Since New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey proposed their respective Green New Deal resolutions, a stunning amount of commentary has been published — literally tens of millions of items on the web, according to Google.
No one can actually read all of this, so it’s time to wax philosophical. The Green New Deal provides an excellent opportunity to restore traditional political palettes. During the Civil War, blue and red characterized the Republican and Democratic Parties, respectively. This color scheme generally prevailed until about 2000.
This switch was ahistorical. Since at least the French Revolution, red has been associated with the political left, and with socialism and communism in particular. Red retained this association through the European Revolutions of 1848 and the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Though there are minor exceptions, red is the color of the left in Europe, the United Kingdom, and Latin America. In a bizarre form of American exceptionalism, the United States is different. To their credit, true leftists in the U.S. have refused to capitulate; they still use red as their symbolic color.
Now comes the proposed Green New Deal. Setting aside the specifics, which can be chewed over at leisure, its key feature is unapologetic leftism. It proposes a ”massive transformation of our society” away from free markets, property rights, and consumer sovereignty, to central planning, collective control (if not outright ownership) of the means of production, and the abolishment of individual liberty. These changes are essential to the Green New Deal, for without them none of its goals is remotely achievable at any price.
The Green New Deal is leftist in a way that we have not seen since 1948, when Henry Wallace was the standard-bearer of the Progressive Party, an early instance in which the New York Times noted extensive Russian collusion in American politics. The color of the Progressive Party was green, so that requires no revision. Fairly or not, environmentalists of the American left have often been called “watermelons” because, though “green” on the outside, inside they are red through and through.
Ocasio-Cortez’s H. Res. 109 has garnered 67 co-sponsors, all Democrats aligned with the left. Markey’s S. 59 has 11 co-sponsors, also so aligned. Five of the 11 also are declared candidates for the presidency. So how can we seriously fail to recognize that the Green New Deal is actually red, in a very traditional and historic sense
So is it possible to restore the traditional color schemes as a matter of good political hygiene?
The answer is simple, and the private sector can accomplish it without government subsidies or regulation, or a World War II-like mobilization along the lines demanded by Ocasio-Cortez. I propose a different “massive transformation of our society” in which our political colors are used honestly once again.
In his State of the Union address, President Trump declared, “America was founded on liberty and independence, and not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”
I see a hundred million red hats and shirts promoting the Green New Deal:
“Make Socialism Red Again.” In bold, green, capital letters.
Please excuse me while I contact my Chinese supplier before someone else gets the idea. The Chinese will do a great job. They are experts in red.
Dr. Richard Belzer is a member of the Federalist Society‘s Regulatory Transparency Project Energy & Environment Working Group, where he examines the purpose and effectiveness of federal energy and environmental regulations. He holds a doctorate in public policy from Harvard University and worked as a career economist for the federal Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.