Why do they hate us?
Published Mon, Feb 11 2008 5:24 PM
That's a serious question. I don't have a good answer for it either. I have some thoughts about it, but they don't really answer the question.
I believe that a lot of the opponents of conservatism are sincere in their aims and opposition to conservatism. Some of them are quite well informed and thoughtful people. Others are rabid in their hatred and disdain for conservative concepts and ideas.
The question is why.
Conservatives seem to be in the minority in today's world. Every now and then, we see a rise in conservatism, yet, when we see a conservative come to power he or she is often hated, and the object of scorn and ridicule.
George W. Bush isn't exactly a true conservative, although he holds many conservative ideals. It's easily said that he's far more conservative than his predecessor in office, and yet he presided over some very non-conservative advances in big government. Even so, he is almost universally reviled and ridiculed on the left as the epitome of evil and stupidity.
My mother thinks he's an idiot. She's well aware that he got better grades in college than his most recent political opponent. She knows he attended an ivy league college. She watched as he managed to become the first President in decades to win over 50% of the popular vote. Yet when she's asked, she says he's an idiot. When pressed, it appears to be an emotional dislike of the man.
She's entitled to her opinions, and I know that she's a thoughtful and intelligent person. Yet when it comes to George W. Bush, she's got an irrational (in my opinion), personal dislike of the man.
I'm not certain why this is, except that liberals seem to take a personal dislike to most conservatives.
Today's liberals or "progressives" have compared conservative leaders to fascists. They have compared them to Nazis. They disparage conservatives as "fascists" — adherents of fascism or "reactionary" or "dictatorial" people. A thesaurus would tell us that a fascist is an adherent of fascism, or "other right-wing authoritarian views."
Well, based on the "right wing" and "authoritarian" part of that, I guess I can see where they are coming from with their attitude toward conservatives. After all, conservatives are often called "right wingers" and "authoritarian".
Fascism is defined as "A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism." The Thesaurus tells us that it's "a political theory advocating an authoritarian hierarchical government (as opposed to democracy or liberalism)".
Skipping over the obvious first definition which speaks of a specific political party of the past, Nazi is defined as "An adherent or advocate of policies characteristic of Nazism; a fascist." Well, we just read the definition of Fascism. Let's look at the definition of Nazism shall we?
Nazism is defined as "The ideology and practice of the Nazis, especially the policy of racist nationalism, national expansion, and state control of the economy." Hmm… that's a bit circular isn't it. The ideology and practice of the Nazis, who are adherents and advocates of the policies of Nazism.
That doesn't seem to be getting us anywhere. The Thesaurus tells us that it's "a form of socialism featuring racism and expansionism and obedience to a strong leader". Couple that with state control of the economy and I guess we're starting to get somewhere.
Are these the principles upon which conservatism is based? Somehow, I don't think so.
Modern day conservatism is based upon the idea that smaller government is more supportive of freedom than larger government. You will find very few true conservatives advocating state control of the economy, or a strong, centralized government. These seem to be more the policies espoused by the Democratic party. This despite the notion that these philosophies are "as opposed to democracy or liberalism".
In fact, modern day liberalism has more in common with socialism than with classic liberalism. Modern day conservatism is much closer in its philosophy to classic liberalism than what we see from today's left.
Part of the national debate as we move closer to selecting a President to take office in 2009 is over "nationalized" or "universal" health care. The debate seems to focus on how much, and how to pay for it. It doesn't even address the conservative viewpoint that "nationalized" health care isn't something that the government should be involved in.
Instead, we are told that everyone "must" be covered. It's odd, but I can't seem to locate anywhere in the U.S. Constitution or its amendments where universal health care is mandated, or even the responsibility of the federal government.
Before he dropped out of the race, John Edwards was advocating not only compulsory national health insurance, but compulsory visits to the doctor for everyone. Hillary Clinton is advocating universal health care too (that's not a surprise to anyone who remembers the 1990s). Under her plan though, if you don't voluntarily enroll, she'll garnish your wages, or in some other way use the heavy hand of government to force you to pay for government health care.
