Despite green terminology’s favorable connotation among the general public, the environmental movement is targeted as an adversarial scapegoat by the Republican political hierarchy.
If what earns Republican strategists’ enmity is not the label “environmentalist”, which most people insist they are, then it is what the term has come to symbolize. Environmental regulation has been programmed into the Republican psyche as a tool of the Left. Individual freedom would be stifled in favor of heavy-handed Big Government authoritarian intervention.
The State would be the vehicle for Democrats to consolidate political control and redistribute wealth to curry support of a key constituency - minorities on track to become the nation’s demographic majority.
Trump Republicans got it wrong that environmental regulation is a constraint on individual freedom and entrepreneurial activity. On the contrary, environmental regulation is a protector of individual freedoms by way of the health benefits it bestows. There is no greater loss of freedom than being incapacitated by illness.
Trump Republicans did get it right about the redistribution of wealth. Industry’s pollution abatement costs and subsequent reduction in profit are a small price to pay in exchange for their workforce to remain healthy and productive.
The GOP’s spreading of distrust of the environmental movement is made easier by fear that regulation will be used by Democrats to even the playing field for a minority constituency soon to be the majority and thus solidify political power. It is a manifestation of economically motivated racism in reaction to an inevitable demographic trend that could eventually shuffle workforce advantage due to ethnicity.
This demographic shakeup has threatened industry, motivating it to divide environmentalists, minority groups, and organized labor - three factions that would otherwise be natural “green” allies. Techniques have included outright bribery in the form of industry donations to organizations of the three factions. With minority groups, industry can also be found warning that if the townspeople don’t cooperate, manufacturers will relocate with loss of jobs and imposition of exorbitant utility rates.
It was a campaign that worked against minorities’ own self- interests since their neighborhoods were usually the preferred sites for industrial facilities and, thus, the most exposed to toxic pollutants.
The Republicans’ hostility to government environmental activity was certainly reflected in their visceral opposition to President Obama’s progressive agenda. Yet, it was not his progressive environmental policies as much as being an ethnic symbol of looming socio-economic changes that concerned the predominantly white GOP base.
... environmental regulation is a protector of individual freedoms...