Conservation & conservatism

Commenters on yesterday’s post about Environmentalism as the new socialism cited the need to articulate a conservative alternative to the radical environmentalists’ stance towards nature. We should recall that conservatives were among the first to advocate what used to be called “conservation.” Conservatives also are the ones who want to “conserve” our heritage, so surely that should include our natural heritage. So what should conservatives do to reclaim this issue and in a way preferable to what the left is doing with their apocalyptic nature-worship?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • trotk

    Teach stewardship.

    In the parable of the talents, the steward who merely returned to the master what was given to him was condemned. We aren’t even going to be able to return our talents to the Lord in most instances, let alone return them with profit.

  • trotk

    Teach stewardship.

    In the parable of the talents, the steward who merely returned to the master what was given to him was condemned. We aren’t even going to be able to return our talents to the Lord in most instances, let alone return them with profit.

  • Manxman

    We need to create a clear distinction in people’s minds between “conservationism” and “preservationism”. There is a world of difference between the conservationist stewardship and wise use of natural resources, and the anti-human, nature is god theories of preservationism. We need to clearly point out the nasty economic and freedom-destroying consequences of the preservationist value system. Make the preservationists show ALL their cards with regard to their radicalism’s impact on people’s lives.

  • Manxman

    We need to create a clear distinction in people’s minds between “conservationism” and “preservationism”. There is a world of difference between the conservationist stewardship and wise use of natural resources, and the anti-human, nature is god theories of preservationism. We need to clearly point out the nasty economic and freedom-destroying consequences of the preservationist value system. Make the preservationists show ALL their cards with regard to their radicalism’s impact on people’s lives.

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    I’d say part of the answer would be that we need to quit being tolerant of “theistic evolution” and teach Genesis 1-3 more often, more boldly, and more authoritatively, because it is there that we learn most clearly that humanity is not just one of many “co-tenants” on this earth but the crown of creation and the appointed steward of all. We also learn that we are responsible (through sin – not dealing with things as God told us to) for all that’s gone wrong with the world, too, which should impress upon us even more our privilege and responsibility to conserve what God has created for us.

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    I’d say part of the answer would be that we need to quit being tolerant of “theistic evolution” and teach Genesis 1-3 more often, more boldly, and more authoritatively, because it is there that we learn most clearly that humanity is not just one of many “co-tenants” on this earth but the crown of creation and the appointed steward of all. We also learn that we are responsible (through sin – not dealing with things as God told us to) for all that’s gone wrong with the world, too, which should impress upon us even more our privilege and responsibility to conserve what God has created for us.

  • Kirk

    @2 I agree with you, but I’m concerned that viewing the world simply as a cache of resources that must must be managed is also wrong. I think a hybridization of the two views is necessary. On the one hand, we do need the earth’s resources to survive. As I sit here, I’m in a building constructed largely of wood, clothed in animal and plant fibers, warmed by fossil fuels and drinking a bottle of spring water. We use the planet’s resources and, yes, we must be wise about them.

    But, the inherent worth of the earth is tied to more than that its members can be converted from something natural to something useful. There is an intrinsic beauty in nature, resulting from it being designed by a creative God. Furthermore, humans are designed to recognize and appreciate nature’s beauty. I feel that access to pristine nature and green spaces is a quality of life issue, perhaps not on par with being warm and well fed, but still very important for our personal well-being. Accordingly, I see conservation as worthwhile for preserving the earth’s resources, but not strictly in an industrial sense. We should preserve nature because it is beautiful and because we appreciate beauty.

    In my mind, though, the real question is what steps to we, as conservatives, take to conserve. Of course, everything requires cost benefit, but most of the time conservation doesn’t make sense by a monetary standard. Can we sacrifice profit for quality of life, and then, how do we quantify “quality of life?”

  • Kirk

    @2 I agree with you, but I’m concerned that viewing the world simply as a cache of resources that must must be managed is also wrong. I think a hybridization of the two views is necessary. On the one hand, we do need the earth’s resources to survive. As I sit here, I’m in a building constructed largely of wood, clothed in animal and plant fibers, warmed by fossil fuels and drinking a bottle of spring water. We use the planet’s resources and, yes, we must be wise about them.

    But, the inherent worth of the earth is tied to more than that its members can be converted from something natural to something useful. There is an intrinsic beauty in nature, resulting from it being designed by a creative God. Furthermore, humans are designed to recognize and appreciate nature’s beauty. I feel that access to pristine nature and green spaces is a quality of life issue, perhaps not on par with being warm and well fed, but still very important for our personal well-being. Accordingly, I see conservation as worthwhile for preserving the earth’s resources, but not strictly in an industrial sense. We should preserve nature because it is beautiful and because we appreciate beauty.

