Because a public school in Queens, NY has become the first in the nation to serve only vegetarian food…
And, because a new eating disorder: orthorexia (the compulsion to eat only politically correct foods — no dairy, eggs, meat, grains, fats) — is sweeping the nation.
I have decided to re-post EAT MEAT AND SAVE THE PLANET!
On the other hand, visit a cattle ranch here in the West and you have a good chance of seeing deer, elk, pronghorn, coyote, black bear, bobcat, rattlesnakes, gila monsters, road runners, Gambles quail…. the list is too long to print here. Get lucky and you might see a mountain lion. I know a rancher who has seen a couple of jaguars on ranchland here in Arizona.
As for wildflowers, as I write this, I’m looking at a ranch out the window of my camper, and I can see giant saguaros, cholla cactus, palo verde and creosote bush. The Arizona poppies, brittlebush, and desert marigolds were spectacular this spring, and the native grasses are providing plenty of forage for wild and domesticated animals alike.
An activist vegetarian responding to what I just said would point out that growing vegetables requires a lot less land than raising meat. This enables us to protect more land and allow it to return to nature so it can be home to even more wildlife and wildflowers.
That would be an effective counter-argument if it weren’t true that raising meat on the land can benefit it ecologically even more than protecting it.
Scientists who’ve studied the matter tell us that grasslands and grazing animals evolved together and developed an interdependence similar to so many other mutually beneficial relationships in nature: bees and flowers, beavers and meadows, reef fish and coral. When cattle are managed so that they act like natural grazers, i. e., when they are kept in herds and moved across the landscape in response to conditions of moisture, season, and other natural factors, they create this same kind of interdependence.
That’s why cattle have been successfully used to restore ecological health to land that has been damaged by mining, by raising crops in ways that exhaust the land’s fertility, and even by the environmentalists’ panacea “protection.” For instance, in Arizona and Nevada, cattle have been used to return native vegetation to denuded mine sites and piles of mine waste on which other forms of reclamation had failed. How do they do it? By stomping in seeds and mulch and nourishing the mixture with their own natural fertilizer. Sheep and goats have been used to create firebreaks and remove nonnative plants at various locations from East to West, and sheep, goats, and cows have been used to revegetate land damaged by catastrophic wildfire.
I haven’t heard of a single case of soybeans or broccoli being used to achieve any of that.
As for all that cow flattulence and belching the anti-meat folks tout as a cause of global warming, properly grazed grasslands have been shown to be so effective at sequestering carbon in green and growing grass that some ranchers have been able to supplement their income by marketing carbon offsets created by their naturally-managed cattle.
That works even if you don’t believe in global warming
Acknowledging the effectiveness of these techniques the state of Florida has come up with a plan to contract with ranchers to use their livestock to improve that state’s rangelands’ ability to absorb, clean, and sequester water. One of the aims of this program is to raise the water level in the Everglades. That’s right. Florida is using cows to rewater the Everglades.
On the other hand, when grazers are removed from the land the ecological results can be disastrous.
In Central California, when cattle grazing was removed from seasonal wetlands called vernal pools, the native plants and animals that live there, some of which are endangered, were displaced by nonnative weeds in as few as three years. When grazing was resumed the rare plants and animals returned.
Also in California, the threatened bay checkerspot butterfly has disappeared from lands from which cattle grazing was eliminated — to protect the butterfly. On lands that continue to be grazed the butterfly has managed to persist.
Because of this and similar instances “cessation of grazing” has been recognized as one of the main threats to some of California’s most sensitive ecosystems by the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition. That organization includes The Nature Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife, and Audubon, among others.
And, for those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, you may remember (and want to link back to) the story of the native fish in Arizona (the spikedace) that was sustained by grazing for more than a century and exterminated in less than a decade by “cessation of grazing,” or the Drake exclosure that’s been protected for more than 60 years and is as bare as a parking lot while the grazed land right next to it is covered with native grasses.
Meat is the only human food that can be raised on land that is officially designated wilderness. Not so with vegetables.
Meat can be raised on land that can also be used for recreation such as hiking, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, orving, downhill skiing, and birdwatching. Vegetable fields are off limits to most of those. Just try riding your orv or your horse through someone’s field of bok choy.
So, the next time you chow down on a big juicy steak or leg of lamb, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for saving the planet, and remember that you are enjoying the only food that can be raised within a diverse, native, openspace ecosystem in such a way that it restores, sustains, and even enhances that ecosystem.
On second thought, maybe you ought to order two steaks. It’s going to take a lot of cows to remedy all the ecological damage perpetrated by vegetarian environmentalists.
Note: This article was first published on American Thinker: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/02/using_gun_violence_to_get_elected
The most frustrating aspect of the continuing verbal marathon about guns and gun control is that no one is talking about the real cause of our continuing problem with mass, meaningless murder.
That means no one is talking about real solutions that will have real results.
Instead, we are once again talking about disarming law-abiding citizens, or (more accurately) pushing government deeper into our lives by diluting the only document on the planet — the U. S. Constitution — that protects humans from tyranny.
Take away guns and you still have violence. But take away our Constitution and you empower tyrants, both illegal and legal, who will have plenty of guns whether they are banned or not.
So, why are we spending so much time talking about a non-solution to such a serious problem?
One reason is because the liberals who make up our current ruling class, in a very significant way, have caused these senseless tragedies, and they certainly don’t want to talk about that.
How did liberals cause recent gun massacres? I discussed that in an earlier piece — “Ban Liberalism Not Guns.” Here, however, I want to address a more important topic — Why liberals aren’t interested in real solutions to the problem of senseless, mostly random violence, whether it is perpetrated with a gun or otherwise. In fact, I want to talk about why they aren’t interested in any solutions at all.
One reason liberals aren’t interested in solving problems is because they are so totally invested in using them. Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama’s first White House Chief of Staff, made that clear when he voiced the cardinal rule of liberalism, “Never let a serious crisis go to waste.”
How do politicians “never let a crisis go to waste?” They use it to get elected.
They use problems of all sorts to get elected by blaming their political opponents for causing the problem and by selling themselves as the saviors of those of us whom they can convince are victims of said problem and of the “villains” whom they say perpetrated it.
And once elected, they use this same blame game to get their policies enacted, increase their political power, and enhance their chances of getting re-elected.
Before we follow that thread any further, I want to point out that there is another reason the liberal ruling class isn’t interested in solutions: They don’t have any.
In another post made the point that liberals were doomed to selling less (blame, hate, problems) because nothing produces solutions better than free-market capitalism applied by individuals blessed with a high degree of individual political freedom. This system, as devised and utilized in the good ol’ USA, has enabled us to achieve a greater and broader prosperity than any other society in human history.
