Smith helped slow the regulatory juggernaut that was hampering progress and growth and "polluting" the economy. On another issue, drugs and the sluggish process of bringing them to market where they can help people, Smith almost single-handedly forced the Food and Drug Administration to speed up its tedious drug-approval process. Success with the environmental movement and the bureaucratic FDA are not bad achievements for an organization whose budget last year was just over $3 million. Compare that to the Environmental Defense Fund with its $44.6 million budget, Friends of the Earth ($4.8 million), Union of Concerned Scientists ($9.2 million), Natural Resources Defense Council ($46 million), Public Citizen ($10 million), the Center for Science in the Public Interest ($15 million) and Greenpeace ($20 million).
People like Smith used to be celebrated and their example taught to the next generation. They were the real consumer advocates who stood on the traditions we once promoted before people became victims and government and regulations, not individuals and liberty, became supreme.
Earth Day has become a symbol for those who mostly place America last and who believe that human beings are the problem, not the solution to problems. Such people are embarrassed over this country's wealth and power. They think by tearing down their own country they build something better in its place. Yet it seems all they have built up is a list of regulations to stifle the achievers, the entrepreneurs and the visionaries.
Is that too harsh? Listen to the earth-firsters. Watch their joyless faces. There's not much positive in their speech, and they have little to celebrate (except when they defeat a political enemy, which nowadays they do with less frequency).
Fred Smith is smiling. He has much to show for his 20 years of commitment to an objective that has benefited our nation and the earth far more than the aging leftovers from the Age of Aquarius.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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