2014: STILL, again, Earth Day/Lenin hoax trotted out: Earth Day honors Earth, our majestic home — not Lenin


This is mostly an encore post, repeated each year on April 22 — sad that it needs repeating.

You could write it off to pareidolia, once. Like faces in clouds, some people claimed to see a link. The first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, coincided with Lenin’s birthday. There was no link — Earth Day was scheduled for a spring Wednesday. Now, years later, with almost-annual repeats of the claim from the braying right wing, it’s just a cruel hoax.

No, there’s no link between Earth Day and the birthday of V. I. Lenin:

One surefire way to tell an Earth Day post is done by an Earth Day denialist: They’ll note that the first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, was an anniversary of the birth of Lenin.

Coincidentally, yes, Lenin was born on April 22 (new style calendar; it was April 10 on the calendar when he was born — one might accurately note that Lenin’s mother always said he was born on April 10).

It’s a hoax. There is no meaning to the first Earth Day’s falling on Lenin’s birthday — Lenin was not prescient enough to plan his birthday to fall in the middle of Earth Week, a hundred years before Earth Week was even planned.

About.com explains why the idea of a link between Earth Day and Lenin is silly:

Does Earth Day Promote Communism?
Earth Day 1970 was initially conceived as a teach-in, modeled on the teach-ins used successfully by Vietnam War protesters to spread their message and generate support on U.S. college campuses. It is generally believed that April 22 was chosen for Earth Day because it was a Wednesday that fell between spring break and final exams—a day when a majority of college students would be able to participate.

U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson, the guy who dreamed up the nationwide teach-in that became Earth Day, once tried to put the whole “Earth Day as communist plot” idea into perspective.

“On any given day, a lot of both good and bad people were born,” Nelson said. “A person many consider the world’s first environmentalist, Saint Francis of Assisi, was born on April 22. So was Queen Isabella. More importantly, so was my Aunt Tillie.”

April 22 is also the birthday of J. Sterling Morton, the Nebraska newspaper editor who founded Arbor Day (a national holiday devoted to planting trees) on April 22, 1872, when Lenin was still in diapers. Maybe April 22 was chosen to honor Morton and nobody knew. Maybe environmentalists were trying to send a subliminal message to the national subconscious that would transform people into tree-planting zombies. One birthday “plot” seems just about as likely as the other. What’s the chance that one person in a thousand could tell you when either of these guys were born.

My guess is that only a few really wacko conservatives know that April 22 is Lenin’s birthday (was it ever celebrated in the Soviet Union?). No one else bothers to think about it, or say anything about it, nor especially, to celebrate it.

Gaylord Nelson, Living Green image

Inventor of Earth Day teach-ins, former Wisconsin Governor and U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson

Wisconsin’s U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson, usually recognized as the founder and father of Earth Day, told how and why the organizers came to pick April 22:

Senator Nelson chose the date in order to maximize participation on college campuses for what he conceived as an “environmental teach-in.” He determined the week of April 19–25 was the best bet; it did not fall during exams or spring breaks, did not conflict with religious holidays such as Easter or Passover, and was late enough in spring to have decent weather. More students were likely to be in class, and there would be less competition with other mid-week events—so he chose Wednesday, April 22.

In his own words, Nelson spoke of what he was trying to do:

After President Kennedy’s [conservation] tour, I still hoped for some idea that would thrust the environment into the political mainstream. Six years would pass before the idea that became Earth Day occurred to me while on a conservation speaking tour out West in the summer of 1969. At the time, anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, called “teach-ins,” had spread to college campuses all across the nation. Suddenly, the idea occurred to me – why not organize a huge grassroots protest over what was happening to our environment?

I was satisfied that if we could tap into the environmental concerns of the general public and infuse the student anti-war energy into the environmental cause, we could generate a demonstration that would force this issue onto the political agenda. It was a big gamble, but worth a try.

At a conference in Seattle in September 1969, I announced that in the spring of 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on behalf of the environment and invited everyone to participate. The wire services carried the story from coast to coast. The response was electric. It took off like gangbusters. Telegrams, letters, and telephone inquiries poured in from all across the country. The American people finally had a forum to express its concern about what was happening to the land, rivers, lakes, and air – and they did so with spectacular exuberance. For the next four months, two members of my Senate staff, Linda Billings and John Heritage, managed Earth Day affairs out of my Senate office.

