Sunday, September 07, 2008
Of course, Palin is an environmental sceptic; this also enhances her standing as the unleasher of the chthonic forces of the 'base'. She will be further enhanced by the recommendation from the United Nations that we should eat less beef. The 'base' hates the UN as much as it loves beef and it loves beef as fervently as it disbelieves in anthropogenic global warming. This is a further example of the way in which contemporary conservatives do not understand conservatism. The primary message of environmentalism is that we should be very wary indeed of disturbing complex systems. It is now beyond doubt that we are disturbing the complex system of the planet by chucking 26 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. The effects of this are uncertain but they are not likely to promote human flourishing. Not disturbing complex systems is as true of the human world as it is of the non-human. Edmund Burke, the true conservative, was an early complexity scientist. In fact, it is the very essence of real conservatism not to want to disturb complex systems in the forms of human cultures and practices. It is baffling, therefore, that a proud badge worn by many contemporary 'conservatives' is that of eco-sceptic. Leaving out the science and the unknown outcomes, they should, on principle, reject any and all radical human disturbance of the planetary system. But, corrupted by anti-conservative ideologies like neoliberalism and neoconservatism, they don't.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:33 am