I was recently talking with a smart young woman when the conversation started to veer towards environmental public policy issues. It was intimated that I should tread carefully, because this person cared about
the environment. Notice anything weird about that? Just as most of the liberal “anti-war” folks I’ve run across have a hard time contemplating how those who support efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan also abhor war (we just remember poster-boy “anti-war” hero Neville Chamberlain a little too well)—conservatives have also allowed their intentions to be defined by the left as it pertains to environmental policy. And, while I’m more interested in results instead of intentions, it’s tough to reach people when their knee-jerk reaction is to assume you don’t care about their feelings…
Because guys like Mahmoud “there aren’t any gay people in Iran (probably because we kill them), and speaking of which can we get back to my desire to wipe Israel off the face of the earth” Ahmadinejad exist, and the danger they pose to world peace so stark to the majority of Americans, self-congratulation as a form of social policy is often a hard sell on national defense. Environmental policy is not.
During a conversation I had a few weeks ago with a guy who knows a thing or two about environmental issues, I mentioned how conservatives slept in class as Professor Pop Culture was inculcating generations of kids with Al Gorwellian talking points. Ever watch Captain Planet, where big-bad businessmen were always plotting and planning ways to harm Mother Earth? Do you remember The Simpsons episode Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish? Then you know what I’m talking about.
The last time I checked (although not in the way President Obama did after he signed the Health Care bill) I liked breathing clean air and drinking clean water and not dying of rectal cancer caused by Sean Penn’s weird death wish or an Airborne Toxic Event: Sometime Around Midnight. I mean, I really, really like breathing clean air and drinking clean water. And I want a world where my kids and grandkids can experience that as well. I just don’t think handing over large chunks of the US economy to liberals like Hank Guam might tip over and sink into the ocean Johnson and his Planeteers is a good idea. I think the creativity of the American people, entrepreneurs, global markets, and a freeing-up of unnecessary artificial constraints on our energy infrastructure is a better bet.
Am I wrong? I don’t think so, but I also don’t think I care about the environment any less than someone who looks at rocks and cries. I’m just not insane.