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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Global Warming: The Conservatives' Opportunity

Cal Thomas wrote a column entitled, "Global Warming: The Conservatives' Opportunity.

His column brings to mind several things. Conservatives have nothing to be defensive or apologetic about when it comes to conservation. If we can just be intellectually honest here on this matter, we should all realize that neither conservatives, nor liberals, want to destroy the earth. No one wants to drink dirty water or breathe polluted air. And, we certainly do not want our children or grandchildren to be forced to either.

The U.S citizen from fly over country - the ones that are often looked on as hicks, are often portrayed as conservatives with big spaces between their front teeth (if they have any at all) and with a gun rack in their pickup, the ones who like to hunt - are just as much, if not more, appreciative of good ol' mother earth and want to preserve it as much as anyone else.

It has been recently pointed out to me, by a reader and someone who has in the past contributed some opinion pieces to this blog, that the latest edition of Scientific American contained an article on environmentalism headlined 'Saving Nature that Works for People' which reflected his view that we should be saving the environment for mankind rather than from mankind. Apparently, the Scientific American article makes the same point; and that is to say, we shouldn't be concerned with saving bio-diversity for its own sake but for ours. (HH)

Cal Thomas writes:
This is a two-part column. Part one is what you might expect from a politically conservative person who believes “global warming” is a secular religion and that Al Gore deserved the Nobel Peace Prize as much as Yasser Arafat, Le Duc Tho and a myriad of other low-wattage lights, which is to say not at all. The second part may surprise my liberal friends.

The Church of Global Warming (CGW) is a cult. A cult has a number of definitions, among them this one from dictionary.com: “A religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.” Cults wish to control others. Global warming fundamentalists wish to do the same through the power of government.

CGW members would reject cult status — which all cult members do — and Al Gore has never been accused of displaying charisma. But the CGW confers charismatic status on him because he tells them what they want to hear: salvation is available through the reduction of one’s carbon footprint. Gore regularly violates his own doctrines by flying on big polluting jets, leaving tracks the size of Bigfoot.

Cultists never allow contrary evidence to challenge their beliefs. Last week, a British judge found.....

Read more from Cal Thomas.

I am going to re-post the opinion piece that was contributed by Anotmo and posted here on January 17, 2006

By Anotmo

1/17/06 original post date

"It has always seemed curious to me that environmentalism is perceived to be so exclusively a concern of the left. After all, some significant portion of environmentalism is ‘conservation’ and one would think that would be of concern to ‘conservatives’. (By the way, why are leftist environmentalist never accused of wanting to ‘turn back the clock?) In fact, environmentalism is of concern to conservatives, but conservatives are not so vocal and obnoxiously self-aggrandizing about it. Also, as is so often the case, conservatives take a slightly different view on the matter that puts them at odds, not so much with the goals that the left presumes to champion, as they so habitually and self-righteously charge, but with the methods by which they propose to advance those goals.

The left, true to form, sees people as the villainous cause of the problem and the environment as the righteous victim. Therefore, to them, (1.) environmentalism means isolating the environment from any and all effects of mankind, (see “pristine” in the dictionary), and (2.) any action they may propose need not consider any ill effects on or cost to people. Indeed, any such ill effects and costs serves people right for being such malicious little despoilers of nature in the first place. Kind of a secular leftist version of ‘original sin’.

The right acknowledges that people can and do alter the environment but so do all species and so do naturally occurring events. More importantly, the right sees people as the victims of an unhealthy environment, not the other way around. Therefore, to them, (1.) environmentalism means maintaining a healthy environment for the benefit of people and so, (2.) any actions to improve or maintain the environment must be weighed against its effects on and costs to people.

These are very different mindsets. The left has been promoting theirs for years, so I will attempt to make the case for, at least this conservatives, a view from the right. Every species that ever was, is or ever will be has an effect on the environment. That is inescapable according to the lefts own otherwise sacred embrace of ‘Darwin’s Theory of Evolution’. ‘Survival of the fittest’ means best adapting to/exploiting the environment, whatever that environment is or may become. Nature does not distinguish between the effects of the Valdez oil spill and the existence of the California tar pits. That is a human esthetic distinction indiscernible to nature. Nature will deal with both in the same way. It will incorporate it, adapt to it and continue on.

