Using conservatism as a shield

Posted: May 23, 2016

Do you believe that the earth is round? Or that the sun is at the center of our universe? Or that gravity exists? Do you think that humans need food and water to survive? Well, these are really trick questions, because they aren’t really choices that you get to make. You can’t decide that climate change isn’t real any more than I can negate gravity in order to float.

It’s not possible to deny the facts, and while the debate over whether conservatism works or not is different, I think that using conservatism to justify “not believing” in an objective fact is simply wrong. Instead of not believing, conservative people could put forward a conservative solution, or even change their political stance. If climate change is accepted, each and every person can work to help save the planet on their own, making decisions that can add up over the course of a lifetime.

You and I can’t deny the facts, and as Forrest stated in his article, 97 to 100 percent of scientists agree that humans are causing climate change. It is impossible to argue that climate change simply doesn’t exist, although as Forrest stated, it is possible that someone may deny climate change because the solution to this problem would not coincide with conservative viewpoints of less government.

Apparently, according to Forrest’s article, it would not be “socially acceptable” to admit to a scientific fact if the way to fix this problem requires more government, which is a liberal stance. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not arguing that conservatism is wrong, I’m just saying that using it as a shield so that you don’t have to think about the damage that humans are causing is not a good rationale.

If you think that conservatism is a political stance that works, then there must be a conservative way to deal with climate change. If there is not, then don’t use that viewpoint to say that climate change doesn’t exist. If conservatism has no way to deal with climate change, then maybe consider a different political stance in relation to this issue.

With the Republican presidential race this year being led by the inflammatory and presumptive nominee Donald Trump, and with the very conservative Ted Cruz following him for months (before dropping out), it has become more socially acceptable to be very conservative. Cruz took full advantage of the bizarre things that Trump has said to become more conservative than ever, and people didn’t give Cruz a second glance. In comparison to what Trump said, Cruz wasn’t going to be making any headlines. For example, Ted Cruz told National Public Radio that, “The scientific evidence doesn’t support global warming,” even though the interviewer, Steve Inskeep, was quick to point out that NASA analyzes the same data Cruz was referring to quite differently.

My point is that sticking to very conservative viewpoints has become easier than ever, and while I’m not saying that this is a bad thing for every issue, I think that for climate change, it isn’t possible to reject it as a fact using this rationale. It would be another thing if a conservative accepted it as a fact and put forward a solution, but rejecting it altogether is preposterous.

Now, even for people who do accept the fact of climate change, there is another dilemma: that as just one person, you can’t do anything about it. This argument does not work either. Giving up because you are just one person is a pessimistic way to look at the problem, when in fact there are myriad ways you could help. The most important way to address this issue is to be informed. Being informed allows you to vote for politicians who can have a larger impact than yourself by advocating for climate change in the government. It also allows you to perform actions, however small, that can help the environment. Being informed can also allow you to inform other people, effectively doubling your impact.

Simple things like recycling or using fewer paper towels can add up. If you start taking small actions like these in high school, it can go a long way over the course of a lifetime toward helping our fix an undeniable problem.

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