January 02, 2010

National parks = socialism

Some final thoughts on Ken Burns's National Parks:

Socialized Nature!

By James PoniewozikGovernment intervention! Private-sector-bashing! Americans trying to impress Europeans! These and other pinko motivations would secure a permanent federal handout for Yogi Bear and his picnic-basket-redistributing comrades. You can imagine how the proposal might go down were the parks starting from scratch today. Socialized nature, controlled by tree czars?

The national parks—and The National Parks—are based on ideas that are classically, if not radically, communitarian: That the free market doesn't always act in the public interest. That it's good that every American shares ownership of and responsibility for the most exclusive properties in the country. And that it is right for people—through government—to protect them from business interests and even from the people themselves (like the early visitors who shot game and scratched their names on ancient rocks). A series on a public-TV network that calls a government program America's best idea? Has no one alerted Rush Limbaugh?
Is Ken Burns a secret propagandist for socialism?

By Patrick GoldsteinNoting that the original impetus for establishing national parks came from naturalists like John Muir who were horrified to see how Niagara Falls was nearly destroyed by the greed and hucksterism of free market-loving charlatans, Poniewozik writes: "With America frothing over the role of government--Should it save banks? Should it expand health coverage?--'The National Parks' makes a simple case for an idea that is wildly controversial in the year of the tea party: That we need government to do things the private sector can't or won't."

In other words, the entire origin of the national park system, whose most passionate backer was a Republican, Teddy Roosevelt, is based on a firm belief in--Glenn Beck, cover your ears, please--government intervention to regulate an out-of-control free-enterprise system. In fact, one of the more dramatic moments in Burns' documentary involves the battle to create a park in the Great Smoky Mountains, while logging companies bankrolled anti-park ads and were "frantically cutting the old-growth forests to extract everything they could before the land was closed to them."
Comment:  It's obvious why conservatives aren't protesting our "socialist" national park system. Because Obama hasn't made it an issue. They can't blame Obama for nationalizing the trees or appointing a parks czar, so there's no mileage in it.

As we've seen, the teabaggers don't care about "socialism" in our highways, our libraries, or our police forces. They don't care about "socialism," period. All they care about is getting the scary black man out of the White House.

For more on the subject, see Buchanan Sums Up Teabaggers.

1 comment:

dmarks said...

As for socialism (rulers controlling things), the national parks represent but a tiny part of the total land in the US. Also, as the documentary shows, a lot of the land ended up in the system due to the free market (Rockefeller's voluntary donations). It's hardly a socialist "threat" worth mentioning.