Joseph Ellis: The Founding Fathers Wanted a Green New Deal

Mount Vernon gardens

Mount Vernon

Would the founding fathers have supported a Green New Deal?  I have no idea.

But historian Joseph Ellis‘s thoughts at CNN are worth considering here.  A taste:

From the very beginning, there were critics who challenged the claim that “We the people” referred to a collective or public interest shared by all American citizens. This is what the most vocal opponents of the Green New Deal get wrong when they call the plan “socialist” — they fail to realize that pursuit of a collective good is the very essence of the Founding Fathers’ vision for America. There is an alternative vision. It includes: the Antifederalists, who lost the debate over the Constitution in 1787-88; the leaders of the Confederate States of America; the captains of industry who dominated the first Gilded Age; the Southern defenders of Jim Crow and enemies of the civil rights movement; and the current corporate leaders of our second Gilded Age. What ties all these apparently different groups together is an anti-government ethos with libertarian implications and deep-seated reluctance to share resources with multiple versions of “them.”

Read the entire piece here.

13 thoughts on “Joseph Ellis: The Founding Fathers Wanted a Green New Deal

  1. James – Okay. Then I am sure that if you want to find “Moore’s statement in context” you will avail yourself to whatever research engine you feel comfortable using. But, I think you already know that.


  2. Debatable premise, but they wouldn’t be delusional enough to believe government could pull it off, nor would they trust a centralized government with the power needed to do it. Based on what EVIDENCE (you know, as in “science”) should anyone believe the feds could pull off such a project?

    The “People’s Republic of California” can’t even build a train line without doubling or tripling the original cost estimates and had to pull the plug on it when economic reality set it, yet AOC (with an economics degree from a “prestigious” school, no less) and other feds are going to basically overhaul the entire American economy and the energy infrastructure that runs it in order to chase windmills and solar panels and stuff us all onto 19th century transportation. Such folks are believers in pixy dust and fairy tales.

    The GND is green, but it’s green as in $$$$$$ – “Thar’s GOLD in them thar government coffers! D.C. or bust!”. As George Will wrote back in 2009:
    Consider the sociology of science, the push and pull of interests, incentives, appetites and passions. Governments’ attempts to manipulate Earth’s temperature now comprise one of the world’s largest industries. Tens of billions of dollars are being dispensed, as by the U.S. Energy Department, which has suddenly become, in effect, a huge venture capital operation, speculating in green technologies. Political, commercial, academic and journalistic prestige and advancement can be contingent on not disrupting the (postulated) consensus that is propelling the gigantic and fabulously lucrative industry of combating global warming.”

    Given governments are basically in charge of this little adventure, I suspect if they get it going, they’ll screw it up and put us all back into an Ice Age.

    The “gold rush” of yesteryear is a “green rush” today. There’s trillions of $$$$ to be mined. Ya just gotta find the right set of tools to tap into the bounty of taxpayer dollars.


  3. James – You want to see Moore’s statement in context? I suggest you do a Google search. You do know how to use Google, don’t you?


  4. Sheridan,
    I’d have to see Moore’s statement in context before making a final judgment.

    For the time being, it’s instructive to note that defining capitalism is as slippery as defining socialism. It shouldn’t be that hard but proponents of the various systems like to put their distinctive qualifiers on the basic dictionary definitions.



  5. James, you wrote: “These guys are not opposed to the government.” Well, Stephen Moore doesn’t care very much for democracy or the collective good –

    Stephen Moore – one of Trump’s potential nominees for the Federal Reserve: “Capitalism is a lot more important than democracy,” Moore said in the documentary. “I’m not even a big believer in democracy.”


  6. Jeff,

    The lobbyists who work between their offices in Washington and Capitol Hill are actually the ones who write much of the text of the bills. The same principle supplies to the administrative rules which emerge from the agencies. The Hill staffers and agency staffers get “input” from the lobbyists.

    Yes. Trump did eliminate many unnecessary rules and administrative directives, but don’t think for a second that their initial imposition by the Obama Administration was done in a government vacuum. Lobbyists and big donors had their hands in that, too. The government-industry octopus is far more pervasive than the average American can imagine.


  7. James,
    You mean big manufacturing folks like all kind of government oversight, EPA regs, and stuff like that? Or that now that Trump is in office more and more of that is falling by the wayside?
    I think it’s true they are opposed to a lot of government interference, even at the expense of the environment, and ethics etc and some are therefore happy with this president.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Tony,
    I have a big V8 gas guzzling truck which George Washington would have loved at Mt. Vernon! He could have put a lot of hay in the bed.



  9. Joseph Ellis really missed the boat when he made reference to the “anti-government ethos” of our current corporate leaders in what he calls a “second Guilded Age.” These guys are not opposed to the government. After all, why would they opposed something they effectively control through their lobbyists, revolving door public-private executives and lawyers, and campaign contributions? Government presented an occasional nuisance to the supranational corporate elite but nothing which could not be handled until the election of Donald Trump.


  10. Preposterous. The founding fathers were all already carbon neutral. All of their energy came from biofuels!


  11. But then the Founders got to drive a 427 Shelby Cobra big-block with glorious, C02-spewing side pipes in hooligan fashion around Independence Hall, and immediately decided that the GND was lame and tyrannical codswallop.


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