A federal appeals court ruled recently in favor of 21 children and young adults who are suing the U.S. government for not doing enough to protect their “constitutional right to a stable climate.” Judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to block the U.S. District Court in Oregon from hearing the suit, which was originally filed by the environmental group Our Children’s Trust in 2015.
Say again? The “constitutional right to a stable climate?” If the Ninth Circuit Court of Schlemiels and Our Children’s Trust had been around in the three-and-a-half-billion-year period between “primordial soup” and the onset of the Industrial Age, they would’ve been suing the crap out of planet earth and mother nature.
In 2016, a federal judge somehow ruled that the 21 youths had legal standing to sue. The Trump administration appealed the decision in June of 2017, asking judges to “end this clearly improper attempt to have the judiciary decide important questions of energy and environmental policy” (thereby upsetting the balance of powers). The Ninth Circuit refused to do so. The ruling is a victory for environmental activists seeking to use the courts to force the Trump administration to issue regulations to phase out fossil fuels…and paves the way for the case to be tried.
Julia Olson, Our Children’s Trust chief counsel, says the case argues that constitutional rights to life, liberty and property are being violated by the federal government’s failure to enact policies to stop catastrophic global warming. But the reality is that our constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property would be immeasurably more “violated” if we did not utilize existing fossil fuels to provide affordable energy to heat our homes in the winter and cool them in the summer, allow us to get from one place to another, properly package our consumables, and to provide the jobs and incomes we all need to survive.
According to the Daily Caller, “plaintiffs say the right to a stable climate comes from the public trust doctrine — the idea certain natural resources should be protected for enjoyment of future generations.” There wouldn’t have been any future generations if earlier ones hadn’t made good use of natural resources such as plants and animals-- otherwise known as food, clothing and shelter. And, as for energy sources, you know organizations like Our Children’s Trust don’t want our children extracting and burning fossil fuels in the future, either. They want to see legislation enacted banning the use of all energy sources save solar and wind. So, what “enjoyment” would future generations derive from oil and gas? “Well, Bob, I don’t know about you, but-- even though we can’t see them or use them—it sure makes me feel good knowing there’s oil and natural gas under our feet! Bet they’re purty, too!”
The progressive’s staggering ignorance about-- or willful misrepresentation of-- the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, especially as they relate to Natural Law, is tragic. It’s also literally an existential threat to the existence of the nation the Framers ever-so-carefully crafted.
The concept of negative rights essentially means that no one, government included, has the right to arbitrarily steal from you, imprison you or kill you. The idea behind “positive rights” is that someone, or everyone—but government in particular—is obligated to provide you with a good or service. There can be no such thing as a positive “right,” at least as granted by man.
The Creator grants us all equal and inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These can only be effectively protected through negative rights-- limits on what our fellow human beings and the governments comprised of them—can do to us.
We are not granted the “right to a stable climate,” just as we are not granted the “right” to own a mansion, or be free of want, acne or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Yet, progressives would contest that remark.
Ironically, the idea that we are not granted a positive “right” to everlasting life is one with which the vast majority of progressives would agree. But only because most don’t believe in God, Heaven or an afterlife.
Natural Law informs us that the government can’t logically deny our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Nor can it deny us the chance at eternal life.
Only we ourselves can do that.