As for what I mean by saying “liberals don’t have any real solutions… to anything,” consider how well they’ve handled the “War on Poverty” – nearly $20 trillion spent since LBJ initiated this monstrous government redistribution of wealth in the 1960s, and the administration tells us 1 in 6 are still “in poverty.” And how well is the welfare state and income redistribution working for Greece? Spain? The United Kingdom? France’s Labor Minister, Michel Sapin, recently described that country as “totally bankrupt.” The UK doesn’t look for economic recovery until after 2017.
How about race relations? The election of Obama in 2008 was supposed to usher in a “postracial era,” but today racial polarization is as bad (or worse) than it has ever been. Anyone who opposes Obama on any issue is tagged a racist, an extremist, an enemy.
The energy crisis? Can you say Solyndra and wind power? And, in spite of the fact that global warming has been revealed to be a fraud based on trumped up data, liberals keep telling us that there is scientific consensus on the matter except for a few oddballs who ought to be thrown in jail because they are Global Warming “Deniers”.
Getting back to gun violence… Want to bet that limiting our access to guns will reduce gun violence. It hasn’t worked anywhere it has been tried.
Because “using” crises is so valuable to the liberal ruling class, even if they had a solution to anything, they wouldn’t apply it. After all if your entire political strategy consists of using crises and problems to paint your adversaries as villains and enemies in order to get people to vote for you, the last thing you want to have happen is for a problem to be solved.
What’s more, because liberals have such a terrible track record at solving anything, if a problem is solved, most likely it will be solved by the opposition, i. e. those pesky free-market capitalists.
What does continuing to elect liberals to run our government get for you and me?
First of all it gets us a lot of “solutions” that don’t work.
Even worse – it gets us a society that operates on the basis of hate and divisiveness. Can you think of anything worse than that?
Evidence of this is easy to find – the movie, Django Unchained, provides an excellent example. So do all the tweets in support of Christopher Dorner, murderer of four in his recent crime spree. And then there are all those episodes of “gun violence.”
Continuing to elect politicians who have nothing to sell but blame, hate, and “issues” gives us a society in which it pays to invent crises — so you can blame them on your opponent. Remember acid rain, the ozone hole, the coming ice age, the death of the oceans, OVERPOPULATION!, and on and on. In every case we were told that the only way to avert each of these “crises” was to elect liberals/democrats because the Republicans, free-market capitalists, or America caused them… by creating More.
Which brings us to another history lesson.
In his 1968 book, The Population Bomb, biologist Paul Ehrlich told us that hundreds of millions of us would die during the 1970s no matter what we did because we had already outstripped the planet’s ability to feed us and to supply us with the raw materials necessary to sustain our lifestyle. He also predicted that, by 1985, so many billions would have died that the Earth’s population would have shrunk to 1.5 billion. And by 1999, the overconsuming U. S. would suffer such devastating environmental catastrophes that the life expectancy of its citizens would have dropped to 42 years, and its population would be a mere 22.6 million.
Instead, in 2013, the population of the world is at 7 billion and growing, the U.S. population is over 300 million, our prosperity is unprecedented (At least it was until we elected the Pelosi Democrats in 2006 and Obama in 2008.), and our life expectancy continues to rise.
To underscore how wrong Ehrlich was, many countries now are concerned about underpopulation rather than overpopulation. Why? Because their “Ehrlich scare” birth rates are too low to produce the workers needed to keep their economies running (and to support all those seniors).
What saved us from Ehrlich’s predictions of doom? The same thing that has saved us from scarcity and adversity so many times – human ingenuity and initiative applied within the framework of a free-market economy.
This reveals what may be the most ironic downside of continuing to elect politicians who have nothing to sell but blame: It gives us a society in which the problem solvers, the tragedy averters, the producers of abundance are villainized. A society in which we regularly vote against the people who can solve the very problems that supposedly plague us.
In this upside-down process the people who continually sell us less (liberals/Democrats) end up being the only ones with more – more money, more power, more everything. Barack Hussein Obama, unsurpassed peddler of “less” is now worth $11.8 million and lives like a king.
The best way to wrap this up, I believe, is to restate, in a form simple enough to remember easily, what continuing to elect politicians who have nothing to sell but blame, hate, and less gets us.
It gets us a society that operates on the basis of hate, divisiveness, and blame.
It gets us a society in which politicians rise to power by inventing crises — so they can blame them on their opponents and use that blame to get elected.
It gets us a country ruled by a government with a vested interest in solutions that don’t work. After all, if a problem is solved, politicians can’t use it to get elected anymore.
In a society of this sort the surest route to power is to cast yourself as a victim. As a victim, you become an asset to the liberal ruling class which can use you to villainize its opponents (because they made you a victim) and attract votes by casting itself as your savior.
Last, but not least, electing politicians who trump up problems and use them to get votes by heaping blame and vilification on their opponents gives us a society in which those who truly are able to solve problems, create abundance, and get us out of the mess we’re in are invariably cast as villains.
The tragic killing of 26, including 20 children and 6 teachers, at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut has liberals once again clamoring for government to severely restrict gun ownership or ban it outright.
The conservative response has been all over the map, saying that ball bats, hammers, and cars kill more people, so liberals should be calling to ban them too. On a more serious note commentators on the right are also blaming drugs, video games, and an entertainment media that has become an orgy of violence.
While those latter three charges bear significantly more merit, the fact remains that both sides are just plain missing the point.
The problem, when it comes to orgies of mass destruction, isn’t guns, it’s liberalism.
Cho Seung-Hui, who killed 32 people and wounded 17 others on April 16, 2007, at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia is reported to have left a note in his dormitory room containing a rant that denigrated “rich kids,” and claimed he did what he did “to inspire generations of the weak and defenseless people.” Those are all sentiments more recently expressed by the Occupy Wall Street movement and our liberal president, Barack Obama, who blames the rich for virtually everything that is wrong with America (or the world for that matter) and sells himself as a champion for the poor and underprivileged.
Eric Harris, who, with Dylan Klebold killed 13 and injured 21 at Columbine High School in Aurora, Colorado, hated country music, people with a limited vocabulary who mispronounced words, people who believe professional wrestling is real, and fans of Star Wars. Sounds to me like he hated the same people whom Barack Obama has referred to as “bitter clingers.”
Jerrod Loughner, shooter of U. S. Representative Gabrielle Gifford and 18 others (6 killed) in Tucson, was a “truther.” He believed George W, Bush was responsible for the destruction of the World Trade Towers in New York and the deaths of the 3,000 people who perished there. I know plenty of liberals who believe the same thing.
Adam Lanza. Who killed 26 and wounded 2 more at Sandy Hook was a vegan. He was opposed to eating meat or any product produced by or from animals, such as cheese or eggs. He was against killing animals or even inconveniencing them but he had no trouble killing human children, lots of them. Veganism is common among liberals.
