snowmobile-riding, waterskiing, garden-planting, or any other human activity. The section is vague ("protect," "assist," "restore") precisely so as to leave the door open to practically anything. In theory, your friendly Fish & Wildlife representative could even command you to start applying sunblock to your resident chipmunks' noses.

Naturally, the laws have been written by environmental activists:
The draft of Mr. Rahall's bill was greeted by a glowing letter from 13 environmental outfits--EarthJustice, Environmental Defense, American Rivers, the usual crew--voicing their "strong support" for the legislation. As they might, since it appears they wrote it. A May 29 letter from Defenders of the Wildlife Executive Vice President Jamie Rappaport Clark--President Clinton's onetime wilderness guru--crowed that her group "worked with committee and congressional staff as they developed" the new global warming wildlife program. She also extols the big bucks that will flow to federal and state wildlife agencies as a result of that global warming initiative.
Fortunately, it's not law yet, as lameduck Bush still has veto power.

But will he use it?

Glenn Reynolds wondered whether the Republican Party is on a suicide mission lately. While I'm cynical enough to think that what's going on might be a power sharing deal secretly brokered at high levels, I have no proof for what I admit is basically a conspiracy theory, which I offer for entertainment value only (much the way I might offer an astrological theory).

But wide-open lunatic regulations like this make me wonder whether the Democrats might have a similar death wish. If they keep doing stuff like allowing activists to write draconian and unconstitutional legislation, and the Republicans bend over and let them do it as part of a loser strategy, the resultant voter backlash might cause the Republicans to win in 2008 -- especially with an outsider like Fred Thompson on the ticket. (It wouldn't be his fault, of course!)

Putting aside for now the Freudian question of whether we all have an unconscious death wish, there's plenty of irony in analyzing death wish strategies by the degree to which they generate voter backlash.

It's like, whoever wants to die more, wins.

A hell of a way to die.

posted by Eric on 06.19.07 at 09:54 AM


Sooooo ... what of Native American Lands?

mdmhvonpa   ·  June 19, 2007 1:39 PM

"Native" means having been born here.

This land is your land. This land is my land. Etc.

Eric Scheie   ·  June 19, 2007 3:23 PM

Looks like one of us has / a forged deed to this land -- PJ O'Rourke

Michael Brazier   ·  June 19, 2007 10:09 PM

Apparently we are all merely costodians of our land, safekeeping it until such a day as the government decides it's final best utility.

Papertiger   ·  June 19, 2007 10:51 PM

Liberty is impossible absent a government dedicated to defending individual property rights.

It was nice while it lasted.

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