Bill Moyers has a very wacky piece in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which basically takes the position that we on the right don't care about the environment because we are expecting the apocalypse at any moment. In other words, we are treating the earth like a cheap hotel room because we don't plan on staying. According to Mr. Moyers, here is how we think:
Why care about the earth, when the droughts, floods, famine and pestilence brought by ecological collapse are signs of the apocalypse foretold in the Bible? Why care about global climate change when you and yours will be rescued in the rapture? And why care about converting from oil to solar when the same God who performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes can whip up a few billion barrels of light crude with a word?"
Of course, this is just silly, and nobody points out its silliness better than Lileks:
The article, if I can sum it up, says that millions of God-bothering fundies think Jesus will be disembarking from Air Force One any day now, so we might as well pollute and chop down trees. The “no tomorrow” turns out to be the fervent wish of the Left Behind readers, who think the end is near - yet, I’m guessing, still save for their retirement.
My point--and I have one--is a little different. Moyers' article--again printed in the Star Tribune--blames the whole idea on James Watt:
Remember James Watt, President Ronald Reagan's first secretary of the interior? My favorite online environmental journal, the ever-engaging Grist, reminded us recently of how James Watt told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In public testimony he said, "after the last tree is felled, Christ will come back."
Wow. Now, I was politically aware during the Reagan years, and while I remember Watt saying he wasn't sure how many more generations humanity had on earth (and taking a bucket load of crap for it), I don't remember him saying anything at all like the above. Frankly, I don't see how he could have said anything like this (in front of Congress, yet) without it being fairly widely reported.
So I tried to find the source on the Net. Moyers cites to this "Grist", and the author there (one Glenn Scherer) claims that the source of the quote is some book by one Austin Miles, whose apparent claim to fame is that he used to hang around with Tammy Faye Bakker and then wrote a "tell all" book about it. And everybody else on the Internet referencing this quote cite (when they bother to cite) to Moyers, Scherer, or Miles.
Gang (and I mean Mr. Moyers, Mr. Scherer over at Grist, and the editors of the Star Tribune), Watt supposedly made these supposed comments to Congress. Why are we being "cited" to a former cult member, instead of the Congressional Record?
I think that this quote is made up, and everyone involved should apologize. And the folks at the Star Tribune, who just ran a story accusing the bloggers at Powerline about not fact checking, should be ashamed of themselves.