Do these sound like the attitudes and policies of people interested in personal freedom? Are these the policies of people opposed to "state control of the economy"? Are these the ways that you would expect people opposed to the "centralization of authority" or to "strict socioeconomic controls" to advance their ends?
We're told that national health care is a "crisis". We're told that something "must" be done for the millions of uninsured. We're told that we have to do it for "the children". We're told that the gap between the rich and the poor must be fixed. We're told that we have a "right" to health care.
These are all emotionally laden terms. They all appeal to the emotions and to the sense of right and wrong within us. They make it very easy to demonize opponents of universal health care as unfeeling, or uncaring.
I'm sure that your health is important to you. I know that mine is important to me. A child's health is important to the child, and also to the child's parents. When you're sick, or injured, one of the most important things is to get well.
By extension, when someone else is sick or injured, it is only natural to feel empathy for them and to wish them well. The better among us go out of our way to lend assistance and to see to it that they receive the treatment that they need. Somehow, we all know that the circumstances could easily be reversed, and it could be us in need. If we don't render assistance, how can we expect it in return?
Not all of us respond in the same way when we see a need though. In the everyday press of life we often cannot be bothered to help. Failing to aid your fellow traveler when you see them in want or need carries with it, for most of us, a sensation of guilt.
Multiply that one or two people that need help by millions and activism becomes natural. We have a "right" to healthcare that's being denied somehow because not everyone has insurance. Those among us who have been lucky enough to win life's lottery have an obligation to help those who haven't. That they don't follow through is a sign that they are somehow morally bankrupt or evil, and so we transfer our guilt to them.
It seems to me that this is the way that a lot of things go. I've used health care as an example, but there are so many more that can apply. The general principle I'm trying to illustrate is that it's easy to perceive a need that can often be addressed by individual action but isn't and extend the guilt that comes of it to others. The result is often "class envy" and a sense of self-righteous indignation that justifies the confiscation of wealth or services to support the "common" good.
Conservatives see this as nothing more than oppression by the masses of those segments of our society that have accumulated things through industry and ingenuity. Liberals don't see it that way though. To the liberals that I am familiar with, those who have wealth must have obtained it by oppressing the masses. Somehow, success is morally wrong and the successful must be compelled to do that which we ourselves either are unwilling to do or don't think we have the time to do.
By extension, conservatives must be morally bankrupt. After all, they don't support the liberal cause de-jour. A conservative is against nationalized health care? He must be evil. A conservative doesn't believe that it's right to tax the creation of wealth and re-distribute that money to the jobless? He's heartless and cruel. A conservative believes that our economy is driven by innovation, entrepreneurialism, and by our ability to extract natural resources and energy from our environment, and that people are more important than snail darters? Why he's a specieist that would destroy our world for the sake of the almighty dollar.
National, socialized medicine is a hot-button issue. The poor have as much right to health care as the wealthy. Never mind that health care comes at a cost, that someone has to provide it, that gaining the knowledge is costly, that people don't make good health decisions, or that health providers need to earn a living too. Oh no! Health care is a right, and if we have to we'll forcibly extract it from those able to pay for it, using the hand of government.
Big business is inherently evil. There is no morality behind the profit motive. A company that expands its business by offering more goods at cheaper prices can't be doing the world a favor. It's promoting consumerism. It's oppressing its workers by forcing them to work for low wages and low benefits. It's depriving our citizens of jobs by importing goods and services from overseas. It's evil because those sneakers are made in sweatshops by poor people.
Never mind that a business that does not provide goods and services that people want won't make any money. Never mind that nobody in history was ever given a job by someone that didn't have a product to make or a service that needed rendering (other than government). Never mind that people generally aren't given good paying jobs by people that don't have the work to be done and the ability to pay for it. After all, capitalism is inherently evil. It's wrong to exploit people's labor for money.
And so we regulate businesses to the point where a profit is difficult to make, through "strict socioeconomic controls" and the like. Laws are passed to force employers to provide benefits to their workers, even if it means that costs go up disproportionately to other businesses. After all, it's not enough to provide people that otherwise wouldn't have a job with one, we have to make that evil company pay.