    In my mind, though, the real question is what steps to we, as conservatives, take to conserve. Of course, everything requires cost benefit, but most of the time conservation doesn’t make sense by a monetary standard. Can we sacrifice profit for quality of life, and then, how do we quantify “quality of life?”

  • Manxman

    @4 Kirk, For the preservationists, environmental sustainability trumps EVERY other issue, no matter what the human cost, & these elitists demand that EVERYONE’s life be centered around and be subservient to the environment. That’s just not a Biblical value system. This world, because of sin, is decaying, and I don’t care how hard they try to force things go the other way, they aren’t going to get back to anything resembling Eden.

    If you look into the matter, all these “pristine” areas they are creating and controlling with their bureaucratic rules are NOT available to the average person at all. To my way of thinking, as I try to remain employed to support my family and live some kind of affordable life, the fact that there are huge chunks of non-accessible pristine real estate out there somewhere just doesn’t make the economic impact & loss of freedom worthwhile. In addition, the preservationists want to control every aspect of the use of the property I DO own, and even my own lifestyle, in the name of protecting the environment, based on ridiculous, unrealistic standards THEY have developed. That is the height of arrogance.

  • Manxman

    @4 Kirk, For the preservationists, environmental sustainability trumps EVERY other issue, no matter what the human cost, & these elitists demand that EVERYONE’s life be centered around and be subservient to the environment. That’s just not a Biblical value system. This world, because of sin, is decaying, and I don’t care how hard they try to force things go the other way, they aren’t going to get back to anything resembling Eden.

    If you look into the matter, all these “pristine” areas they are creating and controlling with their bureaucratic rules are NOT available to the average person at all. To my way of thinking, as I try to remain employed to support my family and live some kind of affordable life, the fact that there are huge chunks of non-accessible pristine real estate out there somewhere just doesn’t make the economic impact & loss of freedom worthwhile. In addition, the preservationists want to control every aspect of the use of the property I DO own, and even my own lifestyle, in the name of protecting the environment, based on ridiculous, unrealistic standards THEY have developed. That is the height of arrogance.

  • Kirk

    @5 I’m not defending environmental extremism, by any means, I’m simply saying that there has to be a balance. I just don’t think that affordability trumps all considerations or makes a person more free (particularly when you consider how charmed your life is compared to 80% of the worlds’).

  • Kirk

    @5 I’m not defending environmental extremism, by any means, I’m simply saying that there has to be a balance. I just don’t think that affordability trumps all considerations or makes a person more free (particularly when you consider how charmed your life is compared to 80% of the worlds’).

  • Jerry

    Everything has a place: preservation or conservation. However, a world view not based upon Christ will not see things the same as a view based upon Christ. The question is the same as always, how Christians can continue to do the Lord’s work here on earth in the face of opposing world views?

  • Jerry

    Everything has a place: preservation or conservation. However, a world view not based upon Christ will not see things the same as a view based upon Christ. The question is the same as always, how Christians can continue to do the Lord’s work here on earth in the face of opposing world views?

  • DonS

    The issue is largely a manufactured one, at least as it is portrayed as an immediate and urgent crisis, requiring even the sacrifice of millions of lives in the third world in order to address it. We cannot respond by promoting an alternative, slightly less radical, agenda. Rather, we must respond by illuminating the hypocrisy of those who trumpet this issue, as well as the tremendous costs in human lives (due to economic collapse and resultant starvation) of actually implementing the reforms environmentalists are demanding.

    A mistake conservatives have made over the past 70 or so years of liberal activism is to offer “liberal-lite”. We operate defensively on their battleground, and say, well let’s just go a little slower and a little less. No wonder we have lost so many battles. We are playing on their turf, and offering an inferior product, to boot.

    TrotK @ 1 has it right. We need to promote the alternative issue of stewardship of the resources God has given us, whether it is food, shelter, energy, or money. Of course, we shouldn’t waste energy, because that is poor stewardship. On the other hand, it is poor stewardship of our money to force our economy to adopt a “green” and expensive energy source over a more efficient one. While the white, elite environmental movement doesn’t mind this “feel good” approach, it is a true hardship to the poor. Pollution is poor stewardship because it results in expensive clean-up and health costs. These things all balance out when we consider them as a whole, in the context of stewardship. Moreover, this approach might actually result in us living within our means, rather than handing government obligations of $100 trillion to our children, as we are on course to do now.

