As the Copenhagen climate summit comes to close, it seems fair to say that rarely has a gathering of so many doing so little gotten so much attention. But Copenhagen does have its uses. For starters, it reminds us that environmentalism continues to be a cover for uglier agendas.
Bolivian president Evo Morales was interviewed by Al Jazeera television while in Copenhagen. "The principal obstacle to combating climate change is capitalism," he explained. "Until we put an end to capitalism, it will continue to be a big obstacle for life and humanity."
Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe proclaimed in a speech: "When these capitalist gods of carbon burp and belch their dangerous emissions, it's we, the lesser mortals of the developing sphere, who gasp and sink and eventually die."
Right. That is, unless Mugabe kills them first.
The big name in the anti-capitalism club was, of course, Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan national-socialist strongman. In a typical stem-winder, he belched: "Capitalism is a destructive model that is eradicating life, that threatens to put a definitive end to the human species."
I don't know how to say "chutzpah" in Spanish, but you've got to hand it to the leader of the world's No. 5 supplier of oil for bemoaning the system that keeps his regime afloat by buying his product.
Now, I know that nice, moderate progressive types are rolling their eyes at my cynical effort to associate their noble activism with support for socialism and thugs. Fair enough. Let us concede that many, perhaps even most, proponents of draconian restrictions on carbon emissions have no sympathy for socialist dictators and do not want to chuck capitalism in the dustbin of history. But surely it should trouble these responsible greens that they're in bed with a "Star Wars" cantina of villains and monsters.
Also, if environmentalists want to avoid the "watermelon" charge ("green on the outside, red on the inside"), maybe the delegates and activists in the audience shouldn't have given Chavez such a loud and boisterous round of applause? Perhaps the folks who gave him a standing ovation didn't help either?