Sunday, November 26, 2006

Global Warming and Conservatives

The Washington Post ran an article in Sunday's edition about how, even as the Bush Administration dithers about how to combat global warming, governments, businesses and animals in affected areas are making adjustments. Animals adjust by moving habitats. Businesses adjust by trying to change their operations. Local governments adjust by taking action on their own. (Here is the link for the article: ).

Global warming will be to this generation of conservatives what the Great Depression was to the generation of the 1920s: an event that will discredit their philosophy for 50 years or more. In the 1920s, conservatives had succeeded in capturing control of the presidency and both branches of Congress. Republican pro-business philosophy was dominant. Conservatives had seen the election of Harding and Hoover. (Harding, of course, died in office and so Coolidge finished out his term). Harding was apparently an amiable dunce and Hoover a pretty bright engineer. America was seemingly enjoying the prosperity of the Roaring 20s. Then along came the stock market crash, which woke everyone up, followed by the worsening of a depression that had been afflicting the farm belt. All of a sudden a market based philosophy that claimed that government had little or no role in solving America's problems was a luxury that Americans could not afford, and so, with amazing speed, they elected FDR. From 1932-1968, Democrats occupied the White House for all but eight years. They controlled the Congress from 1932 until 1946 and then again from 1954 to 1994, a remarkable record of political dominance.

The reason why all of this occurred is that conservatives couldn't cope with a problem that defied their ideology. They put their faith in the marketplace and that faith failed them. Some problems are just too big, too enormous to be solved without the assistance of an activist national government. The Great Depression was one such problem and so is global warming. What Democrats and progressives have to do is seize this opportunity and start talking about governmental solutions to this problem.

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