by Douglas Gregory
August 1, 2012
The Story of Change
, the sequel to The Story of Stuff
, should be renamed The Story of Changing to a Marxist Political Economy
, though its creator might not understand her own political views well enough to recognize that.
The Story of Stuff
(of which there is an excellent four-part critique on YouTube
) started as an Internet viral movie in 2007 designed to inculcate environmental conscientiousness via product choices. In the twenty-minute animated video, shown to countless school-age children around the planet, “sustainability” activist and former Greenpeace employee Annie Leonard argued in misleading, factually incorrect, and unsubstantiated ways the classic Marxist line that the market economy is a conspiracy by corporations to steal from Third World countries. Leonard is a former board member
of the Marxist-dominated International Forum on Globalization
, which campaigns against economic globalization, despite overwhelming empirical evidence that global free trade is the surest way to lift whole societies out of poverty
Unsatisfied with individual, voluntary actions and public debate of the ideas she promoted in The Story of Stuff
, Leonard later produced curriculum called Let There Be—Stuff?
for use in unsuspecting churches and synagogues. Cornwall Alliance National Spokesman Dr. E. Calvin Beisner critiqued that curriculum on Fox News Channel’s Glenn Beck on October 15, 2010
Now Leonard uses her new video, The Story of Change
, to tell people they must become political eco-activists lest, however unwittingly, they join in destroying the planet. “We can’t only talk about citizens voting with our dollars,” she begins. “Real change happens when citizens come together to demand rules that work.”
Leonard requires citizens’ corporate (read collectivist
) political action to demand laws and regulations to change the market economy to a planned economy. She compares her desired overthrow of the economy to Gandhi’s non-violent protests to remove colonial rule from India. Ironically, she misses that mandating change through government always involves the threat of force—in this case, government force against those who would like to buy imported fruit or non-organic food or would in any other way fail to toe the environmentalist line.
Let me see if I have the logic down: Corporate interference with government destroys the planet, ruins our health, and robs us of happiness. The solution? Make government bigger! The peaceful means of exchange
—people voluntarily buying and selling from each other—doesn’t achieve what Leonard wants, so she resorts to the violent means instead—the brute force of government.
Most of Leonard’s concerns are environmental. She says government must force consumer rationing through environmental reforms. Compare that to President Obama’s promise of sky-rocketing electricity prices
to curb demand if he were elected. Does that kind of thinking show concern for the individual?
There is no end to the number of times Leonard asks for corporate action, mostly by a minority upon the majority. Behind her friendly demeanor lurks the cold heart of one who wants everyone (else!) to be the slave of the all-ruling state.
Leonard’s ignorance of what the world was like before the market economy—near-universal extreme poverty; high infant, child, and maternal mortality rates; short life expectancy; unsanitary filth dominating every human settlement; rampant disease, hunger, and starvation—is astounding.
“Instead of this dinosaur economy that focuses only on corporate profits,” she says, “we want a new economy that puts safe products, happy people, and a healthy planet first.”
Where do corporate profits come from if not from satisfying people’s demands for safe and useful products? What exactly does Leonard think has happened in the last century in America? We have not only innumerably more and better and safer products but also a healthier planet, with better nutrition, rising life expectancy, and less pollution. How many Americans today fear cholera, high infant mortality, or unsafe drinking water?
Are Americans also happier? It’s hard to tell—but only a materialist would think happiness comes from material things, whether televisions and health spas or a clean environment. At any rate, Leonard seems to think since the world isn’t perfect yet, people must not be trying.
To achieve the political change she wants, Leonard proposes three steps by “corporate citizens”: sharing this “new” idea, corporate unity despite “minority status,” and “action” to ensure its success. Whether that refers to a revolution of some sort, she doesn’t say. But she does say the movement needs certain types of people, including “resisters,” to ensure change. Interestingly, she speaks the word resisters
before an animated picture of a protester with a “We are the 99%” sign in front of a bulldozer. Is she promoting violating property rights?
Leonard’s newest video claims to spark a new movement, to spread new ideas about a new economy and a new focus for our lives. What it really promotes is oppression by statist eco-masters, trapping people’s bodies in poverty and their minds under the tyranny of ignorance and group-think.
What lies at the root of Leonard’s confusions? She fails to understand the nature and calling of real human beings. Made in the image of God to be creative and productive as God is, men and women are called not to be the docile slaves, or the coddled wards, of totalitarian states but to exercise their God-given liberty to fill and rule the Earth (Genesis 1:27–28), enhancing its fruitfulness, beauty, and safety, to the glory of God and the benefit of their neighbors. That, not the deadening oppression of collectivism, is the path of love.
In His Image 2012
launches a major, multi-year initiative through which the Cornwall Alliance seeks to help people understand the importance of the free and responsible individual, of marriage and the family, and of private enterprise as the foundations of a free, just, and prosperous society as well as of a healthy, bountiful natural environment. Please help us correct the materialist, Marxist views represented not only in The Story of Change
but also in propaganda emanating from literally thousands of environmentalist organizations by donating to In His Image 2012
Douglas Gregory is Research and Communications Specialist at the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. He holds a B.S. in Microbiology from the Pennsylvania State University.