It must be evil if they don't give a benefit that they weren't obligated to provide by law before. It must be evil that the company doesn't work with a union. Why somehow it's morally wrong for people to be forced to voluntarily sign an employment agreement that doesn't take care of their every need. If they don't get health care along with that job, then they're being oppressed. Imagine, being forced to work to make a living and not having a doctor's services included in the package. Yes indeed, companies like Wal-Mart are the epitome of evil in modern society.
It's a known fact that conservatives want to restrict the "freedoms" and "liberties" of people in our society. Conservatives want to trample upon the "rights" of the "innocent", using "outmoded" concepts of "morality" and "justice". They are standing in the way of "progress". The very word "conservative" seems to be about holding on to a dead and dusty past.
Liberals and progressives on the other hand have the noble goal of expanding our "freedoms" and "liberties". They are the defenders of the "rights" of the "innocent". Why the very name of their movements declare their love of liberty and progress.
At least, that's what today's liberals and progressives would have us all believe.
So what "freedoms" and "liberties" do conservatives want to restrict that the liberals and progressives want to expand? What "rights" do conservatives wish to trample upon that liberals and progressives want to defend?
How about freedom of speech? Conservatives are accused of trying to censor views they don't approve of aren't they? It lends support to the argument that conservatives are somehow fascists if it can be argued that they want to squelch your right to free speech doesn't it?
Remember a few years ago how the Dixie Chicks were censored for their views of President Bush? Oh yes, that was certainly the heavy hand of government being used to squelch freedom of speech wasn't it? Wasn't it? Didn't President Bush order the FCC to stop sales of their records and to have them taken off of the air-waves? What do you mean, "He didn't?"
— Oh, that's right, a bunch of outraged conservatives decided to boycott them economically. Damned right-winged conservatives tried to use economic blackmail to get them to shut up. They decided to stop buying their albums and supporting the advertisers of radio stations that played their music. I guess that's what liberals mean by "censorship", voluntarily not listening to viewpoints that you oppose.
Speaking of that incident, censorship by boycott sure was effective in that case, wasn't it? Somehow they managed to profit from the boost in notoriety that came from the controversy surrounding their words. They certainly were lauded by their peers, and as far as I know they aren't exactly hurting financially. They're doing pretty well for being the victims of censorship. According to one news article at the time — "Despite the controversy -- or perhaps because of it -- the Chicks remain one of the top draws in all of pop music." The same article notes…
Though the group's song "Travelin' Soldier," which was No. 1 on Billboard's country charts around the time Maines made the remark, fell off the charts, sales of the group's CD, "Home," picked up after an initial dip.
People in the United States today simply don't enjoy the right to freedom of speech do they? Conservatives must really despise the first amendment to the Constitution. Yes indeed, a conservative congress made a law stating that the Dixie Chicks couldn't say that they were ashamed that the President of the United States was from Texas, or that they couldn't call him "a dumb f---" for saying that they were "free to speak their mind".
On the other hand, I suppose that's just a little too old to be relevant. How about last year then, when conservatives did their best to censor an entire medium? Do you remember when conservatives in Congress were outraged at the chilling effect on our democracy of talk radio? Remember this quote?
Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem.
Yes, that actually was a conservative. That was Trent Lott. But, was he speaking of censorship? Or was he talking about a lack of leadership in Congress?
For a while this past fall and winter, there was a lot of talk about bringing back the "fairness doctrine" to the radio. You are, I'm sure familiar with this. It's the idea that since market forces aren't doing enough to bring balance to talk radio that we must use the hand of government regulation to force radio stations to air opposing viewpoints.
Those calls for the fairness doctrine didn't come from conservatives. They came from liberals, and Democrats (excuse me, I would hate to be thought of as somehow insulting, that should be "Democratic" party members). Apparently, if a radio station presents overwhelmingly conservative viewpoints, viewpoints that gain it a large following of listeners, attracting advertising money which pays to air those viewpoints, we need the government to bring balance. Of course, to air opposing viewpoints means that the opposed viewpoints must naturally get less air time.
