George Will puts on his tinfoil hat
For some people, environmentalism is collectivism in drag. Such people use environmental causes and rhetoric not to change the political climate for the purpose of environmental improvement. Rather, for them, changing the society's politics is the end, and environmental policies are mere means to that end.What Will's saying is that being environmentally-minded isn't an effort by Americans to you know, keep people from shitting in their own nests, but is vast conspiracty to starve the country into becoming a communist state. Oy.
The unending argument in political philosophy concerns constantly adjusting society's balance between freedom and equality. The primary goal of collectivism -- of socialism in Europe and contemporary liberalism in America -- is to enlarge governmental supervision of individuals' lives. This is done in the name of equality.
People are to be conscripted into one large cohort, everyone equal (although not equal in status or power to the governing class) in their status as wards of a self-aggrandizing government. Government says the constant enlargement of its supervising power is necessary for the equitable or efficient allocation of scarce resources.
Therefore, one of the collectivists' tactics is to produce scarcities, particularly of what makes modern society modern -- the energy requisite for social dynamism and individual autonomy. Hence collectivists use environmentalism to advance a collectivizing energy policy. Focusing on one energy source at a time, they stress the environmental hazards of finding, developing, transporting, manufacturing or using oil, natural gas, coal or nuclear power.
Here's my favorite part: The primary goal of collectivism -- of socialism in Europe and contemporary liberalism in America -- is to enlarge governmental supervision of individuals' lives. Call me kooky, but I don't think it's liberals who are trying to "enlarge governmental supervision." Does anyone remember how Will pissed and moaned when the Supreme Court said that it was probably wrong to bust down the door of two consenting adults and arrest them because they were A) having sex and B) both men? Does anyone remember how Will said that the PATRIOT act was just dandy? Does anyone remember how it was Will himself who told George Stephanopoulos that Republicans are the ones who are violating the rights of individuals, saying about the Terri Schiavo incident that, "if there is a general anxiety about the Republican party among swing voters, it is that it is wagged by the tail of certain extremists, and the extremists have no respect for zones of privacy such as a family dispute like this."
Liberals don't have any desire to control people's lives--that's where the modern "conservatives" come in. There are no meetings where we lefties get together and come up with sneaky ways to bring about more state control. Will, as always, just decided to make an argument up out of whole cloth.
Environmentalism, in fact, is all about the rugged individualism inspired by that great progressive, Theodore Roosevelt, who argued that every man or woman should have the right to "the old-time pleasure of the hardy life of the wilderness and of the hunter in the wilderness" and, in order to let people enjoy the land, it must be removed from the economic process and be made public to be "kept for all who have the love of adventure and the hardihood to take advantage of it." Environmentalism says that neither corporations nor nations should have the right to deprive individuals of clean air, water and, yes, a tiny portion of land without oil rigs and cul-de-sacs.