Book Review of "The Truly Environmental Congressional Scorecard for the 107th Congress" by Alan Kupe

By Miles Wolpin
Volume 14, Number 1 (Fall 2003)
Issue theme: "Mass immigration: the public health dimension"

The Truly Environmental Congressional Scorecard for the 107th Congress (2001-2002)

Edited by Alan Kuper

Cleveland, OH Comprehensive US Sustainable Population (CUSP)

25 pages,

Dr. Kuper probably deserves -- but will not be awarded -- a medal from the Sierra Club for his effort to broaden the issue inclusiveness of the League of Conservative Voters (LCV). Previously he and other members sought unsuccessfully to induce the Sierra Club leadership to include immigration as a source of population negative pressure upon our resource base and quality of life.

Supported by about a thousand "partners" -- presumably recruited from CAPS (Californians for Population Stabilization) and NPG (Negative Population Growth) as well as his Sierra Club allies -- Professor Kuper organized "Comprehensive US Sustainable Population" (CUSP) to publish this 25-page The Truly Environmental Congressional Scorecard for the lO7th Congress (2001-2002).

A draft letter to one's "congressmember" on the first page lays out his rationale that "votes on environmental issues...are votes on symptoms." This because "votes determining U.S. population numbers are your most important environmental votes affecting our Nation's future." Population increase exacerbates or causes other environmental problems.

Kuper then relates his demographic priority to CUSP's goal of lowering immigration. He follows this brief introduction by dividing roll call votes into three areas: 1) consumption/conservation; 2) immigration; 3) natural increase. CUSP relies on other organizationsí» ratings for these specific issue areas, and computes average scores by weighing each area equally.

Kuper also indicates which House members have joined Tom Tancredo's Immigration Reform Caucus. In addition, separate scores are listed for each member's performance on Project Vote Smart's National Political Awareness Test. This is curious since the author acknowledges that "unfortunately, few candidates respond to this commendable effort to inform votes."

Other computations include those average scores for parties, each house of congress, states and for congressional members listed alphabetically. Beyond these are short descriptions of the roll call issues in each of the three major areas, and brief statements of organizational goals.

What patterns emerge? Despite their image as "the party of big business" -- according to Liberals -- the Republicans are much stronger backers of immigration control than Democrats. Similarly, almost all 58 members of the House Immigration Reform Caucus belong to the GOP. Conversely, the Democrats are overwhelmingly for "open borders" -- terrorist threats notwithstanding.

Thus Kuper's inclusion of immigration enhances the Republican overall environmental score. It is doubtful that either the Sierra Club or other LCV coalition member organizations will be enamored by this outcome. For in such areas as consumption/conservation and natural increase, the left-leaning Democrats are far superior as they consequentially remain in overall scores. They have well-established symbiotic relationships with the environmental lobbies behind the LCV.

The foregoing notwithstanding, there are two even more fundamental reasons why the for-the-most-part unidentified environmental lobbies will reject Kuper's well-intentioned yet utopian effort. Neither was adequately addressed by the author.

First, there is no clear explanation of how much net migration and foreign born fertility rate differentials contribute to our population increase. An inexplicable absence of quantitative global or trend data including illegals (which are completely ignored) compounds the problem. Mere assertion persuades no one.

This is particularly true if left-wing bias constrains open-mindedness. Kuper himself appears to recognize that environmental lobby coalitions with Third World peoples advocates and interest groups as well as leftist "human rights" ideological orientations impede responsiveness to the patriotic immigration issue.

Not only does the author fail to explain why radical environmentalists should reconsider the assumptions underlying their Third World oriented paradigm, but he claims problematically that immigration reduction in our country will contribute to solving the global population explosion. Yet again there is not even an abbreviated explanation of how!

