Academia bolsters the Green New Deal’s policymaking by make-believe – Washington Examiner

The Senate soundly rejected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal 0-57 on Tuesday after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., allowed the resolution, co-sponsored by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., to come to the floor. In protest of the political move, Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., encouraged Senate Democrats to vote “present” on the resolution instead of “yes,” which all but three of them did.

This week’s vote is the latest defeat for what has been a tumultuous rollout of the Green New Deal. In February, the plan was widely mocked in the media after the publication of a FAQ demanding policymakers “fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes” and “upgrade or replace every building in U.S.,” among other gems. The FAQ was quickly taken down from Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional website after the public embarrassment, but the Internet is forever.

Conservatives may be tempted to laugh off the Green New Deal’s outlandish proposals. However, history suggests this would be unwise. As I warned last month, the Overton window of political possibilities teaches us that today’s punchline could be tomorrow’s policy.

My personal experience as a recent master’s in public policy graduate of George Washington University underlies this point. The Green New Deal is not the singular brainchild of a millennial socialist. Rather, respected academics have taken seriously some of the zaniest ideas of the plan.

To give one example, a sociology class I attended assigned a 2012 article by Stephen M. Wheeler, a landscape architecture and environmental design professor at University of California, Davis, that imagines a future society where many of the Green New Deal’s proposals are a reality.

First, on reducing the use of airplanes, Wheeler’s green utopia has a universal cap on how much citizens can travel by plane, as other transportation options such as high-speed rail have supplanted the “wasteful” 20th-century mode of transportation:

As for upgrading or replacing every building in the U.S., the green utopia of the future has not only done that, but gone further by demolishing almost all of them:

What’s most telling from my experience was not the reading itself, but rather how my graduate classmates reacted to this vision of a world where world travel, thriving cities, and free trade were drastically curtailed: not with horror, but wonder.

Ocasio-Cortez may seem like an anomaly today, but she is part of a generation of college graduates like myself who have been regularly fed such environmental fantasies where human civilization has sacrificed technology to become an inconsequential element of the earth. And unless America’s thought leaders stand up for human ingenuity, outlandish ideas such as the Green New Deal will be more likely to become a reality as young voters potentially embrace policymaking by make-believe.

Casey Given (@CaseyJGiven) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner ‘s Beltway Confidential blog. He is the executive director of Young Voices.

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