Before you get the wrong impression, I want to make it clear that I’m not saying these people were (or are) liberals. Whether they were liberal or conservative is irrelevant. What I’m saying is that liberalism and its practice of using blame and villainization as a political tool drove these people to the brink and over it. Timothy McVeigh, certainly was no liberal, but it was the Branch Davidian disaster in Waco, Texas, and Ruby Ridge in Idaho, both done under the authority of Clinton Administration Attorney General Janet Reno, that he said drove him to do what he did.
This is not just a matter of politics. Liberals tell us that global warming, capitalism, corporatism, Americanism, speciesism, threaten the very existence of life on Earth. And that homophobia and Islamophobia, make what life does manage to persist prejudiced and unjust. The only way to save the planet from this litany of disasters, they tell us, is to wrench power from the practitioners of the old ways that have created all of the above. Conservatives, Republicans, the 1%, those who believe in America as the shining city of the hill, all of these practitioners of the old ways must be overcome or the world is doomed.
Sufficiently frenzied by this doomsday drumbeat global, warming zealots are calling for the jailing of climate change “deniers.” Some have called for their death.
Vegetarians sport bumper stickers that read: “Meat is murder.”
“The rich aren’t doing their fair share.” says Obama and his minions. Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, says times are as bad today as they were during the time of the “Robber Barons” when, she suggests “The labor leaders of that time, … were ready to kill.”
Daily Beast writer Buzz Bissinger says Alex Jones, a blogger who defends gun ownership, should be shot.
Some simplify all of this to charge that there are just too many people. They openly wish for pestilence or even nuclear war to kill millions, making Cho Seung-Hui, and Adam Lanza seem rather tame by comparison.
To me all of this is the same as screaming fire (as in Ready!… Aim!…) in a crowded building and continuing to scream until one of the less tightly wrapped within earshot snaps and commits an outrage like Newtown or Columbine. And when that happens, the old ways and their practitioners —conservatives, gun rights advocates, talk show hosts, believers in that shining city — always get the blame.
A better way to set blame, I believe, is to apply the old adage, “Follow the money.”
Who benefits from these tragedies? Not conservatives. Not gun owners. Not the 1%. Not people who want to mind their life and liberty and spend their time pursuing happiness.
Liberals benefit from these tragedies — they use them to grow the power of government and increase their degree of power within that government. Now, in the aftermath of Newtown, as liberals clamor for more gun control and bigger government you can hear them cranking up the volume in hopes of un-hinging some other unfortunate to create another catastrophe to which they can apply Rahm Emanuel’s dictum:
“Never let a serious crisis go to waste.”
At this point it seems to make sense to call for banning liberalism, but that would make us just like them. A better idea is to convince liberals to stop screaming “Ready, Aim, Fire” and become conservatives. Accentuate the positive! Increase freedom! Free your initiative to create a rising tide of wealth that lifts all boats. Eat whatever you want. Have or don’t have as many kids as you want. Get as rich as you want. Drill and mine for the energy you need, and if doing so creates problems, deal with those problems by using the greater wealth you’ve created by mining and drilling. If the world is getting warmer, use the power of free enterprise to adapt to it and make life better for all of us in a world that’s warmer or cooler or whatever, because the only thing more certain than the fact that the world is always changing is the fact that the best means of dealing with that change is freedom.
I was driving home from a trip to Utah the other day when I noticed two large smoke plumes. One stretched overhead from somewhere north in Utah across the Navajo Reservation and out of sight to the south. The other appeared in the distance along the horizon forming a cloud that touched the top of the 12,600+ foot San Francisco Peaks north of Flagstaff and extended along the entire western horizon.
This seems to be turning into a trend I thought as I remembered a trip earlier in the summer that my wife Trish and I took north to the vicinity of Missoula, Montana, and then to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks in Wyoming. Smoke from various wildfires plagued the entire two months of that trip and finally caused Trish and I to give up and head south looking for clear skies. The smoke was constant in Montana, blown over from fires in Idaho and closer ones whose flames occasionally threatened to spread to the campground where we had parked our camper.
The drive from Missoula to West Yellowstone was so smoky that at times I found it difficult to breath. If I had lived in the area I would have had to evacuate. Later, in Grand Teton National Park, the 13,770 foot Grand Teton mountain was sometimes obscured by smoke even when I was literally standing at its base.
Trish and I have traveled to these places for years, and we had encountered smoke in a few localized areas before, but not every day everywhere like this. After two months, we finally had had enough and headed south and eventually home to Sedona, Arizona.
A month later, as I returned to Sedona from another trip to the north, those extensive areas of smoke over the Navajo Reservation and the mountains near Flagstaff got me to thinking. With the liberals in charge of public lands management via the government and environmental pressure groups, this might be the new norm for the American West. In fact, it might be just the beginning.
After all liberals make every thing they touch worse.
Think of how badly Barack Obama and his liberal henchmen have screwed up the economy — 43 months of 8% or higher unemployment, trillion dollar deficits, 47 million on food stamps, $4 gasoline. Think of how they have made the world less safe for Americans, and really for everyone, with our ambassador and his defenders abandoned to be murdered by Islamic terrorists in Libya, our soldiers sent into battle without the right to defend themselves in Afghanistan and on and on and on.
As all this rushed through my skull I felt a chill as those smoke clouds morphed into the tip of a mountain of environmental disasters. I thought of some of the problems that liberals have caused that I’ve written about in this blog — the extermination of the Verde River Spikedace, the desertification of Western grasslands, the tenfold expansion of western wildfires — and I wondered just how much damage Obama and his libs could wreak on the environment if they were given four more years to do it?
I realized I might not be taking my annual trip to Montana and Wyoming next year, and I wondered what other people who consider themselves environmentalists would think if they were visited by this same vision.
Then it came back to me that most of those people who consider themselves to be environmentalists believe liberalism is the means to solve environmental problems, not make them worse.
At that point I found myself hoping that this blog could change a few of those minds and get a few more people to vote against Obama and the threat he poses to the environment as well as to all the other aspects of our future as Americans.
Surprising, what you can learn about from Nature — if you pay attention. Take peace for instance.
Some ranchers here in the Southwest have learned an important lesson about peace from the mountain lions that inhabit the land grazed by their cattle. The lesson they’ve learned is, if there is a dominant male mountain lion whose territory includes their ranch, it is in their best interest to leave that lion alone even if he kills an occasional calf or colt. Experience has taught these ranchers that an alpha lion enforces a sort of peace and order within his territory. Young males stay away because they know that, if they encounter the alpha within his territory, he will attack them. Perhaps even kill them.
If, on the other hand, the rancher takes offense at having a calf killed by the dominant lion and hunts him down, all of the territory the alpha had ruled and pacified is then open to contest. This attracts all the young males in the area to vie for ascendancy. To sustain the energy to fight and because they leave kills partially consumed to avoid being attacked while they eat them, they make more kills than they would otherwise. In some cases females and kittens become casualties in this melee.
Experienced ranchers know that eliminating the alpha will inadvertently create exactly what they seek to avoid — more predation and more loss of livestock. By trying to create peace they instead end up creating more war.
In a preserve in Africa, which managers hoped to repopulate with elephants by reintroducing a number of orphaned males and females from other locations, a number of the young males formed into gangs, which began to act in very un-elephant-like ways. Most outrageous of these acts were several instances of attacking, raping, killing, and mutilating adult white rhinoceroses — an endangered species.
Preserve managers were at a loss as to how to deal with this activity until one of them got the idea to import some adult bull elephants and see if that worked. It did. No one knows how the “word” got out to the young males. There was no obvious disciplining of the gang members, but, when the alpha social structure was restored, the young bulls stopped acting like mobsters and stopped killing rhinos.
Considering that, who do you believe Nature would recognize as an advocate for peace…
Those on the right, who would sustain the U. S. as alpha — as the established lion/adult bull whose power and mere presence causes lesser powers to defer and keep a low profile in order to avoid triggering a response?
Or would Nature dub as “peacemakers” liberals, such as Barack Obama, who apologize for America’s exceptionalism and seek to abdicate our position as the world’s alpha. As Obama dissembles the U. S. position as the only superpower what we see happening is exactly what Nature has told us would happen. Encouraged, as were the elephant gangs in Africa, by the lack of an alpha presence, humans have been forming gangs and creating political chaos around the world. In Egypt, Syria, Libya, India, Greece, even France, and the U. K. The list grows every day.
What can Nature teach us about all of this? She can teach us that the alpha way to peace practiced by dominant lions, adult bull elephants, and even a super power U. S. works. Nature has developed, tested, fine-tuned, and applied this lesson via millions of years of evolution, adaptation, and trial and error.
Via that same educational process, Nature teaches us that removing the alpha inevitably results in chaos and strife that can only be relieved by the ascension of a new alpha… and that trading the old lion for a new one can have its downside.
Without the U. S. who will ascend to alpha status? A resurgent Russia? Communist China? A nuclear Iran? A sharia-enforcing Islamist Caliphate?
How sure a path to peace is that?
(This post is about the right way to be green in terms of money – the green of an economy)
When it comes to sports, we get it.
When it comes to economics, we don’t.
When it comes to sports, everybody knows that, in order to have a successful team, you’ve got to have big scorers — the more the better.
When it comes to economics there are plenty of us who are unaware of that simple truth even though the situation is similar if not identical
In sports, everybody knows that, if you have prolific scorers on your team, you’ll win more games and attract more fans and make more money. And they also know that more money will flow, not only to your big scorers, but to everyone associated with your team — the other starters, the role players, the bench warmers, even your farm teamers and your retired players on pension. And that’s not all. Your coaches will make more money, too, and their staff, your sportscasters, the people who run the concession stands in your stadium. The league of which you are part, and even the teams you beat will make more money because of the additional fans and bigger TV contracts your big scorers will attract when you play those other teams. In other words, the more big scorers you have on your team the higher everyone’s boat will float.
It works the same with an economy. If you have big scorers participating in your economy, i. e. people who know how to be successful and make lots of money, hire lots of people, and invest in lots of growth, those economic big scorers will keep your economic tide rising and everyone’s boat floating higher and higher.
And economic big scorers can create wealth and jobs on an order of magnitude that dwarfs the effect of any sports star.
Why is it, then, that, when it comes to a sports team, everyone is eager to celebrate the good scorers, pay them astronomical salaries, bring in role players to help emphasize their skills and talents, and, in general, bend over backwards to keep them happy and on the team, but, when it comes to the economy, we villainize our good scorers, constantly accuse them of not doing their fair share, harp about cutting their salaries and raising their taxes, blame them for everything bad that happens, and place more and more restrictions on them, effectively disabling their skills and disarming their talents?
Why do we find it so hard to recognize the equivalence here when in both cases the results are always the same: Cut the salary of your good scorers and eventually they will leave to play for someone else. If and when that happens, your winning percentage will drop, your income will shrink, and everyone in your organization (or your country) will be worse off as a result.
Barack Obama would never dream of telling LeBron James “You didn’t do that…” regarding his selection as Most Valuable Player on the team that won the NBA Championship this year.
But he says it every day to people who far outstrip LeBron as Most Valuable Players in a much bigger league – the U. S. economy.
Any team with players who constantly complain about their team’s high scorers’ income, blame them for everything that goes wrong, incessantly agitate for “income redistribution,” and refuse to take any responsibility themselves quickly fulfills its destiny as a loser. The same goes for a coach guilty of the above.
And yet that is the way Barack Obama and many of the rest of us, especially the liberals among us, participate in the economy today. On a sports team, players who display the attributes I just listed are quickly recognized as losers and traded, released, or retired. In an economy (a country), we can’t replace our players, but we can trade our present “the old ways don’t work,” coach for one who can inspire us to feel like a member of a team again, a team that can and deserves to win. It’s happened before. That’s what Reagan was doing with his image of America as a “Shining City on a Hill.” So was JFK with his “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”
If you think it’s corny or “so yesterday” to think in those terms again, think of what America accomplished when it valued its Most Valuable Players and thought of itself as a winner. We created a nation with degree of prosperity, freedom, optimism, and can-do-it team spirit greater than any the world has ever known. We saved the world from two world wars. We rebuilt it after the last one. We took the first steps on the journey to the stars. We were a nation people would risk their lives to come to. And I’m just getting started.
Losers don’t do that.
Conservatives are selling themselves short in one of the most important battles in contemporary politics, the battle over the environment. Rather than offer a considered principle-based, rationally developed approach to effectively counter liberals on this field of issues, conservatives debunk, diminish, and dismiss environmental concerns (even legitimate ones) calling environmentalists “wackos,” a la Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. (And we know where name-calling got Rush).
Or they offer “light” versions of liberal policies a la Newt Gingrich’s A Contract With The Earth or Mitt Romney’s “shifting” position on global warming.
What more revealing way is there to admit you are totally devoid of ideas on any issue than to be reduced to adopting your opponents’ policies and trying to sell them as your own?
One downside to this conservative concession to liberals in environmental politics is that it amounts to an abandonment of the many conservatives who are concerned about the environment in a variety of ways and would love to have a way to address those concerns without having to join an environmental (i. e., liberal) group. Neither name-calling nor liberal-conservative cross-dressing does anything to address those concerns. Nor do either of those dead-end tactics do much to convince any of the liberals and independents in the environmental constituency to cross the political aisle.
Taking this missed opportunity to the height of irony is the fact that liberal environmentalism has suffered so many spectacular failures that it is vulnerable to the argument that has served conservatives so well on so many other issues, i. e.,
Liberalism doesn’t work to solve environmental problems in the same way it doesn’t work to solve problems of poverty, the economy, health care, race relations, you name it.
Add to this the fact that there are plenty of conservatives who have a better track record in solving environmental problems and achieving environmental goals than their much more well-publicized liberal competitors, and it makes perfectly good sense to say conservatives are snatching defeat from the jaws of victory by not engaging liberals in a serious debate and competition for the environmental constituency.
If you’ve been following this blog you’re familiar with many of those liberal failures and conservative successes.
You no doubt remember the case of the 3-inch spikedace, a “threatened” species of fish that was extirpated from the Verde River in Arizona when environmental groups intimidated the U. S. Forest Service into “protecting” the fish from private land managers (ranchers) who turned out to have been the fish’s best friends. (Learn more about this failure via this link)
And there’s the Drake Exclosure, a study plot set up to illustrate the effectiveness of the liberal panacea for all environmental problems “returning the land to nature.” Within this exclosure, land protected for more than 65 years remains as much a desert as when the liberal panacea was applied. Outside the exclosure, where the land has been grazed by the cattle of a local rancher for those same 65+ years, there’s a healthy stand of native plants and plenty of evidence of native wildlife.
These examples have been described many times on this blog, and I don’t want to overuse them, but they’re too good not to mention in this context. There are, however, plenty of other skeletons in the liberal environmentalists’ closet.
For instance, in California, the Bay Checkerspot Butterfly, a threatened species, can no longer be found on portions of its habitat that environmentalists have had protected for the butterfly’s benefit. The Bay Checkerspot continues to thrive, however, on land that continues to be used by humans for livestock grazing.
On the Sedgwick Reserve near Santa Ynez, California, on a ranch gifted to the University of California under the stipulation that it continue to be grazed, exclosures were fenced from cattle to show how protecting the land from grazing also protected it from invasion by nonnative grasses deemed detrimental to ecosystem health. The last time I visited the reserve (about 5 years ago) those exclosures were nearly pure stands of the invasives they were supposed to repel, and outside the exclosures, on land that continued to be grazed, there were healthy stands of native grasses dominated by California’s state grass – nasella pulchra or purple needlegrass.
The liberal solution to all problems, not just environmental problems, is to increase “protection” in the form of government control, (which means liberal control). That’s the logic behind the passage of the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act , and other such legisation– to increase government control over human impact in the form of private management.
But if government management is so good for endangered species, and private management so bad, why is it that, according to the Government Accountability Office in 1994, more than 80 percent of species listed as endangered or threatened spend at least part of their time on private lands.
And, according to that same report, “(O)ne‐third of those endangered species (33%) may be found only on private lands.”
A more recent study by the Association of Biodiversity Information and The Nature Conservancy confirms that half of listed (Threatened and Endangered) species have at least 80 percent of their habitat on private lands.
An environmentalist might counter that, here in the West, land that has been claimed as private is usually the best land, usually with water, and that’s why these species spend so much of their time on private land.
One could re-counter that here in the West private land is also extremely rare. Only about 17% of Arizona is private land. The rest is public — federal, state and Indian reservation. Most other western states have similar disparities between private and public land.
Thus, in the West, more than 80 percent of species listed as endangered or threatened crowd themselves, at least part of the time, onto the 15% of the land that is private. Half of listed species have 80% of their habitat there, and one third of all listed species can be found only on the 17% of the land that is private.
That’s quite a testimonial.
Fleshing out these statistics with specifics, i. e., with examples of conservatives who have achieved environmental successes that make the best achievements of their more well-publicized liberal competitors pale by comparison, one of the most eye-opening is a ranch near Silver City, New Mexico — the U-Bar. This ranch not only produces food and other products to earn the profits that pay for its operation, but it is also one of the most outstanding ecological entities in North America. This ranch is home to the largest and most naturally prolific population of an endangered bird – the southwestern willow flycatcher. (Two adjacent preserves list the bird as an “occasional visitor.”) It is home to the largest known population of spikedace (the fish now extinct on the Verde River as described above). And the ranch supports significant populations of other endangered, threatened, and rare species as well and the highest density of songbird nesting territories known to exist in North America.
This success is a conservative achievement because the ranch is managed to sustain itself economically rather than to operate as a preserve. In other words, the ranch operates under the conservative principle that the healthier a private manager makes his or her land by managing it effectively, the more wealth of all sorts (economic, social, and environmental) it will produce. The U-Bar is stewarded to such a state of ecological health that the natural community that shares the land with the ranch’s livestock prospers and thrives better than those native species do on preserves managed specifically for their benefit.
In other words, in this case and in quite a few cases like it, conservatism and the conservative approach works to benefit the environment, including plants, animals, ecosystems, watersheds, endangered species, fuzzy bunnies, etc. in the same way it works to benefit the poor, and those in need of health care, and minorities, etc. — by creating a rising tide that lifts all boats.
The reason you don’t read about these successes in the liberal media or in the environmental newsletters is obvious. Mainstream environmentalists are overwhelmingly liberal and the goal of liberals is to expand the reach and power of the instrument by means of which they operate — government. Reporting environmental successes achieved by the private sector obstructs rather than advances this goal.
That wouldn’t be such a problem if the conservative media reported “the rest of the story,” but they’re too busy referring to environmentalists as “wackos,” and treating conservatives who voice environmental concerns as candidates for “deprogramming.”
If conservative environmental successes are going to be reported anywhere, however, it is going to be in the conservative media. That is why I believe the creation of a real, concrete, alive and kicking conservative environmentalism is so important.
Creating a conservative environmentalism would give the right wing media a context in which to report conservative environmental successes, and thus, the incentive to do so. It would create a story, with conservatives as the heroes and conservative achievements as the victories, that the talk shows could update every day, just as the liberals currently update the controversy over global warming.
It would mean, for the first time,…
- • The fact that conservative approaches regularly outperform liberal approaches in dealing with environmental problems would no longer go unreported.
- • The environmental playing field, both in politics and the media, would no longer be conceded to the Democrats. Conservatives would have “skin in the game,” and both sides would have to compete for the support of those of us who make up the environmental constituency.
- • We would all live in a healthier, cleaner, more abundant environment because competition would result in more effective means to address environmental problems
- • Even liberal environmentalism would benefit from the creation of a conservative alternative because it would finally be held accountable for achieving concrete results, rather than just enacting liberal policies.
Last, but not least, all of us would benefit because neither side in this long running dispute would be able easily to cast the other as incorrigible villains—We would have one less reason to hate one another.
