We have had 40 years of neoliberalism. The incredibly influential corporate think-tank the Heritage Institute’s Project 2025 is an attempt to boost that movement even further under the next Trump Administration. If accepted, which is likely, this will have a huge effect on the USA’s willingness to have anything to do with reducing fossil fuel burning, or preserving ecologies.
Neoliberalism, has resulted in a crisis of living for most of the population: lower wages, worse working conditions, greater debt (especially for education), less social mobility, less afordable housing, less prospects for people’s children, and so on. Neoliberalism has been a significant contributor to extending and intensifying ecological destruction and the failure of action on climate change. The main focus of neoliberalism is to disqualify any governmental action that:
- Impinges on corporate power or profit,
- that involves government planing for the future
- that involves government planning for ‘justice’ or support of the lower classes
The aim is to leave everything to The Market, a God whose invisible hand always delivers wealth to the virtuous and the talented. Leaving things to The Market also tends to benefit established power and wealth, as they have succeeded in that Market and the politics of that Market. The secret doctrine is that the only time governments should intervene is when powerful corporations are threatened by their own stupidity, and the intervention should be free taxpayer-funded cash to do what they like with (pay emergency bonuses etc).
The rich elites argue that the main problems the world faces is that we don’t have enough neoliberalism, and that the few, weak attempts to contain climate change interfere with corporate liberty. They also note that China, which does not persue neoliberalism, is possibly becoming a powerful economic threat.
The newest neoliberal attack on liberty, in support of Tump, is called Project 2025 and comes from the American Heritage Foundation and other corporate think thanks.
The American Heritage Foundation has long been at the heart of rightwing politics in the US. As they say:
“the Trump administration relied heavily on Heritage’s “Mandate” for policy guidance, embracing nearly two-thirds of Heritage’s proposals within just one year in office.”https://www.project2025.org/about/about-project-2025/
How many people knew that when they voted for Trump they were really voting for a corporate think-tank, which has been bought by the hyper-rich? Or that Trump would not clean up the swamp, but enthusiastically embed special interests into his Presidency? This is not an idea which originates with ‘Trump haters’ but which is pointed out by the servants of those financial elites themselves.
They give some more background history, showing their elite influence on US poltics:
In the winter of 1980, the fledging Heritage Foundation handed to President-elect Ronald Reagan the inaugural Mandate for Leadership. This collective work by conservative thought leaders and former government hands—most of whom were not part of Heritage—set out policy prescriptions, agency by agency for the incoming President. The book literally put the conservative movement and Reagan on the same page, and the revolution that followed might never have been, save for this band of committed and volunteer activistsMandate: xiii
By the end of that year, more than 60 percent of its recommendations had become policyMandate: 2.
Environmentalism which inhibits corporate action is defined as Left wing fanaticism. Environmentalism should not actually be concerned with the environment.
Those who suffer most from the policies environmentalism would have us enact are the aged, poor, and vulnerable. It is not a political cause, but a pseudo-religion meant to baptize liberals’ ruthless pursuit of absolute power in the holy water of environmental virtue. At its very heart, environmental extremism is decidedly anti-human. Stewardship and conservation are supplanted by population control and economic regression. Environmental ideologues would ban the fuels that run almost all of the world’s cars, planes, factories, farms, and electricity grids. Abandoning confidence in human resilience and creativity in responding to the challenges of the future would raise impediments to the most meaningful human activities. They would stand human affairs on their head, regarding human activity itself as fundamentally a threat to be sacrificed to the god of nature.Mandate: 11
Oddly population control as a remedy for climate change is a right wing talking point, and no evidence is presented that climate change and ecological destruction and corporate poisoning do not affect “the aged, poor, and vulnerable”. They, in a characteristically unconservative manner, refuse to recognise that a working environment is necessary for humans, especially the poor and vulnerable, and that humans do not live away from the Earth’s environment (without huge amounts of costly technology). And that if corporations will not realise that the fuels which currently run the world’s corporations harm the world’s humans and enivronment, then corporations must be forced to recognise that their profits are destroying everything important to us.
It is they who abandon the confidence in human resiliance and creativity, by assuming these energy sources, and other forms of pollution, cannot be abandoned or transcended by human ingenuity.
Corporate activity sacrifices everyone to profit and disregards the laws and workings of God’s creation. We do not need to boost its powers to do more of this by voting for the Right.
Given all this, their approach to climate change is obvious if sometimes vague. If action inconveniences profit, the problem is unimportant.
The President should also issue an executive order to reshape the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) and related climate change research programs. The USGCRP produces strategic plans and research (for example, the National Climate Assessment) that reduce the scope of legally proper options in presidential decision-making and in agency rulemakings and adjudications. Also, since much environmental policymaking must run the gauntlet of judicial review, USGCRP actions can frustrate successful litigation defense in ways that the career bureaucracy should not be permitted to control. The process for producing assessments should include diverse viewpointsMandate: 59
the Biden Administration’s climate fanaticism will need a whole-of-government unwinding.Mandate: 60
We might wonder what fanaticism for slowing climate change we are talking about when Biden is encouraging new fossil fuel licenses and mines, and continuing subsidies for fossil fuels.
In March 2023 the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee wrote:
As we’ll hear today, the United States subsidizes the fossil fuel industry with taxpayer dollars. It’s not just the US: according to the International Energy Agency, fossil fuel handouts hit a global high of $1 trillion in 2022 – the same year Big Oil pulled in a record $4 trillion of income.
