|New Hope for Global Warming Deniers||Energy and Freedom|
by Christopher Chantrill
July 17, 2008 at 10:29 am
IN POLITICS the game always goes to the politician who can stick the blame on the other guy. Sometimes, like New York Senator Charles Schumer, you can even nudge a bank into receivership. Loose lips sink ships, Senator!
When things go wrong for the Ins the Outs make hay deploring the mistakes of the Ins. Then the Outs get in and the game starts all over again.
Right now we are in the middle of a perfect storm of mistakes. Theres the mortgage meltdown, the food crisis, the gasoline price spike, the IndyMac bank failure, Obamas flip-flops, and the granddaddy of them all, the prospect of a $5 trillion meltdown at mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Oh, and theres Bushs war in Iraq. Whos to blame for all this?
The answer is that it all happened on Bushs watch, so its his fault and the fault of the Republicans in Congress.
But wait! Its not Republicans who have been delaying on reform of the mortgage giants; its not Republicans who have been sluicing ethanol subsidies at American farmers; its not Republicans who have resisted development of oil and nuclear power for thirty years. Its the other guys!
Maybe Republicans are only to blame for the bubble of easy money in 2002-03 and the miseries of Bushs war. But those are the rules. When things go wrong on your watch, you are to blame.
Theres another thing. Republicans are also to blame for global warming even though its been getting cooler ever since President Bush was first inaugurated in 2001 at the height of Solar Cycle 23. The respected Dr. James Hansen of NASA has properly called for an auto-da-fe of oil company executives.
Theres a lesson here. Unless you are a Democrat backed up by willing accomplices in the mainstream media, youd better forget about winning at the blame game. Aside from the tactical advantage of the media echo-chamber, Democrats actually believe, despite all the evidence, that bold persistent political experimentation, of the kind that kept the United States in a Great Depression for ten agonizing years, really works.
Even when their experimentation goes wrong they can always find a scapegoat and perform a ritual sacrifice, because, as everyone knows, the blood of a virgin really helps to fructify the crops in a in the planting season.
Its odd that those who pridefully insist that God has no place in the public square are so eager for sacrifice. But at least they demonstrate an admirable consistency in their world-view. If you believe that most people are helpless victims, then it makes complete sense to haul in a bunch of oil-company executives at the first sign of trouble in the oil market and blame them for everything. Then you sit back in your inquisitorial chair behind your imposing committee rostrum and hum a couple of bars of the Billie Holiday classic: Comes OPEC (Nothing Can Be Done). Youd be right, of course. Its always true that it will take 8-10 years for oil exploration to make a difference, whether its 2008, or 2001, or 1997.
Republicans and conservatives have a different agenda. We dont believe in helpless victims; we believe in vigorous problem-solving. We believe that when things go wrong you look for people who will set to work and do something about it, and not spend six months holding hearings about it. When a hurricane hits, you need someone like Lee Scott of Wal-Mart to tell his employees:
"A lot of you are going to have to make decisions above your level," was Scotts message to his people. "Make the best decision that you can with the information thats available to you at the time, and above all, do the right thing."
Imagine that! Heres a corporation so evil that it is not safe to allow it to prey, like a man-eating tiger, on the helpless consumers of Chicago, Illinois. Next thing you know, Wal-Mart will be offering free Spanish lessons to store managers at stores serving areas with a large Hispanic population.
Some of you readers are probably already on the next page. You are saying: Thats all very well for Wal-Mart. They have an interest in solving problems and in delegating authority down to the lowest level. When you get things done and solve little problems before they turn into big ones, it increases profits. Politics is different. Politics is all about finding the issue that will rile up your supporters and demoralize the opposition. A politician cannot build a career on sleeping dogs and problems solved before anyone gets up in the morning.
Yet sometimes the stars are in alignment. Sometimes you can do the right thing by pushing a controversial issue, riling up your supporters and dividing the opposition.
Drill, drill, drill. Drill even if a President Obama gets all the credit two years from now. Ronald Reagan said that its amazing what you can get done if you dont mind who gets the credit.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[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.
[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
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust
[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
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
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
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
As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable...
[1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006
No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.
Lord Salisbury, Letter to Lord Lytton
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, The Scientist as Rebel