Thursday, February 08, 2007

Recycling causes social decay!

You're kidding, right Spotty?

That's what Katie says in her column today.

Are you sure? Isn't that just you take on it?

Judge for yourself, grasshopper:
The environmental gospel [a theme of the column we will develop a little more in a moment, Spot] has a strong appeal, especially for contemporary men and women who are turning away from traditional religion. The green crusade satisfies the universal human hunger for meaning. At the same time, it asks little of believers: no tough commandments about forgiving your neighbor or not coveting his wife. Instead, it offers rituals like recycling and (for those who aspire to sainthood) biking to work. The larger society will pay the serious costs of redemption.
Boy, Spot, I guess you're right!

That one is gonna hit Charlie right where he lives; you might want to check Across the Great Divide a little later, grasshopper. Spot has read Katie long enough to know that her sense of irony must have been beaten out of her as a child, or he would be tempted to take the quoted language as intended irony. (Katie does lots of unintended irony, but that's different.) However, she follows up that paragraph with this one:
There are more sensible approaches to environmental problems than the
environmental gospel. Without viewing human beings as inherently
wicked, or environmental problems as a righteous clash between good and
evil, citizens and leaders could tackle environmental issues as public
policy challenges whose solution requires a careful weighing of
scientific data and the costs and benefits of various responses.
Now that was unintended irony! Do you see what Spot is saying, grasshopper? Katie spends most of her day dividing up the world into the good and the bad. Katie doesn't even have a bin for the beautifully-challenged!

Christians? Good. Muslims? Bad. Public schools? Bad. Wal-Mart? Good. Private schools? Good. Homosexuals? Bad. Unions? Bad. Teevee? Bad. Spare the rod and spoil the child? Bad. Katie is nothing if not predictable.

This morning, though, Katie counsels moderation. Why? Because Katie understands that she--and her ilk, to use a favorite conservative word--is being consigned to the "bad" bin for her environmental thinking. And Katie doesn't like it one bit.

With unintended irony, Katie does a role reversal and projects onto environmentalists the same fundamentalist qualities that she holds when it comes to her religion. Here's what Katie says about that:

Sometimes, however, it seems something more is going on [than simple "good stewardship"]. We see it in the apparent eagerness of some "people of faith"' to embrace worst-case environmental scenarios. We hear it in their crusading zeal as they proselytize others, for example, to attend a screening of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" in the church basement.

Environmental issues are complex, and often involve data that are open to different interpretations. Yet in some religious circles, if you raise a skeptical question about, say, global warming (a highly debated subject), you are spurned as if you've committed heresy.

Things getting a little uncomfortable around the coffee table after services, Katie? No, it's not heresy Katie, just garden-variety stupidity. We know, Katie, that you expect the Heavenly Hoover to sweep down and rapture-vac you and yours to Glory. But a lot of us as a little skeptical, and we'd rather keep ol' mom earth in livable condition.

Katie is right about one thing, though. Global warming is highly debated. We have universal legitimate scientific opinion on the one hand, and crackpots and obfuscating knaves on the other.

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