Beyond this there are several methodological problems that might be addressed if a second edition for the 108th Congress is envisaged. First, since in-migration contributes substantially more than an absence of "natural increase" control measures (e.g. availability of partial birth abortions, confirmation of Ashcroft, sex "education" in public schools), immigration should be more heavily weighted in CUSP's overall scores.

Second, Kuper claims that the mass public backs the radical environmental lobby's agenda, and thus uses the latter as the sole criterion for scoring. Yet survey research reported by American Enterprise Institute this year reveals that environmental issues rank quite low for Americans. When costs are explicated fully for the public, they often favor moderate proposals. Even in the area of natural increase, many who support first trimester abortions also favor parental notification for adolescents and oppose partial-birth abortions.

Why arbitrarily define and lump moderate environmentalists with anti-environmental "free market" idealogues? While a less extremist criterion would have further enhanced the environmental scores of Republicans, it is more probable that Kuper's choice here reflected his own basic ideological identification with the radical (globalist) position. This is evidenced in his language describing several vote-call bills as it is by his extremist claim that Kyoto symbolizes salvation from "Doomsday!" Can it be that dissenting moderates like ex-Greenpeace activist Bjorn Lomborg (The Skeptical Environmentalist) deserve to be relegated to the status of nonpersons?

As Soviet appeal faded, many New Leftists joined the environmental movement and radicalized its goals in an anti-capitalist direction. Motherhood type slogans like "sustainability" mask a statist neo-totalitarian agenda structurally hostile to advanced capitalism and rising levels of material well being -- both highly valued by working families in America. Yet since Third World peoples are the new proletariat for this global leftist assault on private property, markets, the West and America, it is ludicrous to expect such neo-Marxist, anti-white elites to endorse Western let alone American immigration control. Hence our own "progressive" black elites and big labor oppose effective border control and illegal alien deportation even though mass immigration adversely affects their constituencies more harshly than any other sector.

The grip of this transnational Third Worldist paradigmatic reference group would be negated if 90 percent of our in-migrants originated from European ethnic stocks, rather than 10 percent. This explains the tenacity of the "Rainbow" coalitional LCV's rejection of immigration control as it does Kuper's failure to even consider "smart" immigration. Since some immigrant ethno-cultural groups are more receptive to ecological sensitivity than others, why ignore "quality" and restrict one's concern to numbers alone? From an environmental perspective, wouldn't we be better off with a thousand Danes than 500 Mexicans?

Other methodological concerns include the comparatively small number of immigration votes used as a scoring basis in the House. As for the Senate, it is unclear just how individuals were ranked. The author offers the following: "ABI scores are a good indicator of Senators' awareness that numbers matter, but, unless the selected ABI evaluations are done in precisely the same way, those ABI scores and therefore those Senators' CUSP scores cannot be measured quantitatively against each others scores." Sentence structure aside, did he use them anyway? If not, how were the individual scores generated?

Of lesser import was the inclusion of two subjects not necessary to the report's objective. The first, already mentioned, pertains to Project Vote Smart's issue awareness "test." This was ignored by many of the members of Congress. Further, it was not apparently restricted to immigration or the environment. Second, there is a lengthy commentary upon the desirability of "sustainable" societies. As mentioned previously, a detailed analysis of in-migration's relationship to demographic change would have done far more to educate the LCV target audience -- one that fully endorses the statist neo-socialist "sustainability" alternative to modem capitalism.

Perhaps some of this criticism will be useful in structuring future CUSP reports. Yet it remains problematic whether an inherently nationalist issue like immigration control will ever appeal to Third World-oriented radical ecological globalists. If a second edition were designed to highlight the immigration performance of moderate environmentalists who put their own country first, such a report could strengthen defense of our threatened sovereignty while incrementally enhancing America's way of life. The LCV's ideological rejection of Kuper's noble effort will underscore the pragmatism of my suggested alternative.

About the author

Miles Wolpin, Ph.D., professor of political science emeritus, State University of New York at Potsdam, is a frequent contributor to The Social Contract.