|In Old Europe The Real Problem is Fear||Gaseous Politics and Shame|
by Christopher Chantrill
April 23, 2006 at 9:38 am
SOME OBSERVERS think that President Bushs dismal job approval rating is not about the mess in Iraq. It is not about the shocking corruption of the Republican Congress. It is not even about President Bushs failure to prevent Hurricane Katrina. It reflects Americans rage at $3.00 per gallon gasoline.
How can you pursue happiness in that mammoth Ford Expedition with heated leather seats if your gas bill starts competing with your mortgage payment?
Democrats have suddenly discovered that they are shocked by high gas prices. The New York Times reports that Democrats running for Congress are moving quickly to use the most recent surge in oil and gasoline prices to bash Republicans over energy policy.
Oh really. This is the party that stopped the nation building nuclear plants. This is the party that toyed with carbon taxes. This is the party of Al Gore, now right in the middle of publicizing An Inconvenient Truth, by far the most terrifying movie you will ever see. This is the party that wont let oil companies prospect for oil off the left and right coasts. This is the party whose activists prevented the US from building new petroleum refineries. This is the party that filibusters against drilling for oil in an arctic wilderness that just happens to be right next to a major oil pipeline with spare capacity.
And now Democrats are bashing Republicans over energy policy? Yes, and Republicans better get out in front of them before $3.00 gasoline and An Inconvenient Truth brew up a perfect storm and blow the nation into an eco-Marshall Plan to increase energy taxes and throw subsidies at a daunting array of environmentalist pet projects from wind farms to biodiesel.
Read Al Gores article in Vanity Fair to understand just how terrified you should be. After reciting the usual catalog of climate changes, he warns of the 10,000 foot mound of ice on top of Greenland that would, if it melted or broken up, raise the sea level worldwide by more than 20 feet.
In the face of all this, why is it that our leaders seem not to hear such clarion warnings? Maybe, Al, its because they dont just listen to eco-alarmists like you but also contrarian ideas like the theory of the University of Virginias Bill Ruddiman that global warming from agriculture has already staved off the next ice age.
Al Gore reminds us that The Chinese expression for crisis consists of two characters: ??. The first is a symbol for danger; the second is a symbol for opportunity.
He is a politician and he would know. It is when they feel danger that the people rise up and demand that the politicians do something. For a brief window of opportunity the special interest blocking forces are weakened as the people demand that the politicians lead them to safety.
All the stars are in alignment. Americans are angry as they shovel out $80 to fill up their SUVs. The Democrats are hypocritically on the attack, threatening to get to the right of the president; the mainstream media is baying for blood, shoveling anecdotal stories of helpless consumers ruined by high gas prices.
Usually economic crises are bad news because they provide an excuse for the politicians to do something stupid like impose price controls or prop up failing corporations. But not this one. Not if the president and the congressional leadership can rouse themselves from their torpor. Not if they can bestir themselves to do something more than stand foursquare against price gouging.
Now is the time to demand that Congress passes a decent energy bill. Now is the chance to demand that we build some more oil refineries. Now is the chance to drill for oil in ANWR. Now is the chance to search for oil on the continental shelf off the west and east coasts. Now is the chance to rationalize the crazy quilt of gasolines blended for each individual city.
Of course the Democrats are demagoguing on energy. They demagogue on everything. Some day, in a quieter, more reflective time, there will be an opportunity to conduct a scholarly study to determine whether the Democrats of the twenty-first century actually believe in anything other than temporary partisan advantage. But this is not that time.
Now is the time to call the Democrats bluff on energynot to mention border security, Iraq, and taxes. Is anyone paying attention? At the White House? Mr. President? Karl Rove? On Capitol Hill? Denny Hastert?
Nothing personal, you understand. Its just that when we read in Time that the White Houses five point plan to save the Bush presidency doesnt include a bullet point for high gas prices, we begin to wonder if anyone is home.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008
Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists
conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family.
Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
[T]he way to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,
Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop
discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District
A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is merely relative, is asking you not to believe him. So dont.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy
Paul Dirac: When I was talking with Lemaître about [the expanding universe] and feeling stimulated
by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that
I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion.
However [Georges] Lemaître [Catholic priest, physicist, and
inventor of the Big Bang Theory] did not agree with me. After thinking it over he
suggested psychology as lying closest to religion.
John Farrell, The Creation Myth
Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization