Concerto for blunt instrument

An irregular heartbeat from d.o. to you. Not like a daily kos, more like a sometime sloth. Fast relief from the symptoms of blogarrhea and predicated on the understanding that the world is not a stage for our actions, rather it is a living organism upon which we depend for our existence.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Conservatives who don't conserve

[Time to bring out the classics and dust them off for a new year. I wrote this six years ago during the Bush era, but it applies even more so today. Soooo, a little editing and a little pathos for 2012]

It seems as if nothing is sacred for today’s so-called conservatives. The very root of their philosophy is utterly ignored as rightwing politicians, pundits, and their corporate sponsors hack their way blindly across the political landscape and the planet. Their true conservative predecessors must be rolling in their graves.

“MORE” is the motto, as legions of automatons crank up the thermostat, oblivious to the winter wind howling through the open door. That’s Congressman Bernie Sanders’ North Country metaphor, one he used in the past to blast the Bush administration for its shortsighted energy policy that places little emphasis on energy conservation. It’s an apt metaphor today for people who have lost sight of reality and whose attachment to the planet and their fellow inhabitants seems all but lost.

In a nation that consumes 30% of the world’s resources with only 5% of the world’s population, it’s actually criminal to ignore conservation. And, quite frankly, that is how we are viewed by that other 95%. The United States is the real Evil Empire. The nation where the laws of thermodynamics are ignored. An outlaw nation. Corporate America and their cronies in government squander the gifts of the planet, letting much of it fall to the wayside unused and irretrievable. And these people call themselves conservatives?

They conserve only their own privilege in a world running short on ecological options. Two decades ago the World Scientists' Warning to Humanity stated: "No more than one or a few decades remain before the chance to avert the threats we now confront will be lost and the prospects for humanity immeasurably diminished." Now those 20 years have passed and conservation remains on the back burner. A true conservative knows the value of conservation. A true conservative practices thrift; using whatever resources they require with care and foresight, keeping future generations in mind. Does that sound like the present occupants of corporate boardrooms or Washington? Is that the mentality guiding proponents of corporate globalism as they seek to undo environmental safeguards, claiming them as restraints against fair trade? Is that the thinking behind an industrial assault upon the Artic National Wildlife Refuge, the proposed Keystone pipeline, hydrofracking or a renewal of the ill-conceived nuclear power industry? And, for that matter, does that sound like your overweight neighbors with the jetski and snowmobiles parked in the driveway next to the giant SUV? We don’t think so!

Actually, some Democrats' energy plans read more like a conservative’s idea of energy policy. This is not surprising, given how far to the right the Democrats have wandered. Why don’t they simply skip the pretense and claim the mantel of conservatism for themselves! That done, the denizens of the far right can be pegged for what they truly are: Enemies of the Earth and its inhabitants; former conservatives who have gone over to the dark side.

Given that scientists around the world have sounded the closing bell, one might hope that sanity would prevail and people across the globe would rise up and demand an end to planetary suicide, but it's a highly flawed species and sanity is not one of our high cards. All recent Conferences of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have been pretty much dismal failures. With a few exceptions, the numbers on CO2 and other levels of pollutants are rising still, yet far-right Republicans deny the evidence while calling for more of the same.

How do we turn this ship around? Occupy the pilot house? Prayer? Plague? Maybe the Mayans were right, maybe the world does end now. On the other hand, many archeologists say that's a misreading of Mayan Calender. Maybe we'll just go out with a whimper rather than a bang, or maybe, just maybe, we'll come to our senses and get on with some real conservation, but we have to do it NOW.


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