I need to link to one, very important post. I believe this group should be dedicated to truth above all else. A civilized discussion of what is the truth and which truths matter the most, to be sure. But, to truth nonetheless. Further, as I’ve said many times, different people have different personal and political values, so the same set of facts can imply different political choices to different folks, and each side’s choices can still be legitimate.
However, one of the most importasnt bigger picture truths these days is that our politics has changed dramatically since many of us formed our opinions, especially on environmental issues, where our political knowledge tends to be frozen in the 1970s. For any topic related to the environment that we discuss, it is very important to understand how radical the Republican party has grown on environmental issues generally — in just a very short period of time. This environmental economist, who normally writes on technical stuff, points out what has never been true before, but now is:
For most of modern American history, the two major political parties in America have largely agreed on the desired long-term environmental outcomes for the country: there was a consensus among Republicans and Democrats that it was a good thing to press for cleaner air and water, less toxins in the environment, biodiversity preservation, and mitigation strategies for clean energy and, mostly recently, climate change.
The disagreements were largely centered around how to achieve these outcomes, and to some extent the pace of change and the absolute targets. Democrats by and large preferred a heavier regulatory approach (i.e. “command and control”)…Republicans tended to support more market-oriented policies, with cap and trade foremost among them.
Nowadays, the arguments are no longer over the methods to achieve environmental progress, but whether we should support such progress in the first place. This situation is unprecedented…The modern Republican Party has absolutely no affirmative environmental agenda whatsoever, and goes so far as to contest the entire rationale for continued environmental progress. Ironically, this extremely reactionary environmental agenda is coming at a time when the ideas that Republicans once championed are now widely accepted as the best ways to structure environmental policy.
I have been involved in environmental policy for almost 20 years and have never seen anything like the current Republican assault on the environment. It is truly astounding…There is absolutely nothing “free market” about letting polluters trash the environment for free.
Read the entire post here. If you’re not sure what “radical” positions the guy is talking about, ask me. It is NOT just climate change denial: It’s their belief that all environmental laws are unconstitutional and immoral, and should be repealed or quitely strangled behind the scenes. That enforcment of existing regulations should be gutted at all levels. And on and on.
I wonder if the American public is so used to taking an improving environment for granted that they are unaware how fragile that progress is. Maybe we could discuss that on Thursday, too.