  • DonS

    The issue is largely a manufactured one, at least as it is portrayed as an immediate and urgent crisis, requiring even the sacrifice of millions of lives in the third world in order to address it. We cannot respond by promoting an alternative, slightly less radical, agenda. Rather, we must respond by illuminating the hypocrisy of those who trumpet this issue, as well as the tremendous costs in human lives (due to economic collapse and resultant starvation) of actually implementing the reforms environmentalists are demanding.

    A mistake conservatives have made over the past 70 or so years of liberal activism is to offer “liberal-lite”. We operate defensively on their battleground, and say, well let’s just go a little slower and a little less. No wonder we have lost so many battles. We are playing on their turf, and offering an inferior product, to boot.

    TrotK @ 1 has it right. We need to promote the alternative issue of stewardship of the resources God has given us, whether it is food, shelter, energy, or money. Of course, we shouldn’t waste energy, because that is poor stewardship. On the other hand, it is poor stewardship of our money to force our economy to adopt a “green” and expensive energy source over a more efficient one. While the white, elite environmental movement doesn’t mind this “feel good” approach, it is a true hardship to the poor. Pollution is poor stewardship because it results in expensive clean-up and health costs. These things all balance out when we consider them as a whole, in the context of stewardship. Moreover, this approach might actually result in us living within our means, rather than handing government obligations of $100 trillion to our children, as we are on course to do now.

  • Kirk

    @Don: Again, so it comes down to a simple monetary analysis? There’s no metaphysical or philosophical consideration, at all? Is monetary accessibility the only measure of the standard of living?

  • Kirk

    @Don: Again, so it comes down to a simple monetary analysis? There’s no metaphysical or philosophical consideration, at all? Is monetary accessibility the only measure of the standard of living?

  • DonS

    Kirk @ 9: Why would you reduce the issue of stewardship to a monetary one? Stewardship is an all encompassing principle, that should govern every aspect of our lives. It includes the wise use of our talents, our time, how we raise and disciple the children God gives us, the natural resources we are entrusted with, the leadership responsibilities God entrusts us with, as well as the money and material resources God blesses us with. Stewardship, in all of its aspects, is a fundamental attitude of biblical Christian living. Obviously, metaphysical and philosophical considerations form a part of how we make stewardship decisions.

  • DonS

    Kirk @ 9: Why would you reduce the issue of stewardship to a monetary one? Stewardship is an all encompassing principle, that should govern every aspect of our lives. It includes the wise use of our talents, our time, how we raise and disciple the children God gives us, the natural resources we are entrusted with, the leadership responsibilities God entrusts us with, as well as the money and material resources God blesses us with. Stewardship, in all of its aspects, is a fundamental attitude of biblical Christian living. Obviously, metaphysical and philosophical considerations form a part of how we make stewardship decisions.

  • trotk

    Kirk -

    Stewardship encompasses far more than just money. Stewardship of money, our bodies, our health, even our backyards – all this matters to God. If we took stewardship seriously, we would live, inasmuch as we can control a fallen world, on a beautiful planet that provided for the people.

    When Christ holds us accountable for what we have done with our talents, money will just be a minor issue. I have a feeling that the accountability we will face over our relationships will elicit an incredible amount of regret.

  • trotk

    Kirk -

    Stewardship encompasses far more than just money. Stewardship of money, our bodies, our health, even our backyards – all this matters to God. If we took stewardship seriously, we would live, inasmuch as we can control a fallen world, on a beautiful planet that provided for the people.

    When Christ holds us accountable for what we have done with our talents, money will just be a minor issue. I have a feeling that the accountability we will face over our relationships will elicit an incredible amount of regret.

  • trotk

    So it looks like DonS and I typed nearly simultaneously.

  • trotk

    So it looks like DonS and I typed nearly simultaneously.

  • DonS

    Kirk @ 9: Further to my comment @ 10, it is the environmental left (largely relatively wealthy, white liberals), which does not consider the metaphysical and philosophical aspects of their environmental policies in a balanced way. They value a pristine environment in their back yard over the lives of millions of impoverished people, which they willingly sacrifice by denying those people access to cheaper and abundant energy. They are willing to off-shore the production of energy for our needs here in the U.S., exporting the pollution and environmental damage to third world countries having inadequate environmental protection standards, in order to preserve a more pristine environment for them in their coastal multi-million dollar homes. This, despite the fact that it would be far better environmental stewardship to produce more of our energy here in the U.S., under the watchful eye of U.S. environmental protection agencies.

