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The Right’s Climate Change Shame | Andrew Sullivan
For allegedly intelligent conservatives like Stephens and Goldberg to devote energy toward climate skepticism while turning a blind eye to vigorous Republican climate vandalism is, quite simply contemptible. I am not reading their minds here. I’m reading their columns. On this question – as on fiscal policy – they’re not skeptics or conservatives; they are dogmatists, sophists and enablers of environmental vandalism. They reveal Republicanism’s calculated assault on the next generations – piling them with unimaginable debt and environmental chaos. This isn’t the cultural conservatism of Burke; it’s the selfish nihilism of Rand.

Let me finish with a quote. It was the first time a major global leader spoke to the U.N. on the question: “It is life itself — human life, the innumerable species of our planet — that we wantonly destroy. It is life itself that we must battle to preserve … The danger of global warming is as yet unseen but real enough for us to make changes and sacrifices so we may not live at the expense of future generations. That prospect is a new factor in human affairs. It is comparable in its implications to the discovery of how to split the atom, indeed its results could be even more far-reaching … We should always remember that free markets are a means to an end. They would defeat their object if by their output they did more damage to the quality of life through pollution than the well-being they achieve by the production of goods and services.” That leader also made a core moral argument: “No generation has a freehold on this earth; all we have is a life tenancy with a full repairing lease.”

Those words were Margaret Thatcher’s in 1989. She devoted her entire U.N. speech to conservation and climate change. If the subject was real enough in 1989 to make sacrifices and changes, how much more so almost 30 years later? The difference between Thatcher and today’s Republicans is quite a simple one. She believed in science (indeed was trained as a scientist). She grasped the moral dimensions of the stewardship of the earth from one generation to another. She did not engage in the cowardice of sophists. And unlike these tools and fools on today’s American right, she was a conservative.
climate  conservatism  from instapaper
12 days ago by ayjay
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