April 22, 2004 -- Unfortunately, every Earth Day, even politicians who are not generally known as tree-huggers feel they must pander to the degenerate values of those who put trees, plants, and critters above human life and well-being. Mind you, you should be free to enjoy your own forests, gardens, or pets on your own property. The problem is that the politicians want to take your freedom, property, and thus your enjoyment in the name of protecting the environment.
On this Earth Day, President George W. Bush compounded the crimes against humanity committed by his father, President George H.W. Bush. Bush Senior was responsible for the "no net loss of wetlands" policy. Bureaucrats and non-objective judges had already been twisting the definition of a "waterway of the United States," over which Congress had jurisdiction, to mean almost any puddle or patch of wet soil. George the First decided it would be a good idea if the country did not lose any damp dirt. And what if that dirt's on private property? Too bad! Without paying any compensation to owners—in violation of the Constitution's Fifth amendment—the federal government has engaged in a war to restrict how you can use your own land, saying that you can't build on it, farm it, or otherwise make use of it because it is a "wetland." The elder Bush thought that by pandering to the eco-crowd he would somehow win their admiration and votes. He didn't.
Now, George the Second has announced that he wants to create or restore—read: steal—a million acres of wetlands over the next five years. So as we're swatting the mosquitoes that breed in such environments and getting tested for West Nile virus this summer, let’s remember that it is Bush and his kind who facilitate the activists who quite literally would rather have humans suffer and die than offend against inferior life forms or inanimate matter.
While we should hope that Bush will break this particular campaign promise, he will not have a chance to if this strategy works as well as his father's. It would have been interesting if he tried another tactic. Bush could have explained to voters that he puts nothing above the life, liberty, and property of individual Americans, and that conservation and preservation must be done in that context. The moral confusion exhibited by the Bush family only makes for a less human-friendly culture and public policy. It is imperative for those who love humans to voice their disgust—loud and clear—at every politician and pundit who mouths platitudes about the environment while failing to put people first.
Edward Hudgins is research director at the Heartland Institute and former director of advocacy and senior scholar at The Atlas Society.