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Response to PA Gov. Tom Ridge on Conservatives & the Environment

On April 22nd this year, Earth Day, The Atlantic published an opinion piece by former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, about conservatives and the environment (https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/04/environment-gop-out-touch/610333/). The Atlantic solicited responses to Ridge’s essay, and so I submitted one to them, but received back no indication they would publish it. They did not publish it, because liberals like those at The Atlantic accept and publish only liberals, and reject conservatives.  So here it is, my response to Governor Ridge’s essay about conservatives and the environment.

I felt compelled to respond to Governor Ridge’s essay, in part because I worked in his administration, and in part because I have met few Republicans who can articulate a truly conservative view of environmental policy, which Governor Ridge failed to do. I was also afraid of being seen as attacking someone I hold in high esteem, and I need to say that while I may disagree with Governor Ridge’s essay and some of his recent public stances, like supporting PA governor Tom Wolf’s covid19 lockdown, I remain impressed by Governor Ridge’s high character. I am proud to have served in his distinctively excellent administration.

Governor Ridge’s  essay slightly opens a doorway that I am both pleased and also reluctant to push all the way open. But it needs to be opened, all the way, because for far too long establishment Republicans have claimed to be conservatives, while acting like liberals.

Governor Ridge writes his essay “as a conservative,” and despite boldly leading by example in placing highly competent gays, women, and minorities in senior government positions literally decades ago, long before most Democrats followed suit, Governor Ridge was, in fact, a true conservative. His achievements in conservative policy are legion, including Pennsylvania becoming a shall-issue concealed firearm carry state and his administration’s brownfield land recycling program.

Nonetheless, the emphasis today is on he “was.”

Governor Ridge was a conservative, and by today’s standard, he is not. This is not because Governor Ridge has changed, but because what now defines a conservative has changed so dramatically since the time he was governor. The same holds true for liberals, by the way, in their own way (we see the Democrat Party now a totally, openly, violent, racist, anti-America Marxist organization).

And like so many, if not all other political elites, especially Republicans, and most especially establishment Republicans from the hide-bound, bunker-mentality Pennsylvania GOP, Governor Ridge has not changed with the times. Governor Ridge was a conservative, and today he often speaks like a liberal, and sides with liberals on policy disputes. He is not alone in this, but each Republican who does so still causes pain to us conservatives in the political trenches. It is frustrating as hell to experience a former Republican appointee or elected official try to speak with authority as some sort of representative of conservativism, when in fact, they are simply liberals. Or RINOs for short (Republican In Name Only – not conservative).

Probably the biggest indication that Governor Ridge is out of synch with today’s conservatives is how he encourages us to adopt a laundry list of liberal environmental policies in his The Atlantic essay. This means that his solution for conservatives to succeed is for us to adopt liberalism. Even though most of the “environmental” groups are simply employment offices for Democrat Party operatives pushing Marxist, partisan policies. Very few environmental groups today are even seeking solutions, because they are busy dreaming up new problems.

Most of the policies pushed by environmental groups today are by definition Big Coercive Government, Small Defenseless Citizen, anti-Constitution, disregard for private property rights, mountains out of mole hills, and so on. These groups are not about the environment, they simply use the subject of the environment as another avenue to push Marxism and the Big Government necessary to force it down our throats. Governor Ridge should know this, of all people.

What Governor Ridge failed to address is: How can we conservatives embrace the very same failed and inferior liberal policies that drove us to becoming conservatives in the first place? If we adopt liberalism, then we are abandoning conservativism, and failing as conservatives.

Every single environmental policy recommendation that Governor Ridge lists in his essay directly contradicts core conservative principles, like small government, less intrusive government, less spendy government, less activist government, less regulatory government, accountable government and accountable taxpayer-funded government employees. Literally every single policy he lists requires the government to intervene in a big, coercive way, often over trifling differences or demonstrably false premises.

Governor Ridge’s environmental ideas are not conservativism; they are quintessential big government liberalism.

Perhaps the centerpiece of his essay is that conservatives must concede at least a bit on “climate change.” Yet, for conservatives, this particular issue, more than any other, highlights the distinction between us and liberals. For conservatives to agree with the Marxist, disproven, and notoriously phony climate change religion would be to abandon basic, solid, conservative principles altogether….like Capitalism 101, solid math and science, and transparency. Again, we are unpersuaded the climate warming-cooling-change-whatever issue even exists, let alone that a government solution consistent with America’s Constitution could be found.

Governor Ridge writes “The Republican Party has largely abandoned environmental issues.” To which I and a host of other conservatives would respond, No, but many Republicans have abandoned the citizen voters and the forgotten taxpayers of America. Many careerist Republicans have embraced popular culture and its feel-good-now bubblegum policies. For Republicans to respect openly partisan “environmental” groups and embrace liberal nonsense like so-called ‘climate change’ and similar policies would only be one more betrayal in a long line of policy and political betrayals committed by the Republican establishment. Conservatives have perfectly sound environmental policies based on perfectly sound, all-American principles. If you but ask us, we will explain them. We conservatives didn’t abandon environmental issues, nor did we leave the Republican Party. The Republican establishment abandoned us.