Five months before Earth Day, on Sunday, November 30, 1969, The New York Times carried a lengthy article by Gladwin Hill reporting on the astonishing proliferation of environmental events:

“Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation’s campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam…a national day of observance of environmental problems…is being planned for next spring…when a nationwide environmental ‘teach-in’…coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned….”

Nelson, a veteran of the U.S. armed services (Okinawa campaign), flag-waving ex-governor of Wisconsin (Sen. Joe McCarthy’s home state, but also the home of Aldo Leopold and birthplace of John Muir), was working to raise America’s consciousness and conscience about environmental issues.

Lenin on the environment? Think of the Aral Sea disaster, the horrible pollution from Soviet mines and mills, and the dreadful record of the Soviet Union on protecting any resource. Lenin believed in exploiting resources, not conservation.

So, why are all these conservative denialists claiming, against history and politics, that Lenin’s birthday has anything to do with Earth Day?

Can you say “propaganda?”  Can you say “political smear?”

2014 Resources and Good News:

2013 Resources and Good News:

Good information for 2012:

Good information from 2011:

Good information from 2010:

2014’s Wall of Shame:

2013 Wall of Shame:

Wall of Lenin’s Birthday Propaganda Shame from 2012:

Wall of Lenin’s Birthday Propaganda Shame from 2011:

Wall of Lenin’s Birthday Propaganda Shame from 2010:

Spread the word.  Have you found someone spreading the hoax, claiming Earth Day honors Lenin instead?  Give us the link in comments.

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27 Responses to 2014: STILL, again, Earth Day/Lenin hoax trotted out: Earth Day honors Earth, our majestic home — not Lenin

  1. Black Flag® says:

    IF so, why do they need tax money? Obviously, their economics is as screwy as yours.

    Like

  2. Ed Darrell says:

    Tell the libertarians in Utah. As I noted, they claim a $10 net return on every $1 paid from taxpayers’ money.

    Maybe you could track down their study and find the holes in it?

    Like

  3. Black Flag® says:

    Obviously there is no “net return”, since it takes billions of taxpayer’s money to pay for it.

    Like

  4. Black Flag® says:

    Your economics is bizarre, believing seizing MY money to pay for YOUR entertainment somehow stimulates the economy – of course, you complete ignore that taking my money away from me doesn’t “stimulate” MY economy – it degrades it – – like all theft does.

    Do you claim the hoodlum stealing your wallet and spending the proceeds is an “economic good”!?

    Like

  5. Ed Darrell says:

    Jest, how? The fact that the federal budget includes a line item for National Parks in no way suggests that those parks, and that money, do not stimulate local economies.

    The Utah State Legislature studied the issue, and determined for every dollar they spent to keep the National Parks open during the Tea Party Assault on the U.S. returned $10 to the state. So, they passed a law requiring the governor to pay to keep federal parks and monuments open in any future shutdown.

    It ran the state about $1 million a day. In peak tourism seasons, the returns are probably much, much higher.

    Tourists taking pictures of the Virgin River Narrows may be the highest and best use of that land. And it puts hella lotta money in Springdale’s coffers.

    Like

  6. Black Flag® says:

    You jest!

    H.J.Res. 70 — provides for funding of the National Park Service and Smithsonian Institution, at a cost of roughly $3.04 billion.

    Like

  7. Ed Darrell says:

    Money isn’t seized from anyone. Money is created by the National Park’s being there, and entrepreneurs providing services to tourists.

    Services make economies go, too.

    Like

  8. Black Flag® says:

    “National Parks are huge boosters of tourism. $10 million a day in Utah.”

    Whether it is or is not a boost, seizing the money from other people to pay for these parks is not excused.

    Where did you get such a stat? $10 million a day? No, it was over 6 days, and further:

    “During that six-day period, visitors dropped an estimated $1.6 million in the parks in direct spending and nearly $8.4 million on surrounding “gateway” communities, bolstering local economies.”

    …the latter claim that $8 million spent outside of the park is specious claim. There is no methodology of accounting for such spending other than “guessing” – a made up number.

    “Admit it, you’re just against business that doesn’t hurt people for money.”

    But it does hurt people. You require to steal money from people who do not visit the parks to pay for them.

    …as if “sick” people go to parks to get well…. hohohoho! …. if that was true, you should advocate development and put hospitals there….

    Like

  9. Ed Darrell says:

    National Parks are huge boosters of tourism. $10 million a day in Utah.

    Admit it, you’re just against business that doesn’t hurt people for money.

    (Wholly apart from the well-established facts that wild areas simply being available for viewing aids in disease recovery — but you don’t care about disease recovery, right?)

