Archive for the ‘If Only We Could Shoot Climate Change in the Face’ Category

Bin Laden dead! Now, "If Only We Could Shoot Climate Change in the Face," too!

May 12th, 2011 No comments

Kate Sheppard’s pithy and wistful observation at Mother Jones on May 4, If Only We Could Shoot Climate Change in the Face, seems wryly correct:

Here are excerpts (emphasis added):

Might the death of Osama bin Laden give President Obama a chance to revive a climate and energy bill? That’s what former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson thinks. Via Politico:

“My hope is that from this success in the foreign policy arena two days ago, that he will be emboldened to take once again to the Congress legislation — not just to increase a renewable energy standard — but climate change legislation that this country and the world need,” Richardson said Tuesday at a Climate Leadership Gala hosted by the Earth Day Network in Washington.

It certainly is the case that the bin Laden’s death has put some wind in Obama’s sails. But I don’t think it’s enough wind to change the minds of a House majority that doesn’t even think that the climate is changing, let alone get them to support a bill to deal with it. Unfortunately, passing climate legislation isn’t an issue that American politicians are as unified on as they are about hunting down a terrorist mastermind.

Seems to me that Sheppard is on to something, but fails to really grasp it: citizens are rather easily stirred up by politicians for “defense” reasons to approve extremely costly and counter-productive policies, but not so easily stirred up for other reasons where the threat does not appear as tangible and where it is clear that someone’s ox will be “Gored” (pardon the pun; it fell into my lap here).

Further, the supposed hunt for OBL turned out to be a joyride into Iraq that a wide range of people believe was a failure, but to our defense industry (and  our connected political class) – which has received around a trillion dollars, with the meter still running – and to government itself, which greatly expanded its domestic reach, has been a smashing success.

Sheppard seems to concede that, for the sake of chasing OBL, this was somehow justifiable rather than a scam, and thus is unable to see the hypocrisy of those on the Right who supported the looting and expansion of government power while it benefitted the GOP and friends in the defense industry, but who moan about the “climate scam” because policies proposed will disadvantage their friends while benefitting firms that have politically supported the Left.

One hopes for more people and the left and right who can perceive the rent-seeking games inexorably involved with exercises of power by government. It is only by doing so that problems of collective action be productively and cooperatively addressed.