In the United States, by some estimates taxpayers pay about $20 billion dollars every year to the fossil fuel industry. What do we get for that? Economists generally agree: not much. To quote conservative economist Gib Metcalf: these subsidies offer “little if any benefit in the form of oil patch jobs, lower prices at the pump, or increased energy security for the country.” The cash subsidy is both big and wrong.
But the really big subsidy is the license to pollute for free. The IMF calls this global free pass an “implicit” fossil fuel subsidy. Economists call it an “unpriced externality.”SEN. WHITEHOUSE ON FOSSIL FUEL SUBSIDIES: “WE ARE SUBSIDIZING THE DANGER”
It seems that doing even less to curb ecological destruction, or subsidising it even more, is the only thing compatitble with corporate liberty. This implies corporate freedom is not only more important than democracy, but life itself.
We should indeed ignore climate change and the role of fossil fuels:
USAID should cease its war on fossil fuels in the developing world and support the responsible management of oil and gas reserves as the quickest way to end wrenching poverty and the need for open-ended foreign aid. The next conservative Administration should rescind all climate policies from its foreign aid programs (specifically USAID’s Climate Strategy 2022–20307 ); shut down the agency’s offices, programs, and directives designed to advance the Paris Climate Agreement; and narrowly limit funding to traditional climate mitigation efforts. The agency should cease collaborating with and funding progressive foundations, corporations, international institutions, and NGOs that advocate on behalf of climate fanaticism.Mandate 257-8
It can be presumed that responsible management of oil and gas reserves, means full exploritation and sales at the highest price with almost no local benefit, as that is what it usually means. In Australia we know this means attacks on local government, pollution, destruction of water supplies, and almost no financial benefit from the mines, or the sales, because of minimal mineral royalties, tax breaks, tax evasion through foreign tax havens and paybacks of high interest loans from branches of the same company overseas. More neoliberal globalism in action to benefit profit not locals.
In fact, almost nothing need be done. Especially anything which challenges corporate liberty to destroy.
Again their arguments are selective:
The Biden Administration’s extreme climate policies have worsened global food insecurity and hunger. Its anti–fossil fuel agenda has led to a sharp spike in global energy prices.Mandate: 257
No mention of the Russian invasion of Ukraine which massively lowered the supply of food and fossil fuels, putting prices up all over the world not only in the USA. No mention of the record profits of major oil companies cronying up to increase prices even more than they should have increased. The dogma seems to be that whatever an established corporation does must be good, and have no deletarious effects at all. It is extreme to even pretend to worry about climate change.
They make the usual Bjon Lomborg argument:
The aid industry claims that climate change causes poverty, which is false. Enduring conflict, government corruption, and bad economic policies are the main drivers of global poverty. USAID’s response to man-made food insecurity is to provide more billions of dollars in aid—a recipe that will keep scores of poor countries underdeveloped and dependent on foreign aid for years to come.Mandate: 257
We can note that the only bad industry is one which attempts to help people. However, climate change does cause poverty, through crop failure, wild fires, drought, and floods. We might even think about how working outside in excessive heat can cause death, which may lead the rest of the family into even greater poverty. But we have to believe families are more in risk from a small number of transexuals than they are from corporate destruction. Climate change kills while it brings profits, so its ok. We already know that they do not really mean sensible economic policies, they mean letting corporations do what they will, as thee environment is doing fine in the hands of corporations….
Mischaracterizing the state of our environment generally and the actual harms reasonably attributable to climate change specifically is a favored tool that the Left uses to scare the American public into accepting their ineffective, liberty-crushing regulations, diminished private property rights, and exorbitant costs. In effect, the Biden EPA has once again presented a false choice to the American people: that they have to choose between a healthy environment and a strong, growing economyMandate: 419.
It seems to me that the neoliberal right is saying somthing like:
- you should ignore warnings about collapsing ecologies and wild destructive weather, because we don’t know how to solve theses problems while keeping things hyper-profitable,
- We don’t want people to get involved in government, and planing to save the planet as who knows where it will end? and
- you cannot have both a strong economy and a healthy environment, so you must choose The Market at all times, and that will always deliver because we say so, and you must trust us.
In reality, you also won’t get a ‘healthy economy’, if by healthy you mean one that benefits everyone and the ecology, as one of the points of neoliberalism is to stop general benefit from happening. General benefit generates calls for democracy, like we had in the 1970s, and that is a problem for corporate control and elite profits.
That is probably enough for the moment. The point is that a new Trump presidency, will attempt to make things even better for corporations at even bigger costs to the American People.
On this issue we can rewrite one of their passages to be a more accurate of themselves:
Ultimately, the Right does not believe that all men are created equal—they think they are special. The established corporate rich are special when compared to the middle class and the poor. Men are special in comparison to women. Straight people are special in comparison with gay or queer people. Republicans are special in comparison with Democrats. They certainly don’t think all people have an unalienable right to pursue the good life, because they cut wages at every opportunity, intensify coporate power, and shift the cost of the State onto the middle classes. They think only they themselves have rights, along with the moral responsibility to make decisions for everyone else. They don’t think any citizen, state, church, or charity should be allowed any freedom until they first bend the knee to corporate power.Mandate: 16 rephrased
These think tanks are aiming at suppression of any dissent, or objection to, excessive corporate power and profit – and are relatively open about it, once you realise that, in their world view, liberty is something that only exists for established corporations and their supporters. The rest of us can suffer the consequences of that liberty and watch the world burn, flood and fall apart.
As Ronald Reagan put it: Freedom is a fragile thing and it’s never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generationMandate: 2