Conservation and Country Club Republicans – the Common Ground
Question: Until recently, who were the biggest users of battery powered vehicles?
Battery powered vehicles aren’t saving the planet yet. They are still powered ultimately by coal for the most part. But battery powered vehicles have other environmental virtues. They move all the pollution away from the people. Also, they are quiet. Quiet and luxury have long gone hand in hand.
Tesla got its start making luxury sports cars, and Tesla is still a luxury brand. Rich people are paying for the research and development needed to make electric cars practical. This is classic Trickle Down Economics.
(And when solar becomes more practical or nuclear safer, then battery powered cars may well be part of a cleaner, climate stable future. Think of it as a very leisurely, downright stately, way to save the planet.)
Now let us recall where golf if played: at country clubs. Getting a nature fix is not just for hippies and bird watchers; high powered executives like their nature fixes as well.
Indeed, many of the loud voices on the nominal Left are high powered executives, the sort of people who used to be stereotypical Republicans. Have they become Democrats as a means of self protective virtue signaling? Or are they disgusted with James Watts’ use-up-the-planet-the-world’s-coming-to-an-end-soon-anyway philosophy?
Step into a Whole Foods Market. Sure, there is plenty of lefty propaganda on the magazine stands. But just look at those prices! Not cheap. But a lot of that food is delicious. Whole Foods Market is a great place for gourmet shopping. (And the hot bar is mighty good too. Better than most sit down restaurants.) How much of that hippie propaganda is nobless oblige and how much is virtue-signal camouflage?
And so we come to the key insight, the big difference between Deep Environmentalism and the Conservation movement we are trying to build:
Beautiful landscapes, natural habitats populated with interesting creatures, clean air, relief from the noises of civilization...these are all goods. They are worth paying for. People do voluntarily pay for such things, and they would buy more if not for various market failures.
Indeed, many of these things are luxuries. We don’t need to preserve elephants, tigers, and snail darters in order to survive. Humans can survive a much higher air pollution load than we now deem acceptable in the US. We could support a much higher human world population if we were willing to eat Solylent Brown, ride public transport, and make other lifestyle downgrades.
Conservationists of the Country Club variety want to preserve more nature than “necessary” because we like luxuries.
We also believe in inheritance. If all goes well and humanity expands out into space, Earth will likely become a gigantic nature preserve, vacation spot, and farming area for luxury foods. Our descendants will curse our shortsightedness if we wipe out yet more interesting species, or blow up yet more mountaintops.
A Positive Environmental Vision
We don’t need to believe the eco doom scenarios of Paul Ehrlich, Jeremy Rifken, or Richard Heinberg in order to act. We act to make things better because we like Better.
As such, the Eco-Conservative approach to preserving and restoring nature is rather different from Deep Environmentalism.
Opportunity mindset instead of emergency mindset. Instead of trying to convince people that Doom is just around the corner, we look for the cheap, fun, and/or profitable opportunities to preserve and restore the natural environment.
Human oriented. We think nature is to be enjoyed by humans. We are cool with big game hunting, where rich hunters pay the locals to keep dangerous and pesky animals around. (Elephants can really ruin a garden!) We also pay more attention to issues like noise, litter, and light pollution, just because these things can be annoying – to humans.
Economically literate. Numbers and abstractions bother us not. We recognize that billionaires do what we pay them to do. If we pay them to blow up mountains and dig up tar sands, that’s what they will do. If we we tax such dirty activities, the same billionaires will look for cleaner ways to power our homes and cars just to avoid taxes.
Respectful of property. We believe the property rights and environmental protection work together naturally. Instead of reducing property rights via bureaucratic restrictions, we can often do better with positive incentives for hosting endangered species on private property, or opening private property to be used for additional parkland.
Understand fungibility. If we do more than necessary where opportunity calls, we can be imperfect elsewhere. By taking advantage of the low hanging fruit of environmental restoration, we can dispense with a host of annoying environmental regulations. We do not have to do “Everything Possible.”
Light hearted. You will find humor here, including frequent triggers for the professionally sensitive. Let’s have some fun while fixing problems.
Reconciling with Other Flavors of Conservative
As we state on the intro page of this series, our brand of conservative tends to run populist and paleo. These factions don’t always get along so well with the Country Club Republicans. We have our work cut out for us building a big enough coalition.
You cannot have Sustainable Economics without reducing debt, including public debt. That means no more Santa Claus Economics. Some tax loopholes need to go.
On the other hand, making it easier to staff up and down is critical to a greener economy. There are many jobs out there which aren’t being done. Many of these jobs are seasonal or temporary. Simplifying employment and simplifying the tax code are on the agenda. This can be handy when hiring servants for special occasions.
We also have some crime reduction measures in mind so you can locate your mansion in the city without hiring an army of guards.
Please read the materials on this site at a stately pace to see the big picture.