“Society…is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art;
a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection.
As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations,
it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living,
but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.”
| Edmund Burke lived just prior to the start of the Industrial Revolution, but the words of the founder of conservatism remain as true as the day he wrote them. Conservatives see themselves as part of nature. We value the natural and man made treasures handed down by our ancestors. We see ourselves as caretakers of the order of society and nature that have been carefully developed over time. Included in this respect for the existing order is respect for the Earth. Despite the common wisdom, there is no divergence between true environmentalism and classical conservatism. The divergence is really between progressive environmentalism, which is really a disguise for Marxist economics, and real action to protect the environment. So much of what we call environmentalism is really hatred for human advancement and an unthinking acceptance of nonsensical myth.
Today’s society has been fooled into accepting feel good-knee jerk efforts to “save the planet”. Simple things like paper bags vs. plastic bags vs. reusable cloth bags go unquestioned. The idea that not printing out an email will somehow save the planet is accepted as common sense, when it really has zero effect on the environment. Recycling is accepted as good citizenship, without a thought to the wasted time, energy, and resources needed to reprocess our trash. Renewable energy is given a pass for the multiple ways that it endangers the planet. Electric cars (“coal burning cars”) give owners the sense that they have a pious superiority over the gun toting pick up truck driver. It just isn’t politically correct to question the science behind the manufacturing process of green cars, solar panels, and windmills.
Go through any northern liberal urban area and you will see how big government has scared our planet. Trash filled wastelands, tarnished by unsightly public housing and government offices, weed filled highways and neglected infrastructure make huge areas of our country ugly and unnatural. Look at almost any mega-environmental disaster, from the destruction of the Aral Sea by the Soviets, the Three Gorges Dam by the Chinese, the multitude of military wastelands generated by the U.S. government, the waste of water resources in the U.S. West, and we see that big government is the biggest threat to our planet.
The growth of capitalism, social order brought about by unleashing individual liberty, and the squashing of monarchy, oligarchy, and despotism have allowed humankind to advance in ways never seen in the many thousands of years of organized society. Fossil fuel freed us from the pollution of dung and wood fuel. It gave us the ability to travel and relocate and communicate in ways that were unimagined 200 years ago. Yes, we had a period of waste and uncaring pollution, but now, the free market is what is making our air and water cleaner. Don’t let the progressives fool you into thinking otherwise.
Conservatives should support thoughtful conservation of resources. We are but caretakers of the planet. The gift of wondrous natural beauty and treasure was passed onto us by those who came before. We have a duty to leave our planet cleaner than we found it so that future generations can enjoy it. As Edmund Burke said, “it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.”