So, which side is advocating censorship?
Yet another hot button topic these days is climate change and the environment. On the surface, you wouldn't think that this should be a conservative vs. liberal topic. After all, climate change is either happening or it isn't. And yet this is an issue that divides conservatives from liberals as much as any other.
If you read newspapers, watch the news on television, or watch the popular "science" programming on cable television, you will be left with the impression that climate change is a catastrophe waiting to destroy our civilization and even our world. We are told that the debate is settled, and that we must all do our part to fix the problem.
People that disagree that the debate is settled are branded as "deniers", on a par with those who deny that the Holocaust took place. Over a year ago, there were calls to set up Nuremberg style trials for "global warming deniers". Recently there have been calls to cut off the funding of scientists and researchers that don't toe the "human induced climate change" line. Some politicians have even ventured into the idea of making climate change dissent into a criminal activity, bringing the hand of government down to stop the debate. Dissenters must be silenced!
So why does this topic separate the left and the right? There are plenty of scientists that don't agree with the idea that climate change is the result of human forcing. Quite a few are concerned that we may be entering into a period of global cooling, while others are still concerned about global warming. Some tell us that it's all about our "carbon footprint", while others tell us that despite the efforts to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels, we aren't going to be able to do anything to alter the trend significantly any time soon.
Setting aside the scientific debate for the moment, I think that it's largely an economic issue. Our world's economies are driven by consumerism. Producing goods consumes natural resources and requires energy. A large scale economy requires large scale consumption of resources and energy.
There is a vast disparity in our worlds economies. There is a tremendous gap between the wealthy and the poor when you look at resource consumption, or the distribution of wealth, or even the standard of living. If you recall, earlier I pointed out how feelings of guilt are easily transferred to the more prosperous among us.
Somehow, for one nation to be prosperous, the reasoning seems to go, another must be exploited. And that's fundamentally unfair. Again, the hand of government must be invoked to "level the playing field". In this case though, it's a centralized world government.
Several hundred years ago, we didn't have many of our modern day conveniences. There were no automobiles, no trains, no airplanes. We didn't have factories running using automation to provide inexpensive goods as commodities. In a lot of cases, we didn't even have the food to supply everyone's needs, or the resources to provide warmth and shelter in the winter. Water quality was horrible.
Today, in some parts of the world, those conditions persist. Is this the fault of the wealthier nations? Is this the fault of consumerism? Is it somehow inherently unfair?
A conservative would tell you that it is not. A liberal would tell you that it is. That it's the responsibility of the wealthier nations to lift up those nations that are poorer. A liberal would say that it's a social responsibility. A conservative would say that it's an individual responsibility to raise oneself up.
When automated factories were invented, did this somehow deprive people of their resources? Or did it make it easier to mass-produce goods for a larger number of people, raising the standard for everyone? As more efficient ways of converting energy from one form to another were found, did this deprive people of their heritage? Or did it again make it easier for the world in general?
When petroleum was discovered, it was largely useless. The development of the internal combustion engine changed that, turning it into a valuable resource. When people recognized the value of that resource, did they simply steal it? Or was there a mutually agreed upon exchange? Where did the wealth of the Arabs come from, and is it our responsibility to see to it that they run their country the way we run ours?
When it was discovered that poor sanitation resulted in the spread of deadly diseases, did the creation of sanitation systems somehow deprive those nations that didn't invest in them of their rights?
Look at today's information economy. Is it somehow wrong that we enjoy instant communications while parts of the world still have to travel on foot long distances to communicate? Is it somehow wrong that we enjoy the use of computers when other nations are unable to educate their people? For that matter, let's remember multi-culturalism. If, all cultures are equal, then who are we to impose our standard of living on others?
All of these benefits of modern civilization that we enjoy, mass produced clothing and electronics, mass produced food, cheap transportation, and instant communication, all of them are driven by the desire to have an easier life and by the consumption of resources that, until the need was perceived were considered worthless, or of little value. And all of them are supplied thanks to the (relatively) cheap production of energy.