  • DonS

    Kirk @ 9: Further to my comment @ 10, it is the environmental left (largely relatively wealthy, white liberals), which does not consider the metaphysical and philosophical aspects of their environmental policies in a balanced way. They value a pristine environment in their back yard over the lives of millions of impoverished people, which they willingly sacrifice by denying those people access to cheaper and abundant energy. They are willing to off-shore the production of energy for our needs here in the U.S., exporting the pollution and environmental damage to third world countries having inadequate environmental protection standards, in order to preserve a more pristine environment for them in their coastal multi-million dollar homes. This, despite the fact that it would be far better environmental stewardship to produce more of our energy here in the U.S., under the watchful eye of U.S. environmental protection agencies.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Behold the strawman environmentalist that Don has made (@13)!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Behold the strawman environmentalist that Don has made (@13)!

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    A few random thoughts:

    One of Francis Schaeffer’s most neglected works is Pollution and the Death of Man. Schaeffer recognized that the ecological crisis facing us is real, that it is largely the result of human activity, that Christians have been a large part of the problem, and that an authentic Biblical view of nature is the only solution.

    I view most conservative responses to environmentalism as knee-jerk overreactions. Yes, there are plenty of goofy environmentalist groups out there, many of which have a strongly anti-Christian world view. But that shouldn’t cause us to reject the Biblical mandate for good, sustainable care of the creation.

    I recommend the Republicans for Environmental Protection web site (rep.org)

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    A few random thoughts:

    One of Francis Schaeffer’s most neglected works is Pollution and the Death of Man. Schaeffer recognized that the ecological crisis facing us is real, that it is largely the result of human activity, that Christians have been a large part of the problem, and that an authentic Biblical view of nature is the only solution.

    I view most conservative responses to environmentalism as knee-jerk overreactions. Yes, there are plenty of goofy environmentalist groups out there, many of which have a strongly anti-Christian world view. But that shouldn’t cause us to reject the Biblical mandate for good, sustainable care of the creation.

    I recommend the Republicans for Environmental Protection web site (rep.org)

  • http://somewebsite.somedomain.com Christian Soldier

    Pull children out of the propaganda oriented public ed. system–
    Teach them how to read (phonics et. al.) write -and knowledge of math skills-
    Teach true history not re-written history >>>both of the founding of the US and then world history—
    Teach that stewardship as an economical asset …
    C-CS

  • http://somewebsite.somedomain.com Christian Soldier

    Pull children out of the propaganda oriented public ed. system–
    Teach them how to read (phonics et. al.) write -and knowledge of math skills-
    Teach true history not re-written history >>>both of the founding of the US and then world history—
    Teach that stewardship as an economical asset …
    C-CS

  • Mike

    The idea of “apocalyptic nature-worship” on the left confuses me. I know very few people on the left who view conservation issues as “nature worship.” Most people I know view the issue in terms of simple environmentalism: they enjoy living in an environment free of pollution and blight. Growing up in LA in the 1960s, my eyes burned in the summer and my lungs hurt when I played for long stretches at a time. It sure seems better today. If so, and if it’s even partly due to “nature-worship” then I’m all for it.

    On the other hand, as a conservative Christian, I view the human condition as completely capable of generating an apocalyptic environmental self-destruction. Why are we so optimistic about human nature to believe that we cannot bring about our own demise through despoiling God’s world? The history of redemption is a history of the failure of humanity juxtaposed against the success of God. I’m not a scientist, and perhaps anthropogenic climate change is a hoax (in my view, very few people have the scientific literacy to make a judgment one way or the other). However, from a theological point of view, ACC is completely plausible.

  • Mike

    The idea of “apocalyptic nature-worship” on the left confuses me. I know very few people on the left who view conservation issues as “nature worship.” Most people I know view the issue in terms of simple environmentalism: they enjoy living in an environment free of pollution and blight. Growing up in LA in the 1960s, my eyes burned in the summer and my lungs hurt when I played for long stretches at a time. It sure seems better today. If so, and if it’s even partly due to “nature-worship” then I’m all for it.

    On the other hand, as a conservative Christian, I view the human condition as completely capable of generating an apocalyptic environmental self-destruction. Why are we so optimistic about human nature to believe that we cannot bring about our own demise through despoiling God’s world? The history of redemption is a history of the failure of humanity juxtaposed against the success of God. I’m not a scientist, and perhaps anthropogenic climate change is a hoax (in my view, very few people have the scientific literacy to make a judgment one way or the other). However, from a theological point of view, ACC is completely plausible.

