Commentary by Harold Hough

We’ve all seen obsessive behavior, but some environmentalists are setting new standards. Now some of them are claiming that we can stop the atrocities of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and the Russian invasion of the Ukraine by merely imposing a tax on coal and other fossil fuels.

No, this isn’t a joke or a satirical article. There are people who actually believe that – or at least they are trying to tell us that.

Well known liberal columnist for the New York Times and Nobel Prize winner, Thomas Freidman, claimed in September that the key to global peace was a carbon tax. His September 6th, column started out, “I don’t know what action will be sufficient to roll back both the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, and Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, but I do know what’s necessary.”

According to Friedman, the answer to stopping Putin or the Islamic radicals of ISIS isn’t a coherent foreign policy or supporting the enemies of Islamic radicalism or Russian aggression. It’s totally ignoring the problem. He goes further on to say, “The most effective leadership abroad starts with respect earned from others seeing us commit to doing great and difficult things at home that summon the energy of the whole country — and not just from our military families. That is how America inspires others to action.”

I can’t imagine Putin saying, “Wow! America is doing great and difficult things at home. I better put off the invasion of the Ukraine and retreat from the Crimea.”

So, what’s going to leave Putin and ISIS quaking in their boots? You guessed it. “Long overdue comprehensive tax reform that finally values our environment and security. That would be a carbon tax…Nothing would make us stronger and Putin and ISIS weaker — all at the same time.”

Friedman does argue that we should be able to export oil to other countries so they aren’t as reliant on Russian or ISIS controlled petroleum, which takes money from our enemies. But, in order to do that, he argues that we need to turn away from those same fuels. While arguing for additional fossil fuel exports, he says, “But that must be accompanied by tax reform that puts a predictable premium on carbon, ensuring that we unite to consistently invest in clean energies that take us beyond fossil fuels, increase efficiency and address climate change. Draining our enemies’ coffers, enhancing security, taxing environmental degradation — what’s not to like?

As if that isn’t enough, this new strategy will not only create peace throughout the world, it will promise a new, golden age of economic growth here in America. He promises, “And if we shift tax revenue to money collected from a carbon tax, we can slash income, payroll and corporate taxes, incentivize investment and hiring and unleash our economic competitiveness. That is a strategy hawks and doves, greens and big oil could all support.”

Friedman concludes this fantasy by saying we will, “show the world that we deserve to lead because we’re back to doing big, hard things at home that once again differentiate us — not just bombing in distant lands and pretending that’s getting the job done.”

Fortunately, all but the most radical environmentalists think this is the silliest strategy to come out of the New York Times in recent history. One MSNBC commentator noted, “ISIS ain't looking at our tax policy. ISIS don't care about our oil export policy. If you want to stop ISIS there's only one way to stop ISIS…Killing bad guys and blowing up their equipment is.” We can also assume that Putin is more concerned with the number of NATO tanks, troops, and aircraft in Eastern Europe than an American tax on carbon emissions.

It’s been said that when one only has a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Apparently, the environmental movement only has one solution – a carbon tax. And they think it will solve everything from global warming, to genocide, to world war.