Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Bill Moyers unrepentant

I’ve written about this before, but I just came across a new version of Bill Moyers’ now infamous article on conservative Christians and the environment.

Here’s the new version, published in In These Times, which I recall as a product of the 60s and which calls itself "a magazine of news, opinion and culture, committed to extending political and economic democracy and to opposing the tyranny of the marketplace over human values." While the slander of James Watt is gone, the rest of the article remains intact, including a slimy and out-of-context reference to a statement by Zell Miller. (The fact that Miller actually said what Moyers said he said is, I guess, sufficient warrant for a "journalist" of Moyers’ caliber--take that as you will--to wrench it out of context and attribute an entirely different meaning to it.)


Also remaining in the article is the implication that politicians supported by religious conservatives (most of the Republican leadership in the House and Senate, for example) probably support changing our environmental regulatory regime, not to mention upholding our friendship with Israel, for the reasons Moyers attributes to believers in the Rapture. By the same logic, I suppose, the fact that "rapturous Christian Zionists" support Israel must mean that most Israelis agree with their expectations regarding the "end times."

I should stop here, but I can’t resist adding this. Moyers started out putting words in James Watt’s mouth and distorting the words in Zell Miller’s mouth. He was called on both of these points, but has not backed off the second. Clearly he doesn’t respond to subtlety (and surely he’s incapable of it on his own). So I feel compelled to add--only for Mr. Moyers, not for the readers of this blog who are clearly quicker on the uptake--that the religious right is a demonstrably diverse group, not all of whom hold to the version of the "end times" about which Mr. Moyers is so worried. That religious conservatives support Republicans is thus far from prima facie evidence that they support the Republican environmental regulatory regime; Blaine Harden’s WaPo article ought to be sufficient to lay that line of reasoning to rest. The same "nuanced" line of reasoning should (but of course won’t) lead Mr. Moyers to the conclusion that the Republican environmental regulatory regime might follow from considerations other than those available to readers of the Book of Revelation. There are, after all, scientists and economists who support the Bush Administration on these matters too.

Again, I apologize for having to spell all this out. It’s not for you, gentle readers, it’s for him.

Update: For more on this, see John Hinderaker’s Weekly Standard piece and Byron’s York’s article for Front Page. It’s quite clear, among other things, if you read Moyers’s source, this article in the online journal Grist, that at least a portion of his own speech/article almost qualifies as plagiarism. Indeed, the logical flaws I identified above come not from Moyer’s mind, but from that of Glenn Scherer, the author of the Grist piece.

Discussions - 3 Comments

"There are, after all, scientists and economists who support the Bush Administration on these matters too."

Haha!!! Yeah, the scientists and economists on the payrolls of the oil, gas, coal, nuclear and military-related corporations, and those working for right-leaning ideological think tanks. Or perhaps, additionally, they’ve been paid with some American tax dollars to endorse or promote Bush policies, just like that recent series of shilling "journalists." (Haven’t read much about them here at NLT, by the way)

Well put. I can’t agree more about the idiotic way that Moyers will not, dare I say it, repent. There is no excuse for misleading people with misleading quotes or even quotes "not on public record", but I swear he said it sometime...right...I don’t care. The issue still stands as this: The Environment is being overlooked, and even trampled upon by our current administration. Its about time that something calls attention to the trends or corporate-led degredation of our surroundings. Polluters can now pollute more under withdrawn regulations on water and air quality, and on top of that now, there can be fewer (read: not "none at all" as some folks have been convinced to think) class-action lawsuits to curb detrimental behaviors by polluters. It seems there are too many steps in the wrong direction being taken. What happened to make so many Americans apathetic about natural area and resourse stewardship?

According to Gregg Easterbrook in the New York Times:

In practice, cap-and-trade systems have proved faster, cheaper and less vulnerable to legal stalling tactics than the "command and control" premise of most of the Clean Air Act. For example, a pilot cap-and-trade system, for sulfur dioxide from coal-fired power plants, was enacted by Congress in 1990. Since then sulfur dioxide emissions have fallen by nearly a third (the reason you hear so little about acid rain these days is that the problem is declining - even though the amount of combustion of coal for electricity has risen.)

A pleasant surprise of that 1990 program was that market forces and lack of litigation rapidly drove down the predicted cost of acid-rain controls. Now Mr. Bush proposes to apply the same cap-and-trade approach to the entire power industry, in the hope that market forces and fewer lawsuits will lead to rapid, relatively inexpensive pollution cuts.

Here is the real beauty of the Clear Skies plan, something that even its backers may not see: many economists believe that the best tool for our next great environmental project, restraining greenhouse gases, will be a cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide. Should President Bush’s plan prove that the power industry as a whole can be subjected to a sweeping cap-and-trade rule without suffering economic harm or high costs, that would create a powerful case to impose similar regulation on carbon dioxide, too.

Though you’d never know it from the press coverage, the administration’s idea has respectable support - from the National Research Council, which is a wing of the National Academy of Sciences, and from the former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Christie Whitman, who since leaving the administration has become a leading critic of the Republican right.

Enough economists and scientists there for you, Mr. Krellis?

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