The “Practical Politics” of a Presumed Plague
William N. Grigg - April 26, 2009
The prospect of nuclear annihilation is dreadful, but difficult to make vivid or tangible to the individual. Unless it’s wedded to a larger narrative — such as an irrepressible conflict between superpowers, or the prospect of nukes in the hands of nihilistic terrorists — the specter of The Bomb has little to offer in terms of “practical politics.”
Much the same can be said of the practical political value of concern over the collapse of the global biosphere through anthropogenic environmental contamination. The revenge of a poisoned planet is the stuff of engaging science fiction and — what’s much the same thing — political careers crowned by Nobel Peace Prizes.
But relatively few people, none of whom would make a bearable dinner companion, share Comrade Gore’s insistence that saving the environment should be the “central organizing principle” of human society. And, come to think of it, people of Gore’s ilk don’t share that perspective, as well: Despite the fact that they would force the rest of us to live like medieval serfs, they’re willing to sacrifice none of the amenities that give them a Sasquatch-sized “carbon footprint.”