08 September 2006

The ‘conservative’ stereotype and climate change: a slightly meandering rant

Reuters (now there’s a reliable source) has this report about how climate changes resulted in the creation of civilizations. According to Nick Brooks, “[W]hat we tend to think of today as civilization was an accidental by-product of unplanned adaptation to catastrophic climate change. Civilization was a last resort.”

Reading the article got me to thinking about the stereotyping of conservatives as people who are opposed to change. It is ironic, I think, that at present Liberals, who (in addition to styling themselves ‘Progressives’) employ that stereotype with relish, are the very ones working so hard to convince us to take measures against global warming. Clearly (tautologically, even) this amounts to working to prevent climate change.

This points up the absurdity of dismissing ‘conservatives’ as opposed to change or seeking only to maintain the status quo. Everyone is ‘conservative’ about something. Everyone wants something to remain the same, something to remain unchanged, constant, reliable. What was all the complaining about last year after Katrina ruined New Orleans, if not that a drastic change had taken place in the status of her victims? Liberals were busy blaming the President for the whole mess. They certainly did not sing his praises for permitting change to occur. A President may not be able to alter the weather, but he darn sure better make sure that no changes result from nature taking her course.

When unemployment claims were rising in the near past liberals complained, blamed the Administration. When someone loses a job that certainly counts as a change in his economic status. And that is just the sort of change that liberals cannot abide. Neither can liberals abide the rich getting richer, another change. No, something needs to be done about those sorts of changes. Those sorts of changes are unacceptable, even to a liberal. More than likely, the liberal will count those sorts of changes as regressive not progressive, but that’s persuasive definition. So, what is the complaining about changes in peoples’ economic status all about, if not a complaint about a change in the status quo?

What if global warming is taking place in any sense that truly is significant? I’m skeptical, but let’s just say that it is happening. Obviously, that will change a great many things, won’t it? Change? What are liberals worrying about? Why are they wanting us to work so hard to prevent...change?

Here’s a thought experiment. What if global warming really is taking place? What if we succeed in halting it? And what if, by halting it, we prevent the creation of a civilization better than any other yet produced on this planet?

We have no way of knowing, of course. It is just as likely, perhaps, that a drastic climate change will simply destroy the present civilization, leaving a planet of barbarians in its wake.

It is amusing to observe that much which liberals want is designed to maintain certain aspects of the status quo which they like (e.g., Social Security, Affirmative Action, the power of unions) and to change those aspects of the status quo which they don’t like.

The issue isn’t whether one is opposed to change. Everyone is conservative about something.
The issue is what things need to be changed, what things don’t, and for both, why or why not.

And I do wish liberals would drop the ‘Progressive’ business. It is as irksome as the President’s ‘compassionate conservatism.’ A ‘compassion’ which is expressed with other peoples’ money should be viewed with suspicion. Perhaps, as liberals like to claim, conservatives are not compassionate. But here’s a dirty little secret: neither are liberals. Compassion which costs the ‘giver’ nothing is not compassion.

Change is one of those things in life that are only good or bad, profitable or costly, not in themselves but depending upon how we respond.

Okay. Rant over.


About Me

James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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