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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

On conservation

What's the conservative position on environmental protection? I don't think there is one, really. Environmentalism is the Creationism of the Left. It's more a religion than science. Ever since Man emerged from his cave and began building cities, practical innovations like sewers and parks and hunting restrictions used to be considered "environmentalism." We didn't need Earth Day awareness campaigns, we had civil engineering and Uncle Teddy's National Park system.

But all that changed the moment we stopped thinking of humans as being at the top of the food-chain. We stopped being self-interested stewards of the land, and instead became Gaia's servants. We came to think of ourselves as no better than the common mouse. Both mammals, equally important. (Well, not really equal. Carbon Neutral High Priest Al Goracle still gets to jet around the globe preaching the gospel, it's just the rest of us schmucks who need to learn our place in the fragile eco-system. I guess some mammals are more equal than others.)

But the question remains, "What's the conservative position on environmental protection"? Jonathan Adler struggles with that very question:

Articulating a truly conservative environmental agenda is much easier said than done, however, particularly for those holding elective office. Most conservatives who engage environmental issues are either knee-jerk reactionaries or half-hearted mimics of the environmental Left. Either is a mistake...

A list of specific policy proposals a conservative could endorse in good conscience would include the following: End government policies that subsidize inefficient energy and resource use; End government programs that encourage excess energy use and subsidize vulnerable development; Encourage innovation by removing barriers to technological development and deployment; Replace market-distorting subsidies with prizes for specific types of major innovations; Create international institutions that can facilitate technology proliferation to encourage less carbon-intensive economic development in poorer nations.

While I agree with all of Adler's proposals, it still sounds suspiciously like practical civil engineering. You know, that thing we've had going since cities were invented? But maybe I'm one of those knee-jerk reactionaries. In any case, the hard task at hand is, how do we convince our fellow humans that the Gore-volution isn't necessary? That self-interest is environmentalism?

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