  • Z

    When people honor polar bears more than us, we’re into a worship that’s may be beyond fixing?
    We need to remind the media that the leftwing lies are untrue; that we DO care about the environment but that we’re realistic and we listen to ALL SIDES, not just the pro Algore side.
    I wish my husband were here, he could help Mike out with the “ACC is completely plausible” line. Apparently, it’s really not, according to many scientists….though it’s tempting to think so since the information we get from our Gore-worshiping media seems to lean in that direction. There are many scientists who say that, were we to do everything possible to curb the people part of whatever warming might be happening (and it’s really cooling..), we’d only be helping about 1%.

  • Z

    When people honor polar bears more than us, we’re into a worship that’s may be beyond fixing?
    We need to remind the media that the leftwing lies are untrue; that we DO care about the environment but that we’re realistic and we listen to ALL SIDES, not just the pro Algore side.
    I wish my husband were here, he could help Mike out with the “ACC is completely plausible” line. Apparently, it’s really not, according to many scientists….though it’s tempting to think so since the information we get from our Gore-worshiping media seems to lean in that direction. There are many scientists who say that, were we to do everything possible to curb the people part of whatever warming might be happening (and it’s really cooling..), we’d only be helping about 1%.

  • John C

    Isn’t stewardship synonymous with exploitation?
    Has not stewardship provided the moral justification for the industialised production of food without taking into account community and enviromental consequences? Is anyone on this blog aware of the link between the suicide rate of Indian farmers and the introduction of Masanto’s genetically modified cotton?
    How does the industrialised production of pork sit with the notion of stewardship?
    And hasn’t the notion of poor stewardship provided the moral justification for the removal of native people from their traditional lands?

  • John C

    Isn’t stewardship synonymous with exploitation?
    Has not stewardship provided the moral justification for the industialised production of food without taking into account community and enviromental consequences? Is anyone on this blog aware of the link between the suicide rate of Indian farmers and the introduction of Masanto’s genetically modified cotton?
    How does the industrialised production of pork sit with the notion of stewardship?
    And hasn’t the notion of poor stewardship provided the moral justification for the removal of native people from their traditional lands?

  • DonS

    John C: POOR stewardship might result in exploitation, but the principles of biblical stewardship necessarily balance the good and the harm which might result from a particular action in managing a resource. I’m not familiar with the Masanto issue in India, and whether Masanto (Monsanto?) was alleging the practice of biblical stewardship. As for your last two points, referencing industrialized pork and the historical displacement of native peoples from their lands, I’m not really sure how that relates to environmental management or the principles of stewardship.

  • DonS

    John C: POOR stewardship might result in exploitation, but the principles of biblical stewardship necessarily balance the good and the harm which might result from a particular action in managing a resource. I’m not familiar with the Masanto issue in India, and whether Masanto (Monsanto?) was alleging the practice of biblical stewardship. As for your last two points, referencing industrialized pork and the historical displacement of native peoples from their lands, I’m not really sure how that relates to environmental management or the principles of stewardship.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 14: I’m not really sure, in your new role as a drive-by cheap shot taker, whether you wanted a response to your comment. However, surely you are familiar with the Kennedy’s, including the uber-environmentalist, Robert, and others on Martha’s Vineyard, who were unwilling to cotton to the placement of beautiful green energy windmills offshore from their lovely homes, even though they still tend to flick on their lights every night. And surely you are aware of the many, many U.S. environmentalists who refuse to even allow for the possibility of offshore oil drilling, shale oil drilling, building land-based windmill farms (because of the birds, you know), or building new power lines to transmit electricity from desert-based solar farms. Yet they fly to their environmental conferences in their private jets, drive their kids to private school in their SUV’s, and expect the lights to come on whenever they flip the switch. Where do they think that energy they consume will come from, if not from the U.S.? We know where it comes from — third world countries which have no substantive environmental controls in place.

    “Strawman environmentalist”? Posh. But, if you want to back up your baseless charge, I’m all ears.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 14: I’m not really sure, in your new role as a drive-by cheap shot taker, whether you wanted a response to your comment. However, surely you are familiar with the Kennedy’s, including the uber-environmentalist, Robert, and others on Martha’s Vineyard, who were unwilling to cotton to the placement of beautiful green energy windmills offshore from their lovely homes, even though they still tend to flick on their lights every night. And surely you are aware of the many, many U.S. environmentalists who refuse to even allow for the possibility of offshore oil drilling, shale oil drilling, building land-based windmill farms (because of the birds, you know), or building new power lines to transmit electricity from desert-based solar farms. Yet they fly to their environmental conferences in their private jets, drive their kids to private school in their SUV’s, and expect the lights to come on whenever they flip the switch. Where do they think that energy they consume will come from, if not from the U.S.? We know where it comes from — third world countries which have no substantive environmental controls in place.

