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News ::
Conservatives Who Don't Conserve
16 May 2001
A commentary on recent energy policies and those who propose them.


CONSERVATIVES WHO DON’T CONSERVE

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.

George W. Bush, like his father before him, is all about Big Oil. His newly unveiled energy policy is not even a thinly veiled version of old Republican energy policies. It reflects the supply-side thinking that has dominated rightwing circles for decades. “MORE” is the motto, as Bush, his corporate handlers, and legions of their 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 recently to blast the Bush administration for its short-sighted energy policy that places no emphasis on energy conservation. It’s an apt metaphor 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 unretrievable. And these people call themselves conservatives?

They conserve only their own privilege in a world running short on ecological options. 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 occupant in the White House? 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, or a renewal of the ill-conceived nuclear power industry? We don’t think so.

Actually, the Democrats’ counter energy plan reads 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.
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