Along the western edge of Ouray, Colorado, and sourced some 12,000 feet above at a lake called Lake Como, there flows a greenish-yellowish-reddish river named the Uncompahgre River.
The word is pronounced un-come-PAH-gray.
This is a Ute Indian word that means “dirty water” or “angry water” or “red lake,” because mountain minerals color the water, as they always have.
Long before the mines existed, the Utes observed this.
This is Red Mountain, near the river’s source:
Red Mountain is very beautiful, and it’s naturally this color.
It is not this color because of mining or pollution.
I repeat: it is not this color because of mining or pollution.
Ouray, however, which is where I grew up, is a mining town.
In the early nineties, when the environmental movement began to really take hold, we natives (and by “natives” I mean Ouray locals) rather suddenly began hearing that the reason the Uncompahgre River is colored this way is that the mines had polluted the river water.
In fact, this became something of a common environmentalist talking-point, repeated and passed along without any critical examination or critical questioning.
And yet it’s a talking-point that is totally, provably, patently false, and I, who was in favor of environmentalism at this time, knew for a fact that this talking-point was a total fabrication.
I knew it for a fact because I knew that mountain minerals had for eons colored the waters of the Uncompahgre River. I’d seen the river’s beautifully-colored source — many, many times I’d seen it — as I’d also read several different accounts, all written before the mines ever existed, of the Uncompahgre’s multicolored water.
I learned also, at a very young age, why the Utes had named this river “Uncompahgre,” what that word means, and that long before mining the Utes had named it this.
The environmental talking-point was pure propaganda made up out of whole cloth, and I, along with many others, subsequently watched this utter fabrication materialize and with incredible rapidity grow into a monster that, to this very day, true-believers will fight you to the death over.
Other outright lies rapidly cropped up: lies about the mines being “mined out” (they’ve barely been tapped, in fact); lies about pollution and environmental degradation; lies about what the miners did to the environment. Some contained kernels of truth but were wildly exaggerated.
The question for me quickly became: why?
Why were these outright lies all of a sudden cropping up and propagating like mushrooms?
The answer, as I was with much effort, study, investigation, and volumes of thought later to learn: Noble Cause Corruption.
At the time, of course, being but a boy, I didn’t know this. But watching blatant lies materialize before your eyes will certainly make you start looking more critically at subsequent claims — or, at least, it should.
As it turns out, the lies and exaggerations are part-and-parcel to the cause. They’re commonplace, as a matter of fact, and the leaders of the environmental movement make no real secret of this. They call them (and I quote) “tactics.”
Most environmentalists I know are good people.
Most of my hippy-dippy friends are good sweet people, with excellent intentions, and that’s why we’re friends.
But I can say also, without any hesitation, equivocation, or doubt, that they have no idea at all of the philosophical-politico-economic underpinnings of the movement they espouse, which is pure Neo-Marxism.
The truth is that I know no serious person who doesn’t care about the state of the planet.
The only real question is how best to deal with environmental and societal issues.
And I can absolutely promise you this much:
It’s not through an elite bureau of centralized planners.
It’s not through subsidizing “renewables” and making “renewables” mandatory — and then claiming that renewables are “sustainable” because they’re more efficient and do not require mining or industry (both of which statements are wildly, disastrously, demonstrably inaccurate) and look: “renewables” are everywhere now — environmental ideology was right all along.
It’s also not through majority rule, and it’s not through the majority having power to vote away the rights of any individual — which is to say, through vox-populi-democracy.
It’s not through subordinating individuals and their property to a collective — any collective, of any kind — and when you hear that proposed, every single time, no matter what — no matter what, I say again — you can be 100 percent sure that it is a false and dangerous doctrine. It is an adversary ideology. It is unadulterated dogma, and it’s one of several absolutely infallible methods for spotting falsehoods. I implore you to commit that to memory. It will never steer you wrong.
The question of how best to deal with environmental and societal issues is also not through wealth destruction and “bringing down all industrial society,” as environmental leader Maurice Strong publicly put it, and it’s not through retrogressing back to the stoneage or to that point in human history, not so long ago, when over ninety percent of populations were necessarily devoted to farming — when sickness and disease ran rampant and unchecked and lifespans were dismally short, water and food dirty, and medicine was still in the dark ages, and even short-distance travel sheer drudgery and danger.
The solution is through human progress and innovation, which comes through fully and legally recognizing each individual’s unalienable right to person and property, allowing people to flourish and prosper and create new wealth, and also in holding people fully accountable for breaching either, whether through pollution, expropriation, eminent domain, extortion, murder, fraud, rape, or any other form of violence and individual violation, direct or indirect: because human progress and human flourishing comes about through conditions of freedom — and politically and economically the word freedom has only one meaning: the omission of state force and coercion.
Freedom is the absence of governmental force and coercion.