You’ve heard it a million times. You’ve probably said it yourself…
If we could just stop fighting and work together, things would be so much easier. There would be so much less hate and strife and arguing……
Or, why don’t politicians compromise? Then they wouldn’t just be fighting all the time and wasting our money doing it. Instead Obama blames the Republicans for not compromising. The Republicans blame the Democrats for refusing to work together, yadda, yadda, yadda.
LOWERING THE HEAT OF BATTLE
I thought I had found the holy grail of “working together” in the contentious area of environmental politics some years ago when I attended a meeting, in Phoenix, Arizona, of ranchers and environmentalists dealing with the issue of predators, livestock, and “predator control.” (You can’t get much more contentious than that.)
At the time of this get-together everyone who attended was involved, in one way or another, in a controversy over the Arizona law that governed what ranchers could do to protect their livestock from natural predators such as mountain lions and black bears. This battle had become so contentious that one of the activists involved, a woman who had made the reintroduction of Mexican gray wolves into the Southwest her life work, became fearful that the battle would so galvanize ranchers against environmentalists that wolf reintroduction would be jeopardized. That’s why she and a friend from a ranching family had called this meeting. To see if anything could be done to lower the heat of battle.
HEY, THAT’S WHAT I WANT, TOO!
What was to be different about this meeting was that it was to be conducted according to the principles of “conflict resolution.” One of the women (the one from the ranch family) was self-schooled in this sort of facilitation. Her approach, which is familiar to most of us today, was totally new to most of us (me, for sure) at the time. Briefly, It consisted of helping those of us from both sides of our predatory divide to discover that we want the same things — healthy ecosystems, a sustainable lifestyle, clean air, clean water, etc., — after which, the theory goes, we would stop fighting and join forces to work together to achieve these shared goals.
The teambuilding went surprisingly well. Those of us on the environmental side were surprised to hear ranchers adding goals that we thought only we cared about — sustainable open space, sustainably plentiful populations of wildlife… One rancher even said, “Healthy populations of predators.” but another qualified his statement with, “Maybe not too healthy.”
GOALS THAT UNITE, GOALS THAT INCITE
This Kowboy Kumbaya was made possible by a simple but powerful process implemented by our facilitator.: Whenever one of us would list as one of our goals a policy rather than a result, i. e. whenever one of us would say something like: “I want all the cows off public lands!” or “I want all streams protected from grazing!” she would ask us what we would like to achieve by doing that. How would we expect that move to change the land? How would it look? How would the rangeland ecosystem be better? And she would keep asking questions like this until we answered in terms of ends instead of means — There’d be more plants and less bare dirt. Less nonnatives. More wildlife.
Some of the ranchers offered policies as goals, too — fewer regulations, more freedom — and they got the same treatment: How would the land look if they got what they wanted? How would it be better?
LIBERALISM AS AN OBSTACLE TO COLLABORATION
The reason she did this is because she knew we all agreed on ends, we all wanted healthy rangelands, functional watersheds, lots of wildlife (Who doesn’t?). But she also knew we had been fighting over means — preservation versus production, grazing versus protection — for nearly a century. What she was doing was calculated to keep us from going down that same old road.
Those of you who have read posts in this blog in which I observe that liberals identify the solution to any problem as the imposition of a liberal policy will recognize why she picked the approach she picked.
By steering our discussion from means to ends, from what we wanted to do to what we wanted our environment to be, our facilitator was creating a liberalism-free zone; and she was doing this precisely because she recognized that without creating a zone free of the assumption that the solution to any problem is the imposition of some policy or other collaboration is impossible.
In other words whether our facilitator knew it or not, she was affirming that liberalism stands as an obstacle to collaboration, to working together. Why is that?
If someone firmly believes the solution to any problem is the imposition of a specific policy, then it becomes impossible to “meet in the middle?” What middle? For liberals there is no middle, there is only, “My way or the highway.” Or more accurately, “The liberal way or the highway.”
NOTICE THE “WE.”
If, on the other hand, two factions, no matter how politically opposed, are able to get past all the “My way or the highway” talk to admit to themselves, and to one another, that they all want healthy ecosystems, functional watersheds, plenty of wildlife, clean water, clear air, then the next question is, “How do we achieve it?”
Notice the “we?”
MORE POWERFUL THAN VICTORY
Those of us in our group realized the importance of this when we moved our meetings from locations in Phoenix to the lands of some of our rancher participants. On those desert rangelands we found that the ranchers among us were already achieving the goals we supposedly “co-discovered” in those facilitated meetings. In fact, all of the ranches we visited were healthier and more ecologically functional than the cattle-free preserves I, as a committed environmentalist, was working to create. From that I concluded that working together 6-6 style could be more powerful than victory for our side.
Our group expanded and continued to meet and learn, and we gave ourselves a name: The 6-6 Group (for 6 of us and 6 of them that attended that first meeting). While I was experiencing this, and watching it work, what we were doing seemed momentous, even paradigm-shifting, for several reasons: First, the problems the ranchers in our group were succeeding in dealing with were not mere tokens. They were problems the environmental movement has been railing against (and failing against) for more than a century — desertification, the deterioration of watersheds, endangered species, invasive plants, the urbanization of open space, etc.
Second, these solutions were being achieved in the spirit of teamwork, collaboration, cooperation, community, peace, love, etc.. That’s what liberals are all about, right? There was no confrontation, lawsuits, demonstrations, divisive politics, or people chaining themselves to trees. What could be more Kumbaya than that?
A KUMBAYA END TO A HUNDRED YEARS WAR
How out of the ordinary was this? Ranchers and environmentalists have been at odds at least since John Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club tried to stop grazing in the California Sierras in the late 1900s. Billions have been spent by both sides. Much bad blood has been created. Some real blood has even been spilled. What I had stumbled onto seemed to be a way to end this hundred year range war, and who knows what other disputes it might solve environmental and otherwise.
READ IT AND SEE IT
I was so impressed with what we were learning, both about the land and about working together, that I wrote a book about it — Beyond the Rangeland Conflict, Toward a West that Works, As a result of the success of that book, and because the ideal of working together is so seductive to both sides, I became a speaker in high demand. For more than a decade speaking engagements came looking for me, and I took the story of 6-6 around the West to a whole spectrum of audiences — environmentalists, ranchers, vegetarians, beef producers, college classes, garden clubs, and just plain folks.
Some of the stories I brought to these audiences included:
• A ranch family in Nevada and a rancher in Arizona who developed the process of using cattle to restore ecosystem function and a healthy plant community to devastated mine sites on which standard reclamation practices had failed.
