Have you ever noticed the tendency of some folks to foam at the mouth a bit when they get incensed about certain issues (like… say…. Bush or Iraq…)? Even if you haven’t actually been close enough to get hit with the spittle, I’m sure you’ve felt as if the newspaper editorial you’ve read in some cases was just slightly damp from it, right?
It’s become the standard, in fact, that the conservative right has carried into debate in recent years. “More liberal hysteria”, they say, and thus dismiss any/all ideas from the left. Unfortunately, they’re not totally without justification, which is why I find the increasing purple prose surrounding Global Warming particularly interesting. (Some recent news from Newsweek, here and Time, here.)
Because the latest hysteria is coming in from the right, where people like George Reisman of www.capitalism.net, apparently think that reacting to Global Warming and related environmental concerns will blast modern society back into the Stone Age.
Industrial Civilization is not a disembodied concept. It is the foundation of the material well-being and of the very lives of the great majority of the 6 billion or more people now living. It’s destruction would mean the collapse of the production of food and medicine and literally result in worldwide famines and plagues. This is a result that would be of great satisfaction to those environmentalists who believe that the pre-Industrial World’s population limit of about a billion people was somehow more desirable than the subsequent growth in population to its present size. But it would not be of any comfort or joy to those who had to suffer and die in the process and who saw their loved ones suffer and die. Nor would it be of any comfort or joy to the survivors, who would have to live lives of abject poverty and misery.
My goodness! That’s grim enough to make even a hardened UDub student have nightmares!
And then there’s Dimitri Vassilaros, who feels really upset, apparently, that some are audaciously attempting to move the concern about the planet out of the partisan-politics sphere, and into the realms of personal accountability:
Like using energy-efficient light bulbs, not using plug-in air fresheners and driving tiny little econo-coffins that promise great gas mileage but do not even imply the driver could survive a head-on collision with a squirrel.
Econo-coffins. Wow. I like that image, actually (in the literary sense). But what’s really going on here? They can’t possibly expect to be taken seriously, right? Those articles weren’t damp, folks; they were dripping!
The problem for the conservatives is that the Ad Council has agreed to put the entire issue directly where it belongs: in the laps of those of us who own it. (Gods forfend!) And they’re doing this because they have to. The entire “debate” has been artificially elevated into the political realm.
The vast majority of scientists has determined global warming to be a real threat. So why has it taken so long to convince Americans? […]
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ross Gelbspan blames a 15-year misinformation campaign by the oil and coal industries.
Are polar bears drowning because I, Polimom, am using the wrong kind of lightbulb? Er… no…. probably not. Are they drowning because I and 20 million of my closest friends are not bio-conscious? The answer there, of course, is unfortunately “Yes”. And that brings the entire issue into the realm of personal responsibility.
It really doesn’t matter whether your econo-coffin crumples in a squirrel-collision. What’s important is whether yours is the only econo-coffin on the road. And nobody really believes moving to other energy sources (like nuclear) is going to take us back to sticks and stones. While that was a fine piece of writing, it’s also blatant, hysterical fear-mongering.
It’s past time to move this issue out of the artificially maintained partisan-sphere and down to the level it belongs: with the people. We’ve done this.
Stop raving and get in front of the problem.