As increasingly secular liberals find more and more meaning in politics, they are becoming increasingly fundamentalist. Liberals are adopting the same rigid approach they decry in others, refusing to compromise, consider alternative viewpoints, or even view their beliefs as falsifiable. Importing this religious fervor into policy debates renders liberals incapable of considering proportionality, cost-benefit analyses, or appropriate trade-offs.
Liberals have recently transformed their environmental campaign into a moral crusade, and they are bringing this absolutist approach to fighting the COVID pandemic. Viewing climate change in apocalyptical terms has left them unwilling to consider lower-carbon transition fuels, like natural gas, or new technologies, like carbon capture. Their faith disavows any concession of offsetting costs like job losses in high-paying fossil fuel industries, higher energy bills, and less reliable and convenient energy. Former secretary of state and current climate czar John Kerry blithely suggests oil, natural gas, and coal workers become solar power or wind turbine technicians—ignoring the fact that these jobs will not offer the same pay, or even be located in the same communities. Renewable energy advocates must contend with the fact they will be creating fewer jobs than the ones lost, and that the new promised jobs are often temporary, offer lower wages and benefits, and require different skills and geographic mobility.
It is tempting to promise win-win solutions, and the benefits may outweigh the costs for coastal urban elites far removed from states and communities heavily dependent on existing energy jobs and energy-intensive industries. It would be more honest to concede the costs associated with overhauling the nation’s entire economy, starting with the transportation and power sectors, and only then make the case for the benefits. Such debate would allow for compromises like investing in mitigation when doing so is more practical, allowing sufficient time for realistic transitions based on available technology, compensating the inevitable losers from new regulations, and requiring China and others to abide by the same standards…
Read More: Newsweek