    Like

  10. Black Flag® says:

    Don’t need a government park to provide services like health care, Ed.

    Like

  11. Ed Darrell says:

    Services don’t count?

    So much for medical care.

    Like

  12. Black Flag® says:

    It produces nothing, Ed.

    No product is made, nor consumed. It merely a transfer of wealth, not a creation of more wealth.

    Like

  13. Ed Darrell says:

    The National Parks in Utah produce $10 million/day boost to the local economy in the summer.

    You’ve got an odd definition of “productive.”

    Like

  14. Black Flag® says:

    Unused, as in “unproductive” – it is economically stagnate, produces nothing – but certainly causes a huge amount of costs upon society to maintain.

    Certainly if YOU think this maintenance is valuable, then YOU fork over YOUR cash to do so.

    But you don’t like that – you want ME to fork over my cash so YOU don’t have to pay for it.

    Like

  15. Ed Darrell says:

    Who said the land is unused?

    Man does not live by concrete alone.

    Like

  16. Black Flag® says:

    Ed, you are crazy.

    We would be dead without farms. Land unused does nothing, except for the few screw-loose who think oh-and-awe at nature somehow puts food in their belly.

    Like

  17. Black Flag® says:

    You own nothing, Ed. Ownership is control, and you control squat.

    Your a dupe.

    You are duped into thinking you are getting something.

    The rich can see the majestic vistas of the national parks on their vacations. But you cannot see the losers: heirs of confiscated land and taxpayers who do not vacation at the parks.

    You like this arrange, Ed – other people paying your way. You always do.

    Like

  18. Ed Darrell says:

    Or your definition is irrelevant or wrong.

    Wilderness is necessary to the health of a nation, especially our nation. Wild and free places, and the preservation of great national wonders, are all essential to America and Americanism.

    Necessary? We’d be dead without the National Parks. We wouldn’t be American.

    Like

  19. Black Flag® says:

    First, they did not “take the land”, Rockefeller gave it to them so to prevent YOU from getting it.

    Like

  20. Ed Darrell says:

    P.S.: If National Parks were created to prevent me from owning the land, they failed. I own all of them, I and my fellow citizens. Exactly the opposite of what you claim.

    Like

  21. Ed Darrell says:

    As with the Bundy incident, most of the National Parks had no wealthy landowners around them to agitate for park status — exception, perhaps, being Tetons, which a Rockefeller purchased to protect until the National Park Service could get authorization to take it.

    Most of the National Parks were opposed by local landowners who were using and sometimes abusing the land. Yellowstone was an exception to that, simply because there were so few landowners out that way.

    Your claim is completely fatuous, historically and politically.

    Like

  22. Black Flag® says:

    I guess you have no understanding to what a “necessity” means.

    There are unnecessary.

    They exist to prevent YOU from owning the land. Rich land owners who surround these areas did not want YOU sharing the view, except by special permission.

    It is YOUR LOSS, but the propaganda machine works so well on you, you think you won.

    Like

  23. Ed Darrell says:

    No need for National Parks?

    This could be rich: Tell us about how Niagara Falls is much better run, better preserved, and a better natural experience than Yosemite, or Yellowstone, or Cade’s Cove . . .

    The Black Forest — a more natural experience than the Gates of the Arctic?

    As I said, tell us. Give us the facts. Don’t just make bold assertions, share your expertise and depth of knowledge.

    Like

  24. Black Flag® says:

    There is no necessity to create National Parks – indeed, it is a travesty.

    Roosevelt was a collectivists. Rockefeller was a mercantilist.

    Like

  25. Black Flag® says:

    Did you not read what I said about collectivism? It isn’t Lenin – its the mindset.

    Like

  26. Ed Darrell says:

    Black Flag, you’re probably just the guy we need. Surely you can ferret out all those Lenin quotes about the need to clean up air pollution, get clean drinking water, and conserve soil and water. You probably have at your fingertips what Lenin said about the necessity of creating national parks and national monuments . . .

    Please tell us how Lenin was in tune with the environmental protection push in the United States, at any time in history. I’m particularly curious how Lenin rationalized his conservation drive with the fact that in the U.S. it was fed by elites like Teddy Roosevelt and the Rockefellers.

    Make the case, will you?

    Like

  27. Black Flag® says:

    Because Earth day quacks, such as yourself, require collectivist action to enforce your bizarre quackery.

    Rational men do not accept your nonsense, so to bring to heel rational men, you require force and to legitimize such force you need collective agreement.

    Like

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