• A New Mexico rancher who stewarded the ranch he managed to such a state of ecological health that it was more attractive to nesting songbirds, including one endangered species, than two adjacent preserves, one of which was called “The Bird Area.” This ranch (not the preserve) was found to host the highest known density of nesting songbirds in North America.
• A regular host to 6-6 meetings who liked to show off his ranch because it was obviously in better shape than an adjacent preserve owned by a major environmental group.
Consider, again (because it’s so important) that these successes were achieved without fighting, without “victory,” without acrimony (except for a little gloating — well deserved I might add.). Isn’t this what all those people who display “Coexist” bumper stickers and wear “Peace” t-shirts claim to want. It is certainly what liberal politicians culminating in Barack Obama have said they want and promised they will do.
That’s why I really didn’t think this was going to be a hard sell, especially to other environmentalists.
But it was. In fact, it was almost impossible.
To make my case about this new collaborative method, I showed my environmental colleagues dramatic “before and after” photos and side-by-side comparisons, took them to the sites, even completed demonstration projects to prove that it wasn’t smoke and mirrors. In spite of all that, the majority of them weren’t enthused or optimistic or even curious. Instead they became uncomfortable, defensive, some even became angry. “I feel like I’m being attacked,” more than one of my environmental audience members said.
At first I was puzzled by this response. I questioned whether I was presenting the material effectively, or whether the successes I was reporting were as outstanding as I thought. But I was getting positive feedback on my presentations, too, and I was getting plenty of requests for more presentations, so I was pretty sure neither of the above was the problem.
I even began to wonder if environmentalists really care about the environment, but that didn’t seem to make any sense. The people I was talking to seemed to care so much and so honestly about trees and birds and open space that accusing them of not “really” caring didn’t make any sense. So, I gave that up too, at least until I learned that it was true in a way I had never understood before.
THE MADNESS IS IN THE MESSAGE
Finally, after years of frustration puzzling over why this method that seemed to hold such promise never really “took off”, I was the one who finally got the message. I came to the conclusion that environmentalists’ lack of interest in the 6-6 approach wasn’t because it didn’t work or because it wasn’t being described effectively. It was because of something environmentalists don’t know about their movement or even about themselves.
Search the environmental universe on the internet and you’ll find all sorts of claims about what we absolutely MUST! do in order to save the planet. You’ll find sites claiming that, in order to keep from destroying the environment, we have to impact nature less by using less, producing less, and reproducing less. We have to stop eating meat, destroy capitalism, reduce economic growth, end America’s consumerism, reduce the number of humans on the planet (in some cases by incredibly cruel means such as epidemics, war, eugenics, suicide…,) And, not only that, we have to base our lifestyles, economic system, spirituality, selection of leaders, even the way we choose to die, on the same.
That’s why my presentations about the 6-6 method left so many environmentalists uninterested, angry or feeling threatened. First, because the successes of 6-6 proved that the practices contemporary environmentalists insist are absolutely necessary if we are to solve our environmental problems really aren’t necessary at all. In fact, 6-6 brought to light a whole list of instances in which applying those liberal remedies not only didn’t solve the problem, they made it worse.
Beyond that, 6-6 revealed that there is a means to restore and sustain the health of the environment that doesn’t villainize capitalism or America’s unprecedented economic success, doesn’t involve confrontations, lawsuits or divisive politics, and doesn’t require the election of ecofacist politicians to whom we must relinquish our freedoms, from the most public to the most private, from the most trivial to the most momentous.
And the great majority of contemporary liberal environmentalists faced with that choice rejected it.
WHY THEY REJECTED IT…
When liberal environmentalists found themselves in the situation of being presented with with an effective way to solve environmental problems that inspired opposing factions to work together but that didn’t succeed because of liberal policies, and in some cases succeeded in spite of them, they revealed their true priorities. They chose to maintain their allegiance to the liberal policies even though it was now clear that those policies caused some of the very problems they are purported to solve.
To put it another way, for contemporary liberal environmentalists, the environment is the means and enacting liberal policies is the end. It is not the other way around.
So, it appears we don’t really have groups working to achieve positive, concrete environmental goals as things now stand. What we do have is a number of liberal political groups that use environmental issues, both real and manufactured, to sell liberal policies and liberal candidates. By so doing, they increase their control over government and the rest of us while they make money, grow their power and prestige, consider themselves world saviors, do a lot of self-backpatting, etc. In other words, environmentalism is an economic endeavor just like any other economic endeavor —mining, ranching, lobbying, lawyering, politicking, and, just like those other economic endeavors, it has environmental, social, and economic impacts, in many cases worse than the impacts of the groups the liberals allege to protect us from.
WILL THE REAL ENVIRONMENTALISTS PLEASE STAND
But what about those of us who really want to deal with the environment in a functional, accountable way? I know there are plenty of us out here who want to solve its problems, resolve its issues, realize its opportunities, and achieve goals which most of us share. And there are plenty of us who would rather do it by working together where possible and competing where appropriate.
The successes achieved by 6-6 and groups like it reveal that the best way to achieve what I just described is via the workings of conservatism — applying individual initiative, personal accountability, the free market, and rewards for results. Applying this approach automatically puts us on course to work toward concrete goals by means of which we can gauge our effectiveness and recognize our shared interests, and that works whether you’re liberal or conservative.
So why aren’t there lots of conservative environmental groups out there satisfying this very real demand that they are most qualified to satisfy?
The answer (the subject of the next post) will surprise you.
REMOVING THE LIBERAL BLINDFOLD
With the political pendulum swinging to the right, conservative victory is likely in the upcoming election. Some say this rightward swing is so pronounced that conservative ascendancy in federal and state government is likely, perhaps, for years to come.
If that is the case, the diminishing or even the demise of contemporary liberal environmentalism is virtually assured.
Which means, it’s time to start designing the conservative environmentalism that will replace it.
Those of you who consider yourself green to the core may despair at hearing this, but you should be celebrating instead. By making this transition, environmentalism will be shedding a number of debilitating dysfunctions that are endemic in liberalism.
One liberal dysfunction that a conservative environmentalism wouldn’t suffer is a systemic blindness that affects all of liberalism in all of its issue areas, environmental and otherwise.
ASSUME YOU ARE WRONG
I learned about this blindness as I experienced my own evolution from eco-radical to conservative environmentalist. Early in my transition, I ran across a way of managing our relationship with Nature that, at the time, was named “Holistic Resource Management” (changed now to Holistic Management). According to this management system, when dealing with nature in a way designed to produce a certain result, one should always “assume you are wrong.”
When I made passing mention of that in a conversation with my wife. Her response was short and to the point, “If you assume what you’re doing is wrong,” she said. “Why would you bother to do it?”
I had to admit that was a pretty good objection. As I thought more and read more about this very counter-intuitive directive, however, I realized it actually makes very good sense. In fact, I believe assuming that we are wrong can add to our chances of success of just about anything we do.
