CNN had the democratic debate on the other night, and no one talked about the environment-at least not while I was watching. And in today’s NY times, they talked about a few of the candidates’ positions, which are pitifully weak. 2050, 2030 are too late–I want a candidate who will say "50% decrease in greenhouse gass emissions by 2015" or something equally drastic. We’re talking about the future of humanity here! drastic problems demand drastic solutions!
Many people claim "it will cause economic contraction, it will cause people to lose their jobs… well, what about all the people in bangladesh who will permanently lose their homes, or Manhattan, or anywhere else that’s at sea level? If you lose your job in the coal mine, you can get a job as a wind turbine technician–it’s better for you to be outside in the fresh air anyway.
The way I see the government is that the government is supposed to be like your parents: the government is supposed to tell you what to do and what not to do, within reason of course. The government exists to know better than the average joe. I pay my taxes, they pay for Betty to go to the south pole and watch the ice melt, her research tells the people in washington (and better New York) that we had better turn down the heat. The government is supposed to protect its citizens–from outside forces (like al Quaeda) and from ourselves.
Having met a lot of middle americans on my bike and build trip, I have even less faith in democracy now than I had before. A few years ago, I hear of Wikipedia described as Digital Maoism: a veneer of collectivsm controlled by a small group of motivated (and for the most part smart) people. That’s how I think the government should be run. I don’t trust the nebraskans and brooklynites and pakistanis–I trust Walter LaFeber and Mark Sorells and Gro Brundtland. they are experts–and highly educated. I don’t think the average american or average world citizen is educated enough for democracy to work–we’re barely muddling through as it is… and that’s not going to be good enough.
The next few decades will prove to be some of the most important in the history of humanity. events that seem big, like WWII don’t even compare (perhaps the cold war counts, there was at least the possibility of omnicide had people gone over the edge). The future hangs in the balance–and I want some people to lay down the law on me and everyone else so we will survive. The paradigm is totally different than any other time in history: business as usual = death. the exact opposite of the cold war situation (everyone stays cool, nobody dies).