Cheap energy, and consumerism has raised the world's standard of living. But, I submit to you, that they are not solely responsible for doing so. Someone had to perceive a need and someone had to come up with a way to meet that need. Someone had to recognize the value of a resource that until a use for it could be found was considered a nuisance. Our world's standard of living is not just the result of cheap energy and the exploitation of natural resources. It is also, and primarily, the result of innovation, ingenuity, and entrepreneurialism.
Innovation, ingenuity, and entrepreneurialism. These are all things that form the backbone of economic conservatism. Conservatives believe that wealth is created, not through theft, but through these three principles, and hard work. Conservatives believe that theft merely reduces the wealth of the world.
Nevertheless, when someone innovates and uses their ingenuity to create something new, resources are consumed. When they apply their entrepreneurialism to their ideas, they gain from it, while others don't gain as much. That everyone gains to some degree or another isn't so important to liberals though. The fact that someone gains more than someone else isn't fair. The gap between the richer and poorer grows, and that's just wrong.
So, when conservatives advocate for fewer restrictions on businesses, they are seeking to increase the gap between the rich and the poor, they are evil. When a liberal sees that gap, the natural instinct is to try to change it, and the only way to change it is to punish the creation of wealth. We must tax the rich and give to the poor. After all, wealth isn't created by innovation and entrepreneurialism, it's created on the backs of the poor, at least that's the argument, or one of them.
That there is a tremendous gap between the wealthiest among us and the poorest cannot be denied. The perceptions of the causes of this gap, and the solutions to it are where a lot of the differences between liberals and conservatives can be found.
Liberals see it as a failing of capitalism. They see it as the exploitation of the poor. They see it as the greed of the wealthy. For them, then, the solution is to forcibly redistribute the worlds wealth, tearing down the wealthy to raise up the poor. For liberals, the answer to economic disparity is socialism. Capitalism is, after all, the source of the problem.
One way to promote the redistribution of wealth is through taxes on incomes. Another is to appeal to people's concern for the environment. The fact that the U.S. economy is driven to a large degree by the consumption of energy provides a fabulous opportunity to "level the playing field".
The vast majority of our energy needs are met through the consumption of fossil fuels. What an opportunity there is in finding a way to tax that consumption. We already pay a large amount of money for the oil and gasoline we use to drive our economy. This is where the wealth of the Arabs comes from. This is what emboldens people like Hugo Chavez to see "the devil" in our President.
But, even though we use petroleum to fuel our cars, ships, and airplanes, we still derive most of our energy from fossil fuels found within our own borders. Coal is in abundant supply in the United States, and the world can't tax that… or can it?
One thing that all fossil fuel consumption has in common is the "return" of carbon to our ecosystem in the form of carbon dioxide. Coal and petroleum aren't part of the biomass of our planet after all, so when they are burnt, the carbon dioxide that's added to our atmosphere didn't come from nature. And the Lord knows, we've been pumping huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial revolution… or have we?
Back in the 1980s, the media was in full panic mode. We were about to see a new ice age due to "global cooling". Soon though, that problem gave way to concerns about "global warming". I think there were a couple of reasons for this… first of all, it was the media hyping the global cooling phenomenon, not "scientists", secondly, it's really hard to come up with a plausible "human induced" effect that would result in global cooling, and the consumption of fossil fuels producing carbon dioxide leading to global warming is more plausible.
Why there needed to be a "climate change" crisis in the first place almost seems to be mystifying. Environmental alarmism isn't anything new though, and popular notions of science aren't really science. People like Carl Sagan didn't help with their speculation disguised as science. When he cited Venus' largely carbon-dioxide atmosphere and the incredible temperatures there as "a world gone somehow wrong", the "evils" of fossil fuel consumption became somehow obvious. He offered no hard data to back his speculation, but it sure became popular.
Never mind that Venus atmosphere is considerably denser than the Earth's. Never mind that Venus is several million miles closer to the sun than the Earth. Never mind that Mars' atmosphere is also largely carbon dioxide, and yet that planet is considerably cooler than the Earth. Now there was something that people were doing that could harm the "fragile" planet we live on.