    “Strawman environmentalist”? Posh. But, if you want to back up your baseless charge, I’m all ears.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    John C: That is not stewardship. Merriam webster defines stewardship (in this context) as

    2 : the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially : the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care

    You are simply confusing the terms. And as to your last point, language is frequently misused to serve a given agenda. That doesn’t mean that we should accept it.

    What you are describing is plundering. A bit like Cortez or Pizarro.

    But as to Gene’s general point here, and in support of Kevin, my fellow Geologist, we should be careful of landing in the opposite ditch. Careful management of resources would include responsible agriculture, mining and industry, limitation of pollution etc etc. But that takes effort, trouble and a lot of serious footwork. The radical environmentalist agenda, and its “drill baby drill” counterpart are both easy cop-outs. As a geologist and one-time farmer, I understand where things come from. I understand what it takes to keep an economy rolling. And I also understand that resources are not infinite. But see, trying to get ones head around these issues is just to difficult. Either ignore it, or believe in silver bullets. Either way, we’re screwed.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    John C: That is not stewardship. Merriam webster defines stewardship (in this context) as

    2 : the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially : the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care

    You are simply confusing the terms. And as to your last point, language is frequently misused to serve a given agenda. That doesn’t mean that we should accept it.

    What you are describing is plundering. A bit like Cortez or Pizarro.

    But as to Gene’s general point here, and in support of Kevin, my fellow Geologist, we should be careful of landing in the opposite ditch. Careful management of resources would include responsible agriculture, mining and industry, limitation of pollution etc etc. But that takes effort, trouble and a lot of serious footwork. The radical environmentalist agenda, and its “drill baby drill” counterpart are both easy cop-outs. As a geologist and one-time farmer, I understand where things come from. I understand what it takes to keep an economy rolling. And I also understand that resources are not infinite. But see, trying to get ones head around these issues is just to difficult. Either ignore it, or believe in silver bullets. Either way, we’re screwed.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@21), feel free to call it a “cheap shot” if you want, but I’m simply not willing to invest the time in disabusing you of the notions you seem to revel in. About all I have the energy to do is to point out the ridiculous strawman you’ve constructed. But your insistence on continuing with this caricature makes me all the less likely to try to persuade you otherwise.

    If you can’t see from your own comments how you consistently demonize an entire movement based on a few extreme examples, while at the same time excusing away anything on “your side” that you don’t feel should be held against you … then what can I say to change your mind?

    I mean, you seriously seem to think that Al Gore and Robert Kennedy are exemplary of the entire environmentalist movement. And that the entire movement should be held accountable for their actions. What can one say in response to that? You actually buy into their hype more than many environmentalists — but only so you can demonize them and anything else you choose to attach to them.

    It’s like arguing that the whole of rock ‘n’ roll consists of men wearing kabuki makeup playing flaming guitars while wearing thick-soled boots, all because you saw a KISS video and heard that they were very popular — and then going on to mock artists like Paul Simon for rock ‘n’ roll’s ridiculous stage antics.

    … To pull a metaphor out of the air, as it were.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@21), feel free to call it a “cheap shot” if you want, but I’m simply not willing to invest the time in disabusing you of the notions you seem to revel in. About all I have the energy to do is to point out the ridiculous strawman you’ve constructed. But your insistence on continuing with this caricature makes me all the less likely to try to persuade you otherwise.

    If you can’t see from your own comments how you consistently demonize an entire movement based on a few extreme examples, while at the same time excusing away anything on “your side” that you don’t feel should be held against you … then what can I say to change your mind?

    I mean, you seriously seem to think that Al Gore and Robert Kennedy are exemplary of the entire environmentalist movement. And that the entire movement should be held accountable for their actions. What can one say in response to that? You actually buy into their hype more than many environmentalists — but only so you can demonize them and anything else you choose to attach to them.

    It’s like arguing that the whole of rock ‘n’ roll consists of men wearing kabuki makeup playing flaming guitars while wearing thick-soled boots, all because you saw a KISS video and heard that they were very popular — and then going on to mock artists like Paul Simon for rock ‘n’ roll’s ridiculous stage antics.

    … To pull a metaphor out of the air, as it were.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 23: Fine. If you are not willing to invest the time to comment intelligently on a particular thread, no problem. I make that choice regarding many threads. We are all busy. But to just take a personal shot at someone, with no basis or support, then run off, is unproductive and unhelpful. Moreover, “disabusing” someone of their “notions” is a pretty insulting and dismissive approach to take, as well. It’s not likely to be persuasive, is rancorous and arrogant, and, ultimately, a complete waste of time.