Josh First is president of Appalachian Land & Conservation Services, LLC. He has worked at the US EPA in Washington, DC, The Conservation Fund, the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy, and was Director of Environmental Education and Information at the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources in the Governor Tom Ridge administration.

Today’s slavery

Yes, today’s slavery is the long-going slavery of Africa, where after a thousand years of continuous slaving, both Africans and Arabs still enslave weaker Africans and sell them or use them as slaves. The contraband diamond pits of west Africa are where many African slaves are sent nowadays, even as small children. Worked unceasingly with little food or shelter, people don’t last long in these roles.

This is occasionally reported in the press, mostly in the English media, which has a commendably long history of abolitionist fervor.

Yes, it is also the “white” slavery of Asia, Europe, and America, where every-day people down on their luck disappear from streets, bars, and hotels. Some are already prostitutes, largely separated from their families and friends, and thus already vulnerable to going missing. They are already easy pickings for disappearing and sale abroad. Plenty of white girls from stable middle-income homes are included; “runaways” who are never found.

Many are sold to Asian, Arab, and European oligarchs, who use these slaves for personal pleasure until they are done with their “fun,” and then they discard them like a broken toy. The discard is usually some sadistic and gruesome ending.

Plenty of Chinese and Latin American people are being shipped over into America as slaves, too, as are Russians and Ukrainians. They have specific destinations, usually factories, where they are promised eventual release for working long days. If you think they are eventually released, don’t kid yourself. Once a human being is enslaved, that’s it. Pretty much only escaping is the happy answer to the question of what next.

A very tiny amount of this is reported in any media, and why this is so, remains a mystery. After all, slavery is slavery is slavery. It is all bad. The Chinese human trafficking does seem to get more media attention, probably because Chinese are considered to be a “minority” in America, and therefore some sort of at-risk population. And we know how the US media like a good victim, real or imagined. It is difficult to understand how an Asian slave is more of a victim than a Caucasian slave from the corn fields of Iowa, but this is how multiculturalism warps people’s views. And no one has a more warped view than a person holding a degree in journalism.

And then there is the new slavery, and it is the worst of all because it is done under the guise of “kindness” or “fairness,” and it has the force of government coercion behind it.

We are talking here about big government socialism making a full-out assault on Western democracies, and an assault on the idea of the free individual, under the guise of fairness and equality, everyone being treated the same.

Of course, the fairness and equality of socialism and Marxism are forced on people, by a big government apparatus. You do not have a choice in the matter. And it is always sold as being done with the best of intentions, even when it turns into a disaster, as have all socialist and Marxist governments.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

The stronger the government, the weaker the citizen.

Although by modern standards and definitions, citizens are supposed to control their governments, western civilization is now succumbing to a Marxist march that was begun a hundred years ago. But it really picked up steam in the 1970s, when colleges began stacking their decks with avowed Marxists who then indoctrinated the young people coming to them for education. Year after year, young people have gone to college to get an education, and instead have emerged with a seething hatred for everything blocking the Marxist takeover of America: Armed citizens, conservatives, Republicans, businesses, the Constitution.

What is now under way is the aggressive attempt to enslave Americans to a form of government completely alien to how America was founded. A tremendous clash is shaping up, not between Democrats and Republicans, but between about 25% of the population that loves freedom and individual liberty on the one side, and about 20% of the population that believes in forcing Marxism on everyone through big government programs and restrictions on the other hand.

The Democrat Party is, as it always was, the party of slavery. It is the Democrat Party that is the official voice and political force for Marxism through big government, and therefore it is the force of slavery in our day.

Sadly, the Republican Party is not the abolitionist party it was in the 1850s and 1950s. No, today the Republican Party has been largely co-opted by Marxism-lite, with most elected Republicans around America being “moderates” who neither stand up for the citizenry nor for America. These are big government Republicans who have made a business of government, turning government operations into a get-rich scheme. They simply delay the day that Marxist slavery arrives, they do not actively, aggressively oppose it. They are too busy trying to get rich off the citizenry.

And if we kind of follow this line of thinking to its logical conclusion, as the politics are likely to play out, then that makes Justice Neil Gorsuch about the most endangered human being on the planet. And that is because he alone is the deciding vote, for now, blocking the anti-Constitution Marxists on the US Supreme Court from implementing their judicial coup d’etat over America’s citizenry (their stated goal of overriding the Second Amendment and forcefully disarming Americans, through, what else, massive, invasive, personal government coercion, exactly what the Second Amendment was designed to prevent).

Frankly speaking, and yes, it saddens me to observe this, with all of the Democrat street violence aimed at conservatives over the past two years, and with all of Obama’s illegal government spying against his political opponents and attempts to frame them and put them in jail, and with this latest DC march to disarm innocent civilians who have done nothing but live by their Constitution, and with all of the media now siding with the big government Marxist slavers, it is surprising that America has not experienced a wave of political assassinations.