The reason we should assume we are wrong, according to Holistic Management, is to make sure that we monitor what we’re doing so that we’re aware of whether if it is working or not. To someone who is dealing with nature (or with anything in a results-directed way) the reason for monitoring what you’re doing should be obvious. If you don’t keep track of how things are going you could create an outcome that is very different than what you intend — an unintended consequence, so to speak — that could be very difficult, even impossible, to reverse.
However, if we assume we’re wrong (or at least that the possibility exists that we could be wrong), and we monitor what we’re doing, chances are pretty good that, if things do start to get off track, we will become aware of it. Having thus been alerted, we have the opportunity to stop doing what isn’t working and do something different or even to take a different approach altogether.
To clarify this with an example that has to do with our discussion here: If the people who were trying to save the threatened fish, the spikedace, on the Verde River (covered in a previous post ) had considered that there was a possibility that what they were doing might not work, they would have been much less likely to have continued to apply that policy until they had exterminated the very creature they claimed to be trying to save.
What caused the extermination of the spikedace in the Verde, then, is the fact that the liberal environmental groups that intimidated the U. S. Forest Service into removing grazing from the riverside assumed that they were right. They assumed they were right not only to the degree that they did not monitor the situation sufficiently to become aware of the fact that their policies were changing the river in such a way that it was becoming uninhabitable to the spikedace, but when U. S. Forest Service scientists did take note of that fact, the environmental groups exerted sufficient pressure to have those scientists removed from the case.
To this day those environmentalists consider the Verde debacle to be a success. They consider it a success in spite of the fact that, after the policy was installed, the river did change and the spikedace appears to have been extirpated (none have been seen in the river in 15 years). Those self-designated spikedace-savers consider what they did on the Verde to be a success because the campaign to save several “threatened” or “endangered” native fishes, including the Verde River spikedace, did succeed in getting grazing removed from 900 miles of riverside in the American Southwest.
This reveals the core flaw in contemporary liberalism, environmental and otherwise. Contemporary liberalism identifies solutions as a matter of the installation of policies — liberal policies. And once that policy is installed liberals consider the problem solved. In other words liberals always consider themselves to be right. That’s how liberals apply their own blinders, and that’s how they blindfold themselves to realistic assessments of the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of their policies.
Take the Drake Exclosure mentioned in a number of other posts: Environmentalists consider management of the denuded Drake to be “right” in spite of the fact that it has continued to deteriorate during 65+ years of being protected from being used (impacted) by humans.
They consider their policy of protection to be “right”, in spite of the fact that the unprotected land outside the Drake is in better condition and supports a more diverse and more plentiful community of native plants and animals (see below).
How about another example. In California it has been found that the “threatened” Bay Checkerspot butterfly has ceased to exist on land where grazing has been stopped, in some cases to “protect” the butterfly. Guess which land environmentalists consider to be managed the “right way.”
Moving beyond the environmental aspect of liberalism: Consider the Occupy Wall Streeters and their call for an equitable redistribution of wealth: Do you think they consider that policy to be the right thing to do? Absolutely.
Do they think they consider that there is any way in which it could be wrong? Absolutely not!
If the Occupiers get their way, and their policy is made law will they monitor to see if it’s working?
Or, if things start to go wrong (which happens every time this policy is tried), will they do everything they can to cover up its shortcomings? Will they propose more regulation? Stricter penalties? Will they say we need to give it more time? Will they blame their failures on others: the rich, the 1%, human greed, Republicans, Conservatives, Bitter clingers…..
Plug any other liberal crusade/campaign into the above scenario — universal healthcare, cap and trade, renewable energy, affirmative action, etc. — and it will fit perfectly.
All liberal policies and the actions that make up those policies are considered to be the right thing to do because they are morally right, at least within a liberal frame of reference.
To liberals we all have a right to have enough money, to have access to health care, to have a place to live, to have day care for our children, a diaper service. And, we have a right to a healthy environment, species have a right to not be made extinct, etc. And all liberal policies that facilitate those rights are also right.
Because liberals believe all of those policies are “the right thing to do,” to ask whether or not they work (whether they get the right results) is to utter an irrelevance. We’re all taught, “You should be honest no matter what the consequences.” Or, “If you do the right thing, whatever happens is what is supposed to happen.”
Complain about redistributionist tax policies, i. e. say they don’t work, and you will be called greedy or a pawn of wall street.
Get into an argument about energy policy and you’ll quickly be confronted with, “We have to develop alternative fuels because we’re going to run out of oil someday and drilling for oil just gets us into wars in the Middle East. Anyway, it wrecks the planet and just makes filthy rich oil companies even richer.”
Environmental policy? “Why shouldn’t we protect as many species as possible from the environmental impacts of humans? Humans don’t have the right to use the planet purely for our benefit, and the animals were here first anyway!”
Presenting all issues as a matter of right and wrong is what makes liberalism so seductive because it means you don’t have to be an ecologist to know what to do to keep a small, rare fish in Arizona from going extinct. Never mind if you exterminate the fish in the process. It’s not your fault the fish died out in spite of the fact you did the right thing to save it.
Nor do you have to know anything about ecology to know how to restore damaged rangeland in Arizona. You protect it. And if that land doesn’t get any better, in fact if it gets worse, you say you didn’t protect it soon enough, or long enough, and if the unprotected land next door is in better shape, you ignore it and continue to do what you know is “the right thing to do.”
Regarding the economy, reduce all issues to a simple matter of right and wrong and you don’t have to know anything about economics to know how to manage the largest economy on Earth. Do the right thing. Redistribute income. Put government in charge of health care, in charge of everything. As long as government is run by people like you, i. e. liberals, i. e. people who want to “do what’s right,” no matter what happens you can consider yourself morally superior to those who refuse to go along with you whatever the reason.
But is protecting the spikedace really the right thing to do if it exterminates the fish?
Is protecting rangeland, like that within the Drake Exclosure, really the right thing to do if it dooms that land to a future of deteriorating desertification?
And, Is creating a more equitable redistribution of wealth the right thing to do if it creates the kind of economic collapse happening, as I write this, in Greece, the country with the most aggressive redistributionist policies in Europe? Or Portugal. Or Spain, Or France, Or England…
Once again, we can thank one of the planet’s pre-eminent conservatives — Mother Nature, as well as the spikedace and other plants, animals and ecosystems — for showing us that issues — environmental, economic, political — are not just about morals (right and wrong) they are about practical matters, too — survival, ecological function, jobs, energy, wealth.
And we can thank them for demonstrating to us that results do matter.
All we have to do to avail ourselves of this insight is listen to Mother Nature, little fish, butterflies, the true condition of the economy, etc.. And the only way we can listen is if we assume we are wrong.