The difference between Arbor Day and Earth Day is the difference between planting a tree in your backyard and e-mailing a machine-written plea for a global warming treaty to your UN representative. –Bill Kauffman
Jonathan Rauch has a wonderful article on John McCain’s conservatism with the tag line “John McCain hasn’t betrayed conservatism; his party has.” It’s a good look at some of the reasons Conservatism will be much better off with McCain setting the tone than someone like Bush (who’s about as far from conservatism in some areas as Obama is in others).
Alert Washingtonians were treated to an odd juxtaposition not long ago. John McCain was booed at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the big annual gathering of the right-wing tribes, while trying to establish that he was a conservative. On the same day, across town at the American Enterprise Instituteâ€”another conservative strongholdâ€”Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, was warmly received when he touted a new book called Real Change. Never one to go underboard, GingÂrich called for â€œexplosively replac[ing] the failed bureaucracies of the past.â€
The irony of the contrast seemed lost on conservatives. No one in the movement doubts Gingrich is a real, no-kidding conservative. Many doubt that McCain is. Some flatly flunk him. Thus spake James Dobson, the head of Focus on the Family and a leader of the Christian right: â€œI am convinced Senator McCain is not a conservative.â€ Heâ€™s not one of us, these conservatives have insisted.
I went to a book reading a few months ago and someone quoted this selection from the letters of J.R.R. Tolkein. It is from a letter he wrote to his son Christopher during the latters service in the RAF in South Africa. I ordered a copy of the book so that I could read the rest of the letter(s) as well. I thought this was particularly poignant and as applicable today as it was during World War Two, perhaps more so.
Your service is, of course, as anybody with any intelligence and ears and eyes knows, a very bad one, living on the repute of a few gallant men, and you are probably in a particularly bad corner of it. But all Big Things planned in a big way feel like that to the toad under the harrow, though on a general view they do function and do their job. An ultimately evil job. For we are attempting to conquer Sauron with the Ring. And we shall (it seems) succeed. But the penalty is, as you will know, to breed new Saurons, and slowly turn Men and Elves into Orcs. Not that in real life things are as clear cut as in a story, and we started out with a great many Orcs on our side… Well, there you are: a hobbit amongst the Urukhai. Keep your hobbitry in heart, and think that all stories feel like that when you are in them. You are inside a very great story!1
I ran across a new blog for conservatives who are concerned about the environment and conservation. It’s called Terra Rossa, and they’ve posted this interesting video on their site. Our dependence upon oil has caused America untold grief (indeed, dependence upon other countries for energy has caused a number of conflicts–and, in addition to general imperialism–motivated Japan in many of its conquests prior to and during the second World War, given that Japan has such a dearth of natural resources). President Bush is the one who said that America is addicted to oil. Addicts do harmful and foolish things to themselves, their families and friends, as well as other innocents, in order to feed their addiction. If we can’t break our addiction, we will certainly wake up from our oil induced trance down the road and look at what we’ve done and be ashamed–with reason.