Couple that with very real pollution problems that existed at the time and emerging "environmental awareness" and environmental alarmism just seems natural, especially with a mass media that thrives on sensationalism. Whether the science supports the global warming scenario or not, the sensationalism that follows it can't be denied.
The thing is, sensational problems encourage sensational solutions. Capture the public imagination and put a bit of fear into them, and the opportunity for a slice of the public's research funding presents itself. And funding plays a large part in what science gets done. If there's a problem to solve, you can get funding, especially if you can support the notion that the problem really needs solving.
I'm not saying that scientists are intellectually dishonest, nor am I saying that climate change isn't a legitimate issue. There are a lot of scientists that firmly believe that we are experiencing climate change, and quite a few of them think that people are responsible. I don't see much other than computer models supporting their views though, and computer models, while they may provide insight into systems, aren't science. They only model what you program them to.
Sure, there's lots of evidence that local climates have changed, but globally? We haven't even really been measuring global climate in a systematic way for long enough to discount natural variation. So sensationalism and speculation pave the way for the urgent "we must act now, before it's too late" attitude that discounts the notion that we don't even know what's happening. After all, the alarmists cry, if we wait until we actually know what's going on it will be too late to fix it.
Couple this all with the notion that the United States has one of the world's largest economies, and that it's based upon energy consumption, and politicians have a ready-made way to "level" the playing field. Simply tax carbon emissions. Introduce draconian measures designed to reduce carbon emissions to pre-1990 levels, and you force energy dependent economies to either scale back, or find alternative energy supplies.
Meanwhile, you can redistribute some of the wealth produced by those economies to the "deprived" economies. Of course, there's going to be overhead. Someone has to manage this wealth redistribution, and they're going to take a cut. The goal though is to redistribute the wealth from those nations that are profiting from their energy consumption to those nations that aren't. After all, it's not fair that wealthy nations are wealthy. They didn't earn that position.
Local politicians see the opportunities in environmental "cap-and-trade" policies too. Why in Belgium, carbon emissions are an excuse to tax the back-yard barbeque. In California and Washington, carbon emissions are an excuse to force everyone to use "energy efficient" compact fluorescent light bulbs. Surely, it's the "environmental" thing to do to conserve energy in the name of reducing carbon emissions.
Making those compact fluorescent light bulbs requires a drop of mercury. Otherwise they don't work. So you can't dispose of them in landfills. Of course, we should be recycling anyway. But what happens when a light bulb is "accidentally" broken? That mercury is released back into the environment then isn't it? It seems our solutions come with unintended environmental consequences anyway.
We worry about mercury in our food, in our fish, lakes and streams. We worry about mercury vapor because it's toxic and causes brain damage. Where did it come from in the first place? I haven't yet heard of anyone who has successfully created the philosopher's stone.
Mercury is an element. There is no more mercury on Earth today than there was 4 billion years ago, and despite our efforts to eliminate pollution, there's also no less mercury on Earth today than there was 4 billion years ago. We didn't transmute it from lead or other base metals, it was created in stars and stellar explosions. What's present on Earth has been here from the beginning. We've just found ways to collect and purify it, and so a naturally occuring element becomes a hazardous man-made pollutant.
Much is made of the "hydrogen" economy, or ethanol, biofuels and other fuels as an alternative for coal and petroleum. But we're really only shifting the point where pollution happens away from the consumer. Out of sight, out of mind, you know. Even in a hydrogen economy, we're going to have carbon emissions. They just won't come from your tailpipe, they'll come from the power plant.
Why? Because of thermodynamics. You simply don't get something for nothing, and it costs energy to get hydrogen. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, but it's also the lightest one. Free hydrogen has a tendency to escape from our atmosphere by rising up through the denser parts of it until it escapes our gravity. Either that, or it's quickly bound up in chemical combination with other elements, notably water. In fact, water is the combustion byproduct of hydrogen.
Hydrogen can be extracted from petroleum using catalysts, or it can be extracted from water through the process of electrolysis. In either case, it's going to take energy to extract it. The energy could come from solar power, nuclear power, hydro-electric power, or good old fashioned coal burning power plants.
