Monday, March 19, 2012

Ruth Ann Dailey's weekly ...

Spork in the drawer noticed Ruth Ann's latest column and posted at (unusual for Spork) length about it. I won't add anything to what he said except to say that anyone who thinks that this year's Republican primary race is some kind of epic clash of competing ideologies needs to see a shrink and ask them about cognitive dissonance. I mean, I will admit I am delighted Ron Paul is such a libertarian, because the monied interests get to see what a libertarian is. I admit I have not paid enough attention to know what Paul has said about carving up the government, but you can bet abolishing the FED and going back on the gold standard (how much gold does the government own right now?) would put the economy in some sort of weird tailspin. Personally, I am thinking food and gas riots.

Anyway, any resemblance between Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and actual political theory is purely coincidental, not the result of any thinking the two men might have done. Wait a week, and Mitt's position will have changed. Maybe he will admit he is a bishop of the Mormon church. Maybe he will promise us all that Mormons will baptize us after our deaths into the Mormon church.

That aside, I wanted to notice one small comment by Ruth Ann that really gets to the heart of Republican/conservative/Tea Party blinders. No conversation is possible between Republicans and Democrats until common ground on essentially the shape of the world can found. I mean, I think there are places where we can talk. Tax brackets and credits to low end people are actually choices, based in part on economics, and things for which there are economic studies and numbers available.

But there are other issues where there are, yes, policy components, but also issues of analysis which should be the responsibility and purview of science. I am talking, of course, of this Ruth Ann Dailey line: "And who can ignore the religious subtext of aggressive environmentalism? The sun is god, the heat of its wrath envelops the globe and it must be appeased by recycling, simpler living and the purchase of conscience-clearing carbon offsets."

'Kay, which party wants to replace evolution with creationism in schools (am I supposed to believe Republicans would be satisfied with just teaching them side by side)? And of course, we should notice Ruth Ann Dailey is lumping the largely mythical tree-hugger in with anyone who expresses an interest in climate change. Largely mythical, but I will admit there are, in fact, domestic terrorists who do things like bombing facilities that, what, test cosmetics on animals, or chain themselves to trees that are going to be logged.

But I should point out that the overwhelming majority of people who think climate change is real are just ordinary, decent people. If they are rather quick to accept the word of scientists, well, you know, biologists tell us which snakes are poisonous, engineers improve cars and SUV'x and make them more safe and powerful, and biochemists find ways to make McDonalds more tasty (although apparently they weren't told to do anything about healthy). I guess when science starts suggest people should find ways to use less oil, coal and yes, natural gas (which is a scarce resource and which would save people money), then all of a sudden it is a religion. And not a Christian one, some kind of pagan (at best) religion at best.

You know, do we need the Pope and Jerry Falwell to step up and say the we should respect certain levels of scientific consensus? I mean, forget the IPCC; pretty much all the national academies of science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Meteorological Association all agree on Climate Change. Surely that should mean something. Can Democrats and Republicans agree on Climate Change? Actually Googling it brings mixed results. the most positive suggest half of Republicans believe it has already started. I suspect a number of that half would disagree about how to ameliorate the problem (I am assuming they would agree it should be ameliorated).

I've gone on too long, I will only ask, someone tell me what is wrong with living a sustainable lifestyle? Assuming you don't have to give up vacations, entertainment, good tasting food (along with perhaps better health), etc. And when did we start believing priests and ministers should explain reality to us, not scientists?

1 comment:

D. Blake Alverson said...

In answer to your question: since the dawn of humanity. Study any ancient cite in archeology & you'll see religion. Priests & shamans were central in defining the world around us for the vast majority of human history.