    I recognize that not all environmentalists are extreme. But, the ones who are in power certainly are. And they are the ones we are fighting. I cited a few specific examples of those prominent in the environmental movement because, well, what else am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to provide, on a blog comment, a comprehensive list of every offender? Am I supposed to caveat every comment with “well, not every single environmentalist is like this”. Am I to ignore the fact that, for the AGW conference in Copenhagen, the Danish airport had to prepare for a larger cadre of private jets than ever before in history? I mean, shouldn’t the leaders of a movement which is demanding such sacrificial and immediate action, regardless of cost in treasure and human lives, lead by example by being responsible in their own energy consumption? Or is conservation just for the little people? Am I wrong in characterizing the environmental movement as largely run by the liberal white elite? Show me the people of color, or those of limited means who are spearheading these matters. You won’t find them, because they are more concerned about immediate economic issues and how they are possibly going to pay for increasingly expensive green and imported energy. Here in California, though we already have AB 32, which requires a cap and trade CO2 emissions system by 2012, we cannot get power transmission lines or windmills built, because of environmental roadblocks. Does that make sense to you? Does it make sense to you that we offshore our energy production to unregulated third world countries? I’m just askin? If you are going to accuse me of creating “straw men”, you have a responsibility to back it up. And, on this issue, I’ve never seen you step up and do so.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 23: Fine. If you are not willing to invest the time to comment intelligently on a particular thread, no problem. I make that choice regarding many threads. We are all busy. But to just take a personal shot at someone, with no basis or support, then run off, is unproductive and unhelpful. Moreover, “disabusing” someone of their “notions” is a pretty insulting and dismissive approach to take, as well. It’s not likely to be persuasive, is rancorous and arrogant, and, ultimately, a complete waste of time.

    I recognize that not all environmentalists are extreme. But, the ones who are in power certainly are. And they are the ones we are fighting. I cited a few specific examples of those prominent in the environmental movement because, well, what else am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to provide, on a blog comment, a comprehensive list of every offender? Am I supposed to caveat every comment with “well, not every single environmentalist is like this”. Am I to ignore the fact that, for the AGW conference in Copenhagen, the Danish airport had to prepare for a larger cadre of private jets than ever before in history? I mean, shouldn’t the leaders of a movement which is demanding such sacrificial and immediate action, regardless of cost in treasure and human lives, lead by example by being responsible in their own energy consumption? Or is conservation just for the little people? Am I wrong in characterizing the environmental movement as largely run by the liberal white elite? Show me the people of color, or those of limited means who are spearheading these matters. You won’t find them, because they are more concerned about immediate economic issues and how they are possibly going to pay for increasingly expensive green and imported energy. Here in California, though we already have AB 32, which requires a cap and trade CO2 emissions system by 2012, we cannot get power transmission lines or windmills built, because of environmental roadblocks. Does that make sense to you? Does it make sense to you that we offshore our energy production to unregulated third world countries? I’m just askin? If you are going to accuse me of creating “straw men”, you have a responsibility to back it up. And, on this issue, I’ve never seen you step up and do so.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I said this on a different thread, but I really don’t think you’re being at all fair in how you consider evidence. When someone on the right (with whom you apparently side) is being smeared, no anecdote seems to count, no single bit of evidence is a good example.

    Even when James Dobson — for the love of Pete, James Dobson! — leads an prayer to oppose the health care bill, you say, “I also don’t think that you can take a singular event like that and paint the entire “religious right” with having that approach.” And yet there is no end of anecdotes and examples from you with which the entire environmental movement can be tarred. Al Gore! Robert Kennedy!

    If you’re going to cherry-pick like that, does it really matter what I argue?

    “Show me the people of color, or those of limited means who are spearheading these matters.” As to the former, oh, I don’t know … I think the President is black now. Last time I checked. As to the latter, show me the people of limited means who are spearheading anything in the news.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I said this on a different thread, but I really don’t think you’re being at all fair in how you consider evidence. When someone on the right (with whom you apparently side) is being smeared, no anecdote seems to count, no single bit of evidence is a good example.

    Even when James Dobson — for the love of Pete, James Dobson! — leads an prayer to oppose the health care bill, you say, “I also don’t think that you can take a singular event like that and paint the entire “religious right” with having that approach.” And yet there is no end of anecdotes and examples from you with which the entire environmental movement can be tarred. Al Gore! Robert Kennedy!

    If you’re going to cherry-pick like that, does it really matter what I argue?

