There is this stereotype that Conservatives do not care about the environment. This particular line of thinking really bugs me because it is absolutely false and absurd (also – it was a presumption that I previously held). Obviously – if asked, nearly any conservative you’ll find is not someone who is all for the destruction of the natural world. The only real difference between liberal and conservative thought on the environment, is the methodology.
One major factor in this stereotype was that, early on, the environmental movement was hijacked, not by moderates or centrists, but by the far left. Consider this quote from Green Peace’s Patrick Moore:
“The environmental movement I helped found has lost its objectivity, morality and humanity. The pain and suffering it is inflicting on families in developing countries must no longer be tolerated. Eco-Imperialism is the first book I’ve seen that tells the truth and lays it on the line. It’s a must-read for anyone who cares about people, progress and our planet.”
– Patrick Moore, Greenpeace co-founder
Environmental issues have become powerful tools for controlling politics as well as people’s views of politics. How do they do this? Like I mentioned above– because the vast majority of people are clearly pro-environment, it is easy to set up political platforms that play on peoples fears. This might seem surprising – but the same people who accuse conservatives of using terrorism as a fear mongering tactic, will turn right around and shove “Global Warming” in your face – and tell you the earth’s destruction is eminent, and how it’s all your fault, and we have to do something now! “We have ten years to save the planet!” Oh, Please…
Prudence says we should hover somewhere in the middle. We should be mindful of the environment, whilst thinking of realistic solutions (aka. solutions we can implement currently, without demolishing our economy.) that can protect it in a reasonable manner. We also should be wary of junk science in regards to the environment, as it is a prevalent problem. For instance: I remember my 4th grade teacher telling us on tree planting week (this is back when Save the Rain Forest was in vogue. You know, slightly before the acid rain hysteria…) that the earth only had 60 years of fresh water left. Of course this is false – but as a 4th grader why wouldn’t I believe what my teacher said? It would be years later in biology when I would actually learn about this:
But the fact was – by then, I already has the pre-installed fear that we were absolutely destroying all the water on the planet – regardless of the facts. Learning about the water cycle didn’t really change these feelings. So – as an impressionable young kid, based solely on stereotypes – which direction do you think I would naturally lean politically on environmental issues? Would this leaning have then been based on sound reasoning?
Conservatives and Liberals will certainly disagree on the methods – but similar to tax issue stereotypes, this idea that conservatives care nothing for the environment needs to be seen as the absurd miss-characterization that it is. This mindset that Evil greedy conservatives just want to burn the rain forest down, blast mass quantities of filth into the air, and pave over the rest of the natural world, must be discarded. Newt expands on this idea:
So with that in mind, here is an issue to consider:
The USA needs to become energy independent. This is something that I think everyone can agree upon at least to some degree. We need a real and practical solution to this problem.
Often – the first idea suggested is that we should abandon oil and invest in fuel alternatives. But throwing money at unknown new technology has no guaranty or time-line of success – (Side Note: This is true Especially if the government is involved in the process. As I have stated before at length – the government does not have a bottom line or any really good reason to innovate and invest money wisely. The government’s involvement should consist of giving incentive for businesses to invest in new technology. Consider the boom in Hybrid car sales. This innovation was not caused by government intervention – rather, high gas prices and other factors created demand – thus, the free market responded.).
I am not saying that we shouldn’t be investing money in energy alternatives (as we already are), but I think this is more of a long term solution and is unreliable at best – thus not a very practical/realistic solution. In fact – I don’t really know what the best solution may be. I can tell you, however, that there have been several fairly reasonable suggestions that would indeed temporarily help us move in this direction. All have been shot down by the environmental movement:
- Drilling in ANWAR – strongly opposed by the environmental movement, even angled drilling from the edge of the park.
- Drilling off-shore – opposed by the environmental movement.
- Nuclear Power – opposed by the environmental movement.
So the really big question you need to ask is, “Is the opposition to these solutions based on sound scientific reasoning?” If so, then we must search for alternative solutions. However – if the opposition is based on radical rhetoric, junk science, and/or frenzied political hype – it also, must be discarded.