Politics of Climate Change

Politics of Climate Change

What a strange presidential race we’re witnessing. Though in one sense, I’m kind of loving it. For so many years now, I’ve been chomping at the bit to have my website up, while a presidential race was under way; and now, that day is finally here. This — 2016 — marks the first presidential race where my website has been up and running. Why have I for so many years yearned to have my website up while a presidential race was underway? Because how better to underscore my main points than by letting others do that work for me? Each and every time one of them opens their mouth, they demonstrate all the things I keep saying, about how far off course we are, and about how we keep going in the wrong direction, entirely. Do they ever talk about environmental issues (in a substantive way)? No; never. You never hear serious, meaningful, substantive discussion about how to address the fact that, for example, in a very short span of time, mankind will have wiped out more than half the ecosystems on this planet (and will be well on course towards wiping out the remainder, in similarly short order).

While on the subject of this 2016 presidential race, let me give my thoughts on how things are currently shaping up so far. First, I don’t like any of the candidates. At all!. That should go without saying; but it nevertheless needs to be stated. In fact, as I often say, if I had a magic wand and could put anyone in the Oval Office, I don’t know of anyone (alive today), who comes remotely close to being someone I would feel good about putting in that position. Doesn’t that one simple fact speak volumes as to how far off course we are and how bleak our prospects look?

That said, and while I’m definitively not a fan of any of them, let me say this about the candidacy of Bernie Sanders. Since, in the media, he is constantly written off as not really being a viable candidate, because, well, he is, after all, a “socialist,” I wish he would simply state the following, every time this issue comes up: “Do you know who was also a socialist? [Pause.] Albert Einstein!” Most people don’t know this. Being made aware of this could help create a window of opportunity for getting people to begin to be able to think somewhat objectively about socialism. It would also give his message more resonance and believability. Because any time someone attacks him, in that regard, it could be pointed out that they are, in effect, also attacking Einstein (and who wouldn’t want to have Einstein in their corner, as their virtual debate team partner?).

You can learn more about Einstein’s favorable views concerning socialism, by reading the Wikipedia article “Political views of Albert Einstein,” but here below you can read what Einstein said, in his own words (I’ve made bold, the portion that I most wish to emphasize):

This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future. I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. — Albert Einstein

But let me make another point here as well (as this is also something that many people are still unaware of). While Sen. Sanders generally identifies himself as being a “democratic socialist,” there is a night and day difference between “socialist” and “democratic socialist.” Here’s how Jonathan Cohn describes the difference between the two, in a piece he wrote for The Huffington Post (“Bernie Sanders Is A Socialist And That’s Not As Crazy As It Sounds,” published online, April 30, 2015):

Democratic socialism, as generally conceived in the U.S., is a milder, more aspirational form of the ideology. Democratic socialists might not recoil at the thought of government running large industries, but they don’t actively pursue that goal. Instead, they focus on decidedly less radical objectives — like making the welfare state more generous, giving workers more power, limiting the influence of money on politics and policing the practices of business more closely.

Again, I’m not a Bernie Sanders fan. At best, I suppose he might be the least worst candidate of those that are actually running this election cycle. He’s clearly not a solid environmentalist, in my view. He’s a very single-issue focused candidate; and whenever I see or hear the phrase “income inequality,” I might as well be seeing or hearing this: “Low and lower-income citizens ought to have the same ability to destroy this planet as high and higher-income citizens.” That might be far from what he and others who talk about “income inequality” are trying to accomplish, but basically, that’s what it amounts to — it’s not so much about “income equality,” as much as it’s about “ecological destructiveness equality,” in effect. Think about it. I’ve never heard him talk about how we all, collectively, need to thoroughly reduce the size of our ecological footprint.

Here’s something else I’ll throw into the mix of things to think about while this strange election cycle runs its course. Back in 2006, in The New York Times Book Review, Nick Gilespie reviewed John W. Dean’s The Hard Right (“Conservatives Without Conscience,” July 30, 2006); and, here below, in Gilespie’s own words, is something he stated in that review:

The book draws heavily on the work of the social psychologist Bob Altemeyer, the creator of a scale for measuring “right-wing authoritarian (R.W.A.) tendencies. Dean writes that Altemeyer is “not given to hyperbole in his scholarly work,” yet quotes him as saying that many “High R.W.A..’s” would “attack France, Massachusettes or the moon if the president said it was necessary ‘for freedom.'” Altemeyer says it’s “a scientifically established fact” that political, religious and economic conservatives are High R.W.A.’s, and Dean concludes that our government “is run by an array of authoritarian personalities” who are “dominating, opposed to equality, desirous of personal power, amoral, intimidating … vengeful, pitiless, exploitative, manipulative, dishonest, cheaters, prejudiced, meanspirited, militant, nationalistic and two-faced.” The estimated 20 to 25 percent of High R.W.A.’s among us, he warns, “will take American democracy where no freedom-loving person would want it to go.”

Which candidate does this most remind you of? The one who’s leading in the polls? The one I actually felt sorry for, when he announced his candidacy, because, based upon some of the things he was saying, I concluded he must be suffering from some malady of the mind that was effecting his judgement?

Let me conclude with this humorous aside. When I first heard the phrase “anchor babies,” I thought it was a reference to people like Trump. I thought it meant “babies born on yachts” (an alternative for the “born with a silver spoon in their mouth” cliche). My oops, on both counts. He’s not losing his mind. And he’s not an “anchor baby.” But we are living in interesting times, aren’t we?