We're typically converting the energy from the combustion of fossil fuels into electricity. Then we have to convert the energy again, and sometimes yet again, before it can be used. And each step consumes a bit of the energy, which is wasted as heat.
If the energy comes from burning coal, then where's the gain? We're still producing carbon dioxide by burning the coal. All we've done in that process is shifted the point where carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere from the consumer's location to the power plant's location. And it's going to cost more to do it, because of those efficiency losses along the way. And, because of those efficiency losses, we're going to have to produce more carbon dioxide than we would have if it was produced at the point of consumption.
Biofuels are no better. Their production still releases carbon dioxide. In fact, breathing does too. So really, the only way to effectively reduce our carbon emissions ends up either finding alternative energy sources, a costly proposition, or reducing our energy consumption. And, reducing our energy consumption will negatively impact our economies.
Of course, if we really are "destroying our world" through global warming, our economies aren't going to be that important when we're all dead. But, if that's truly the motivation behind the global warming protocols, why is it that larger economies, such as China's are exempted?
I actually believe that this is the point of the global warming hysteria. Somehow the notion that our energy consumption and our resource consumption is unsustainable has gotten into the public mindset. We've got to cut back or we'll kill ourselves. We ignore the evidence of the past, that tells us that when a barrier to progress (such as too many people for the resources available) is reached we find a technological solution to that problem.
But the real goal is a redistribution of global wealth. Rich nations must pay those carbon taxes to support the redistribution of their wealth to poorer nations. So, the larger economies have to be forced to toe the global line "for the good of the planet".
There are other environmental issues that separate liberals and conservatives. Just as I believe that global warming is a convenient excuse for global wealth redistribution, I believe that many of the other environmental issues have non-environmental reasons keeping them in the forefront of the public debate.
A lot of "environmental" causes are simply masks for hidden agendas. There may be a real, underlying concern, but altogether too often, people that want to stop our way of life at any cost co–opt environmental causes to promote their own ends.
As an example, consider the salmon. Salmon are quite tasty, highly nutritious fish. There are also some who will tell you that they're endangered. If they're truly endangered, you would think that we'd stop consuming them, but we don't. Instead, salmon are classified into subspecies by stream, and a particular stream's population may be endangered, while another one isn't.
Never mind that salmon might just well be able to breed in different streams from the ones where they had their birth. We're all told that salmon somehow miraculously survive the trip to the open ocean, live there and mature, and then, years later, return to the very stream where they were hatched. It's a lovely anecdote, but is it true? How do we know?
Has someone actually trapped the fledgling salmon in the streams and tagged them in sufficient numbers to guarantee that the same salmon return to the same streams every time? Or is it just a romantic tale? Has someone verified that if a salmon can't find its way to the very same stream where it was hatched that it can't possibly breed? Maybe, just maybe, somebody has actually done this research, but I've personally never heard of it.
Never mind that hatchery salmon more than make up for the numbers of wild salmon that are lost when some habitats disappear. Our courts have told us that hatchery salmon can't be counted when counting salmon for ESA purposes. Somehow, hatchery salmon are "inferior" to wild salmon.
Oh, by the way, can you tell me where in the U.S. Constitution the federal government is given the authority to enact legislation like the Endangered Species Act? I won't deny that the act has done some good and helped to restore some species from the brink of extinction, but, in my opinion, the authority for it stands on shaky ground.
While it's true that hatchery salmon don't have to survive the same selection pressures as wild salmon when they've first fledged, to return to our rivers and streams they have to survive those selection pressures in the wild. I think that it's at the point when they return to reproduce that we know if they're truly fit don't you?
And yet, because of the threatened or endangered nature of certain "subspecies" of salmon, we're encouraged to breach our dams. We're asked to sacrifice cheap, plentiful carbon emissions free hydroelectric power to rescue a few fish, leaving us to depend upon the evils of fossil fuels.
