The audacious “Green New Deal” championed by 29-year-old freshman New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described socialist, doesn’t have much to say about education. But no believer in intellectual freedom should be lulled to complacency.
Education would inevitably be a huge player were the dream of a statist-controlled climate utopia within a mere decade of becoming an operational scheme.
Ocasio-Cortez’s nonbinding House resolution, sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and quickly endorsed by several Democratic presidential hopefuls, puts education on a list of basic needs that are “inaccessible to a significant portion of the United States population.”
In reality, government schooling blankets the United States. If the “green” dreamers were bemoaning the barriers to families wanting to escape the all-encompassing death grip of government schooling by gaining accessibility to a good private school, that would be one thing. Clearly, though, they want the opposite: to make an already near-monopoly on education for the government an absolute one.
The first “resolved” of this “pronunciamento” is that “it is the duty of the federal government to create a Green New Deal.” Eleven pages later, it follows up with a declaration that education’s role would be to furnish training, “including higher education,” to “all” Americans so that “all people of the United States may be full and equal participants in the Green New Deal mobilization.”
“All” is a favorite word in the socialistic lexicon. “All” means all.
The scope of the nationalized mobilization is breathtaking. For example, the Green New Deal would compel us to retrofit our homes and businesses, to forgo air travel, to go the vegan way in our diets (abstaining from burgers, steaks, and dairy), and no doubt to enter a government retraining center upon finding our job becoming obsolete owing to connections with conventional energy generation (oil, coal, natural gas). Ranchers, miners, petroleum workers, and dairy farmers would be flat out of luck — until the government rescues them, of course.
Furthermore, Americans would find their tax rates continuously rising toward confiscatory levels — assuming they could manage to amass any wealth at all — and escalating electrical bills resulting from the mandatory tilt to inefficient windmills and solar panels would clean out what little remains in household budgets.
The socialist regime enacting such radical, far-reaching policies would certainly also demand government schools become political indoctrination centers, to effect this extreme mobilization. To enforce the green agenda, additional overt indoctrination to instill climate-change hysteria in the youth will be necessary. In recent days, we have had a peek at how that would work, thanks to a radical environmental outfit called the Sunrise Movement, which used grade-schoolers in the San Francisco Bay area to corner Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and demand her total support for the Green New Deal. (Commendably, the senator bluntly declined.)
These pre-teens wailed that they would be on a path to total destruction and death in just a decade because of an alleged climate crisis. Adults, including one accompanying them, obviously had brainwashed these kids thoroughly. And that is precisely the intent of the Sunrise Movement: to march an army of frightened, pleading young people through the corridors of power until the most zealous advocates can use the Green New Deal as a wedge for a total socialist transformation.
The Green New Deal is incredibly dangerous to every aspect of American life, including education, because, as the brilliant Anglo-Austrian economist F.A. Hayek noted in “The Road to Serfdom,” drawing from a quote by the Anglo-French writer Hilaire Belloc: “The control of the production of wealth is the control of human life itself.”
Liberty is the antidote to totalitarian control of our lives. The Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution (which most public schools no longer teach about extensively) safeguard our individual liberties from encroachment by a big, powerful, centralized government, including natural rights like freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and the right to own weapons.
Not least among these rights is that the federal government is forbidden from exercising powers not expressly granted to Congress and the executive branch. The 10th Amendment reserves those powers, including control of education, to the states and to the people. The Green New Deal’s alleged benefits, all of which are nothing more than smoke and mirrors, must not supersede our constitutional rights.
As President Trump declared in his 2019 State of the Union Address, “We are born free, and we will stay free.” May that always be true!
Robert Holland is a senior fellow in education policy at The Heartland Institute, a nonprofit group that advocates for limited government.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.