Green Conservatism II
A reader writes:
I am not a political conservative, but I am a passionate environmentalist, and your article startled me into the realization that the source of my own environmental commitment is essentially conservative: a love for the natural world as we have received it and an intense determination that it not be lost forever. I am certain that I am not alone, and your insight is likely to alert other liberals/progressives to an unsuspected wellspring of conservatism within themselves. Is it possible that there are far more true conservatives among us than we have been able to acknowledge?
Better yet, you've made the case that conservatives have at least a good a claim on — and obligation to — policies to protect the environment as those on the left. Case closed, I think — and in ten years, let us hope, people will marvel that it was ever open in the first place. The goal of environmental protection is fundamentally beyond politics, uniting those all across the political spectrum. We should go from disputing this to a lively debate about means: conservative vs. progressive, private initiatives vs. government actions, incentives to industry vs. regulatory requirements. Let the debate begin, and let no possible solution — including, absolutely, no conservative solution — go unexplored or unadvocated. And if the conservative solutions prove to be more effective than those espoused by the left, what a victory for the planet — and for conservatism — that would be!
So to conservatives who share your insight, I say: you have no idea how much we environmentalists of other persuasions have needed you, missed you, and been baffled by your absence. Welcome home.