The damming of some rivers has provided cheap power to millions of people. It has brought life to near deserts, providing water for farming, producing food for millions of people, and reducing the danger from periodic flooding in other areas. Yet for a few fish, that quite possibly are doing well enough in other areas we are asked to sacrifice all of that. And we don't really know that it's benefiting the fish at all, or that they're truly being harmed in the first place. Sure, some fish are prevented from reaching some streams, but do we really know that that prevents them from being able to breed at all?
No, the real problem that has to be solved is humanity's taming of nature for his own selfish ends. Some environmentalists have even gone to the extreme of saying that the world would truly be better off without humanity at all. I have to ask though… better for who? And in what way?
Humankind is a part of nature. We evolved on this planet, in a natural environment. But apparently we're evil. Apparently technology and intelligence are an evil that must be expunged from the Earth.
We're told myths and tall tales of the "noble savage" who lived in harmony with nature. The Western Europeans came to this land and raped it. It's simply not true. The so-called "noble" savage living in harmony with nature is a myth. The fossil record shows that mankind has apparently hunted to extinction many of the larger species that lived on the American continents, long before the "white man" came.
Extinction and change are a part of the fossil record since long before the advent of humanity. The vast majority of species that have ever existed are extinct. It's a pretty good bet that humanity isn't responsible for that. It wasn't global warming that killed the dinosaurs.
Sure, humanity's technology has altered the playing field a bit for other species. That doesn't mean that we have to abandon our technology and sacrifice our own lives for the sake of nature. We also can, and have used that technology to preserve some species from extinction.
Nevertheless, there are some environmentalists that seek their ends through violent means. Putting metal spikes into trees may not kill the trees, but it can certainly kill the logger whose chain saw breaks and tears into his flesh when it encounters one. Burning people's cars because they consume fossil fuels is still an act of terrorism, as is the murder of researchers in laboratories where animals are used in medical research.
What ideology was it that we described earlier that is promoted by terrorist acts?
Conservatives live in our environment too, just as liberals and environmental activists do. We're concerned about the extinction of species. We're concerned about the quality of the air that we breath and the food that we eat. We'd be happy to see energy sources that provide the world with more energy with less pollution.
We're interested in the health and welfare of nations and individuals, just as liberals are. We care about the poor and the downtrodden just as much as liberals do.
We believe in freedom of speech. We would love to see an end to tyranny and oppression. We honestly believe that economic prosperity is important, not just to the rich, but to every man, woman and child.
And yet, we're reviled as cold and heartless. We're told we're the shills of the energy companies. We're told that we're beholden to special interests that exploit the labors of the poor simply for profit, and we're hated for it.
Conservatives are called vile names, compared with the Nazis and Fascists of the past. And yet, when you look at it closely, which ideology more closely uses the tactics of those despised ideologues of the past? It isn't conservatives.
I believe that if you teach someone how to achieve things in life, that they will by their very nature make the effort and achieve. I believe that if you reward hard work and industry that you'll see more of it.
I also believe that if you punish success, you will see less of it. If you punish entrepreneurialism, you will see less of it.
If you reward sloth and indolence you will see more of it. If you pay a man not to work, he won't work. If you pay a woman to make babies that she cannot otherwise support, she'll make more babies that she cannot otherwise support.
I believe that if you show a man who is working to make a living how to do it more efficiently, he'll do it more efficiently. I believe that if you show a man how to conserve his resources and give him the freedom to use them, that he'll find a way to extend them.
I don't believe that you can force him to do these things though. Take away his freedom to innovate and take away his motivation to solve problems and eventually he will be unable to solve them. In the long run, that'll cost more than letting him use his freedom and desire to profit from his actions.
Liberals would use the heavy hand of government to force men to fit their mold. They would bring equality to the world not by raising all men to a higher standard, but by bringing down the successful to the level of the unsuccessful. Rather than promoting prosperity, I believe this promotes its opposite.
I don't buy into the liberal notion that individual guilt must be assuaged by socialist thinking. I think that individual guilt is better assuaged by individual responsibility and industry as well as by personal moral choices. I think that most conservatives think that way.
I think that that's why they hate us.
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Hurricane! trackbacked with "Why Do They Hate Us?"
A look at climate change and politics....
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