The danger we face is not destroying all life on earth; the danger we face is destroying our own species. Leftist environmentalists are fond of characterizing the environment as being fragile. That is nonsense. The environment and the life within it are robust and virtually indestructible. The particular form the environment takes at any point in time may be fragile but this very fragility of form, this adaptability, is the environments strength, not its weakness. It is the beauty of nature that some forms of some species will survive no matter what changes transpire in the environment; currently perhaps short only of some cosmic catastrophe that literally destroys earth itself. Even then, the remaining debris may contain life forms that will eventually colonize elsewhere. In theory, that may be how life got to earth in the first place. Anyway, as we proceed toward populating other celestial bodies even this potential qualification will be overcome.

Contrary to the lefts view, I do not believe that humans could destroy all life on earth even if we set about specifically to do so. We could explode all of our weapons; nuclear and conventional alike, release all of our toxic agents, set fire to everything in sight and emit clouds of carbon dioxide and other forms of ‘pollution’ yet some forms of life will adapt and survive. Far greater calamities than we could impose have already occurred countless times in the history of the earth and still life goes on. We could, to be sure, destroy many species including our own, but not all life. In the first place, we would be extinct ourselves long before the job was done and the remains of the last human to die will still be consumed by the microorganisms within. In the second place, we could never complete the task anyway. Life is simply too adaptable.

Nature imposes a natural duty and compulsion on all living things to survive, both as individuals and as species. That is the key to the process. The only difference between us and any other life form on earth is that we alone now understand this and we alone now understand that our species cannot survive alone. It is, therefore, our responsibility to maintain an environment, complete with the other necessary life forms, that is viable for continued human existence, not one bereft of it. The tragedy of Easter Island is not that life on it was destroyed. It was not. The tragedy of Easter Island was that one species, humans, altered their environment so that their own life on it was rendered unviable.

Tree huggers may argue that the preceding destruction of the trees that led to the demise of human life was the real or at least equal tragedy of Easter Island. I would, perhaps, grant that point from the trees perspective, but I am a human. From my perspective it was the trees failure to adapt to this new environment, the one that included humans that precipitated the trees demise. In a do over perhaps some random genetic mutation would have led to trees that no longer served humans purposes and those trees would then have survived. If that notion strikes you as cold and heartless then you may be getting the point. The strength of nature is that it does not care which of its creatures survives, only that some do. Successful species often render other species extent. That is not tragedy, it is evolution. A species that does or at least can understand this but still renders itself extinct, that is tragedy.

The left’s view on the environment specifically, and I believe purposefully, isolates their proposals from consideration of its effects on and costs to people while the right’s view on the environment specifically demands it. That does not mean that the right would only include material values in such considerations. National parks are wonderful things and I am happy we have them. Eagles are lovely creatures and I am thrilled to see one in the wild, a prospect that is much more likely today than it was when I grew up. Spotted owls are another matter but different people have different tastes and values. I can live with that. Humans are an esthetically conscious species and I am quite happy to the extent that maintaining some portions of nature untouched by human hands and/or of no material value to humans satisfies those esthetics but only if it is without undue costs to humans. The point is that I am willing to argue as to what undue costs are. The left is not. The left seeks to avoid that argument altogether least they then need to define, qualify and quantify such things as the real potential impact on ANWR’s caribou heard of drilling for oil there versus the cost of Mideast oil.

In truth, the lefts environmentalism is not about the physical environment at all; it is about the cultural environment. Its’ movers and shakers, as opposed to its lay supporters, are more concerned with constraining the evil United State’s influence and power and advancing globalization than they are concerned with constraining the United States’ impact on the environment. The latter is just the current vehicle by which to advance the former. That is why they must avoid the environmental cost/benefit argument. Not so much because they would lose that argument, although they mostly would, but because it simply does not lead to where they really want to go. That whole topic is grist for another word mill that I may sometime get to.

In the meantime the above exculpated and naïve lay supporters of environmentalism would do well to carefully reconsider their position. The left seeks to save the environment from mankind while the right seeks to save the environment for mankind."


  • Thanks for resurrecting this H-H. Hopefully, we will get some responses this time round. It is important in and of itself but also because it so symptomatic of the difference between the Liberal and Conservative view of many things.

    By Anonymous Anotmo, at 8:56 AM  

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