    “Show me the people of color, or those of limited means who are spearheading these matters.” As to the former, oh, I don’t know … I think the President is black now. Last time I checked. As to the latter, show me the people of limited means who are spearheading anything in the news.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 25: I answered you on that other thread, so I don’t need to repeat that here.

    As to the president, do you consider him to be an environmental leader? It was not something he ever did prior to ascending to the office, and, while he claims to support the AGW prevention agenda of the radical environmental left, I don’t really see him putting any effort into it. That’s why it is not going anywhere.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 25: I answered you on that other thread, so I don’t need to repeat that here.

    As to the president, do you consider him to be an environmental leader? It was not something he ever did prior to ascending to the office, and, while he claims to support the AGW prevention agenda of the radical environmental left, I don’t really see him putting any effort into it. That’s why it is not going anywhere.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@26), do I consider Obama to be an “environmental leader”? No. But by your standards, he is — he’s going to Copenhagen, after all.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@26), do I consider Obama to be an “environmental leader”? No. But by your standards, he is — he’s going to Copenhagen, after all.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 27: By my standards? By my standards, no he isn’t. He is attending Copenhagen as the U.S. president, not as an environmental movement leader.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 27: By my standards? By my standards, no he isn’t. He is attending Copenhagen as the U.S. president, not as an environmental movement leader.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@28), do you remember when you said, “Am I to ignore the fact that, for the AGW conference in Copenhagen, the Danish airport had to prepare for a larger cadre of private jets than ever before in history? I mean, shouldn’t the leaders of a movement which is demanding such sacrificial and immediate action, regardless of cost in treasure and human lives, lead by example by being responsible in their own energy consumption?”

    Do you note how you imply there that everyone flying into Copenhagen was one of “the leaders of [the] movement”?

    How many of those private jets belonged to national political leaders and their delegations? Do you know? If we excluded all the leaders’ jets, would your situation have been such a striking example of hypocrisy? And if we do exclude them, isn’t that an example of the kind of exceptionalism you deplore?

    In short, if you’re going to use the number of private jets in Copenhagen to score a point against the “movement”, then by that standard, Obama is part of that movement.

    Unless, of course, you have actual data on the number of private jets taken by people not affiliated with national leaders.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@28), do you remember when you said, “Am I to ignore the fact that, for the AGW conference in Copenhagen, the Danish airport had to prepare for a larger cadre of private jets than ever before in history? I mean, shouldn’t the leaders of a movement which is demanding such sacrificial and immediate action, regardless of cost in treasure and human lives, lead by example by being responsible in their own energy consumption?”

    Do you note how you imply there that everyone flying into Copenhagen was one of “the leaders of [the] movement”?

    How many of those private jets belonged to national political leaders and their delegations? Do you know? If we excluded all the leaders’ jets, would your situation have been such a striking example of hypocrisy? And if we do exclude them, isn’t that an example of the kind of exceptionalism you deplore?

    In short, if you’re going to use the number of private jets in Copenhagen to score a point against the “movement”, then by that standard, Obama is part of that movement.

    Unless, of course, you have actual data on the number of private jets taken by people not affiliated with national leaders.

  • DonS

    tODD:

    Air Force One is not a private jet, nor was it counted as one in the article I read. Similarly, the count excluded the rather public jets of other national leaders.

  • DonS

    tODD:

    Air Force One is not a private jet, nor was it counted as one in the article I read. Similarly, the count excluded the rather public jets of other national leaders.

  • Mike

    I sure like it when people actually read what people have to say before they comment. I say, “from a theological point of view, ACC [anthropogenic climate change] is completely plausible,” and Z (#18 above)says, “I wish my husband were here, he could help Mike out with the “ACC is completely plausible” line. Apparently, it’s really not, according to many scientists…”

    My point was that I have no idea regarding the scientific merits of the debate. I’m not a scientist, and I think only scientists and probably only climate and earth scientists have the expertise to enter into this debate. Why is Z changing the context from theology to science?

    However, I do know something about theology, and from a theological point of view, ACC is completely plausible.

  • Mike

    I sure like it when people actually read what people have to say before they comment. I say, “from a theological point of view, ACC [anthropogenic climate change] is completely plausible,” and Z (#18 above)says, “I wish my husband were here, he could help Mike out with the “ACC is completely plausible” line. Apparently, it’s really not, according to many scientists…”

    My point was that I have no idea regarding the scientific merits of the debate. I’m not a scientist, and I think only scientists and probably only climate and earth scientists have the expertise to enter into this debate. Why is Z changing the context from theology to science?

    However, I do know something about theology, and from a theological point of view, ACC is completely plausible.


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