I hope and pray that Justice Gorsuch has adequate security.

Current American Parallels with the Fall of Ancient Rome

In the recent past I have been in touch with some old high school friends.

We were quite close way back then. All remain good people, and we have maintained irregular but meaningful contact for the past 35 years. So any communication between us now is like picking right up where we last left off way back then.

“When are you and your militia friends going to storm DC?” semi-teasingly asks one, a professional resident of Washington, DC.

Immediately I’m thinking “Trump winning pretty much was the storming of DC, in a way.”

But I don’t say it, as the cascade of shallow whining about the election results sure to follow has become regular and boorish among Trump detractors.

“Josh, I was no Hill-Dog lover [Hillary Clinton], and I liked Kasich [presidential candidate], but do you really like Trump?” asks another, this one a successful self-made businessman, his face unhappily wrinkling over Trump Anything.

Given the constant opposition to the Trump presidency from both establishment parties (Republicans and Democrats, or the ‘UniParty’ as some call both parties together), as well as from taxpayer-funded entitlement recipients, some small and many big business folk alike, and especially the media-academia Big Government complex, now seems a good time to remind everyone who has something to lose of the history that brought America up here and could drag us back down.

First, like America, ancient superpower Rome was also “too big to fail,” both in the minds of Romans and their many enemies. They had too much money, too much military power, and the Roman people were living too fantastically a high standard of life to envision it actually dissolving.

In that way, America is no different than Rome, or any other major civilization that has come and gone before us: We perceive we are too wealthy and powerful to fall, and our personal lives are so fantastically comfortable and convenient that we cannot imagine all of it coming undone. It’s just too good. How could it possibly go away?

But fail and fall, Rome did. First sacked in 410 CE by its own mercenaries, and then for good in 454 CE by its mercenaries allied with their ethnic tribes. Inside jobs, both.

Second, like Rome, America is an island anomaly in a sea of big, all-powerful governments, dictatorships, really, domineering little citizens. While by today’s standards ancient Rome may not have been a free society, by the measure of its time it provided a lot of liberty and opportunity to individual citizens, much more than anywhere else.

Rome also had a semblance of the rule of law. Most nation-states back then were simply feudal aggregations of people with swords at the top and field-cropping, over-taxed serfs at the bottom. No rule of law.

Today, Planet Earth still has mostly tyrants and dictators, with a cruel grip on their respective  populace. So, like America now, Rome then had some extra work to do to hold itself together. Government power had to be diffused among senators, army officers, and business people. Standards and expectations were higher among a wider group of people. Government power, societal stability, quality of life did not depend upon the one monarch alone.

Predicting the end of America is almost as silly as predicting “climate change” -caused sea levels catastrophically rising, and super-powerful storms catastrophically leveling human civilization.

Though there is evidence of climate and weather affects on past human civilizations, it is a historical fact that human civilizations come and go of their own accord, usually due to simple power lust and ego. Sometimes environmental destruction rendered the land unfit for habitation. So on that alone we know that some day America will change. And it will not be a change good for the majority of its citizens.

America is nowhere near where Rome was when it fell, in terms of military preparedness. But in other ways we are past where Rome was, in terms of our unsustainable debt, ironically held by some of our worst enemies. The Chinese have become a kind of mercenary banker force, also supplying us with the electronics we use to run our daily lives as well as much of our military. That they are spying on us through their electronics is already proven.

Plenty of people inside and out would like to run America themselves, without the annoying, dirty citizenry in the way.

And yet so many Americans continue to party on, oblivious, as if we are invincible, invulnerable.

Go ahead and tease me, friends. Your ribbing is funny. But you should also be reflecting on the implications of ANTIFA, BLM, OWS etc mobs-cum-militia already rampaging across American streets, including DC and the US Capitol. Those stormings are already under way, under cover of national media and academia. They are real, and neither I nor any militia I know of have anything to do with them.

Go ahead and casually write off people like me, ‘kooks’ who love America in a simple way, a traditional way. We love all Americans, in all their ingenuity and passion for liberty and opportunity, and we have therefore come to despise the power-grab being waged against the citizenry by Big Government latté sippers. In both parties.

Go ahead and smugly dismiss us, mock us, cheerily toast our foolishness.

Just remember in the back of your mind, it is you we are trying to save. God knows, you can’t get it done.

Obama’s Police State

IRS + NSA + DEA + DOJ snooping, spying, and prying against American citizens – you and me – = a definitive police state.

How odd that all of the advocates for freedom and against government power during the Bush presidency are now so…silent.

Apparently, oppressive government power is just fine when it’s YOUR party and your friends and your “side” that has it and wields it. That’s the take-away lesson here, for me: The self-appointed guardians of freedom were really after absolute power, after all, and they used all the touchy-feely language as a cover to give themselves credibility, so when they were the ones doing the oppressing, why then, it would be OK.

And you know what’s scary? ObamaCare has data collection and data reporting requirements much more invasive and risky and detrimental to individual liberty than what is happening with the NSA right now….