In both venues, some version of the perpetual question will undoubtedly be raised: “How will you pay for the costs of dealing with climate change?”
Despite its pervasiveness, this is a profoundly wrongheaded line of inquiry. Asking how to pay for the impact of climate change implies that these costs are a matter of choice. The reality is that global warming will impose massive costs, regardless of whether policymakers respond or not. Thus, the real question is not “How would you propose to pay?” but instead “Who is going to pay?” and “How much?”
People are already paying for climate change with their lives. Rising temperatures are killing more than 150,000 people every year. This death toll is estimated to increase to 1.5 million people annually by the turn of the century. Some are confronting the likelihood of failed crops; others have been forced to flee floodplains.
This leaves the Tories with a problem. If wealth and power are concentrated, how can you create widespread support for the party that defends the existing economic order?
The answer is to change the subject.
If the Tories talk about economics, it’ll remind people that their rents are astronomical, that they can’t afford a house, that they haven’t had a decent pay rise for years, that their business is struggling and that their savings income has shrunk to nothing. The solution, then, is not to talk about economics. As Philips Stephens says, Johnson wants to frame the election in terms of nationalism, xenophobia and “people vs parliament.” This is why Fiona Bruce was so quick to silence Emily Thornberry when she started to mention food banks; the Tories don’t want to talk about the economy. Their best hope is to shift the debate onto cultural and identity politics.
But in the end this strategy will hit a wall. Or so it would seem at the latest general election here i Denmark. But creating much havoc before the end.
In a series of analyses published recently in the American Journal of Political Science, the three researchers found that people’s moral codes don’t cause or predict their political ideology; instead, people’s ideology appears to predict their answers on the moral-foundations questionnaire. As Peter Hatemi, one of the study’s authors and a political-science professor at Pennsylvania State University, puts it: “We will switch our moral compass depending on how it fits with what we believe politically.”
Buy the plane ticket, quit the job, plan the trip, wander into the unknown, open your heart, take the leap.
And we all know the tune of that dog whistle.
But the core of his work—both writing and activism—has always been after something else: a reckoning with the wrongs of history and identity. He does not want to celebrate an earlier age; instead, like Morris and his peers, Berry wants to come to terms with it in the service of a clear-eyed present and a changed future. “I am forced, against all my hopes and inclinations,” he writes in “A Native Hill,” a 1969 essay, “to regard the history of my people here as the progress of the doom of what I value most in the world: the life and health of the earth, the peacefulness of human communities and households.” Centered on a walk across a slope where Berry’s ancestors and others like them drove out the original inhabitants, the essay confronts how his people worked the land, sometimes with enslaved labor, and left behind a denuded hillside that has shed topsoil into the Kentucky and Ohio rivers. “And so here, in the place I love more than any other,” he observes, “and where I have chosen among all other places to live my life, I am more painfully divided within myself than I could be in any other place.”
The dystopian doomsday scenarios about overpopulation, from Malthus to Paul Ehrlich have not materialised. Many who remain committed to such a view tell us it is still just only a matter of time. They were purposefully resorted to exaggeration and even fabrication to bolster their arguments. Socialists have been rebutting the alarmists since the 19th Century. Those environmentalists who focus upon zero population growth will find instead of overpopulation, the world’s problem is underpopulation, first in the affluent West, and then most likely the rest of the developing world. One reason there has been a drop in fertility levels is that the death rate among infants and children went down, and therefore couples voluntarily stopped having large families. They’re still relatively poor, yet they began limiting the number of children. Reduce the mortality rate and population growth ceases. Only nations with high immigration or those which can make the switch from a youth economy to an old person’s economy will survive.