Shortly after the DFL took control of the majorities in the legislature, Governor Dayton issued Executive Order 11-32 on November 16 mandating an Environmental Congress be called and forums around the state be hosted. Now, if I was a betting man, I would wager that this is the first hint of overreach that we will see come from the DFL. While this seems like an innocent enough endeavor to find out what the people of Minnesota have in mind, this was far from a balanced audience. As I do more research, it appears to have been selectively promoted with groups in attendance from The Sierra Club, Environment Minnesota, citizens opposed to the Wolf Hunt and the Minnesota Environmental Partnership.
Why is this important? Given the upcoming Environmental Congress, it is very important for the environmentalists to be able to point back at this data saying “this is what Minnesotan’s want” — while pushing extreme environmental policies to the Environmental Congress and through the legislature following that. The forum was held in three parts, a brief presentation and interactive survey, a small group discussion and following small groups a presentation of concerns, hopes and ideas.
In our small groups, we were instructed to talk about “quality of life” as it pertains to air, land, water, climate and energy — yet employment, economic sustainability, property rights and individual liberties were almost entirely ignored. What wasn’t ignored was the fact that almost every idea came in the form of a statement of “We need to stop people/businesses/elected officials from...” Despite the arrogance of people believing they know better than everyone else and wanting to limit others to accomplish their goals, they were discussing ways in which unelected bureaucrats and politicians could regulate people into behaving as they desired, with little thought of anything but the environment.
It is easier to understand why so many in attendance could have neglected people from the equation when one of the last gentleman who presented called for all who dispute man-made global warning's effects and danger to simply “die off”, or perhaps the person a few speakers before who called for “indoctrination” of all who disagree. I couldn’t believe my ears, we were being told that if we didn’t agree with the most radical in our society (even the DFL representative in my table was surprised with many ideas) then we must be “indoctrinated” or “die off.” Others called for people to simply be regulated into agreeing. The more tame simply called for incentives to move everyone into cities so they could be more easily regulated and compelled to ride bicycles or light rail.
We heard their plan, it wasn’t hidden: eliminate mining, force energy prices to necessarily spike to dissuade its usage, get people to move to large cities so we can regulate them, find new ways to limit how much property people can buy and what they can do on that property, find ways to limit population growth, mandate that renewable energy be used, stop people from building homes, build more rail, indoctrinate those who disagree, implement a carbon tax.
The desire expressed by every small group was wanting to raise taxes, not in the form of a carbon tax (which came up in one group in the last 15 minutes), but rather a way to tax businesses, “tax the rich” and to tax greed. Yes, seriously. In the current economic state where Minnesota ranks at the bottom, the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council ranks Minnesota’s Business Tax Index 50th with only the District of Columbia receiving a worse rating. At what point will people begin to realize that businesses are being forced out of our state, that existing jobs are being eliminated and new jobs are not being created. That is the point though, when radicals (who put the environment above all else), claim that the data provided by the Governors office and the EQB is faulty and express desires to kill jobs and participate in social planning.
As a Minnesotan I love the outdoors and believe in conservation. I enjoy annual trips to the cabin on the lake, golfing, spending an evening outside having a barbeque with friends, fishing and hunting, but at what cost? That is the question which is not being raised, is just that. How far are we willing to go to try to get to “zero”, how many jobs are we ok with killing, how much will we pay, at what cost to our personal liberties. This we encounter the problem, my friends. To the radicals there is no cost too great, there is no price they will not pay. They are not picky about who they will work with, the unions were arguing for taxing the rich, the environmentalists were arguing for closing the union operated mines, the pro-abortion crowd was arguing for limiting population growth. We must come together in order to combat this. So where do we go from here?
Where we go from here is to the next three forums or to take part in the discussion, bring your local reporter with you from your Patch or other source of news. The way to counter this is to participate — and to do it with logical ideas, explain that the free market is the best hope for solutions, that we can’t afford the government to pick its pet projects in renewable energy and eliminate competition, that competition limiting subsidies need to end, that property rights are at the heart of what makes America great and that quality of life includes our ability to live our lives. We may not be able to convince the people in attendance but our voices will be heard in the notes which are brought to the Environmental Congress and through what is carried forth by our legislators.