Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Courageous Conservative: Listen to Scientists on Global Warming

Bob Inglis, a respected conservative columnist over at Business Week magazine, is calling out the Republican party for ignoring the massive scientific consensus on global warming:
"Normally, the country can count on conservatives to deal in facts. We base policies on science, not sentiment, we insist on people being accountable for their actions, and we maintain that markets, not mandates, are the path to prosperity.

When it comes to energy and climate, these are not normal times. ... Courage fails us when it comes to energy and climate. Fearing our economic circumstances, we've decided to channel the fear rather than to confront it."
These are strong and courageous words coming from a true conservative.

Inglis goes on to advocate one of the best free-market principles ever invented: charge the total cradle-to-grave cost of energy products. Don't just charge what it costs to dig oil and coal out of the ground; add on the cost of 25,000 premature deaths annually from pollution, and the cost of wars and lost lives. If the price of gasoline, coal, natural gas and diesel fuel reflected the real cost, a free-market system would quickly adjust consumption and reduce use.

The dark secret that Inglis fails to mention is that the modern Republican Party is not about conservative principles. It's about money and privilege. If a conservative principle helps Republicans make more money or get more power, they're all for it. But when a conservative principle threatens their industry, profits or influence, they drop it like a hot potato.

It takes courage to be a true conservative. As Inglis says, some principles "get us in trouble with sizable constituencies, and yet we stand for the truth as we know it." Sadly, it's not true. Inglis is a rare exception, a conservative willing to stand by his principles. I salute Inglis for his honesty and courage.

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