Wednesday, August 30, 2023

#242 / Should We Politicize The Weather?

The question I posed in the title to today's blog posting was raised by economist Paul Krugman in his July 18, 2023, column in The New York Times. His answer? YES! 

Here is Krugman's statement:

We absolutely should politicize the weather. In practice, environmental policy probably won’t be a central issue in the 2024 campaign, which will mainly turn on the economy and social issues. Still, we’re living in a time of accelerating climate-related disasters, and the environmental extremism of the Republican Party — it is more hostile to climate action than any other major political party in the advanced world — would, in a more rational political debate, be the biggest election issue of them all ...
Worrying about the climate crisis shouldn’t be a partisan issue. But it is, at least in this country. As of last year, only 22 percent of Americans who considered themselves to be on the political right considered climate change a major threat; the left-right gap here was far larger than it was in other countries. And only in America do you see things like Texas Republicans actively trying to undermine their own state’s booming renewable energy sector ...
What this means is that if the G.O.P. wins control of the White House and Congress next year, it will almost surely try to dismantle the array of green energy subsidies enacted by the Biden administration that experts believe will lead to a major reduction in emissions.
Like it or not, then, the weather is a political issue. And Americans should be aware that it’s one of the most important issues they’ll be voting on next November.
I have no quarrel whatsoever with what Krugman is saying. I completely agree with him. I would like to add one thing, though, to Krugman's argument. I would advocate for a more "global" assertion. In fact, the way I see it, we should be "politicizing" everything. 
The world that we most immediately inhabit is not, actually, the World of Nature, which is the world upon which we ultimately rely, and is a world that we did not create ourselves. Mostly, we live in a world created by human beings. The physical, social, and economic realities of our world are the result of what human beings have done. Virtually every aspect of our existence is the result of human choice and human action. 
Thus, how to construct the world we most immediately inhabit is a fundamental question, and our "possibilities" are manifold. The world in which we live, and will live, and in which our children and their children will live, is going to be determined by what we do - and the possibilities are, really, unlimited. 
We could, for instance, as Elon Musk urges, decide to establish outposts on Mars (though "why" we should do that is not clear to me, and to many others). The point is, our human choices and our human actions will determine how we configure the world we most immediately inhabit. How we choose to configure our world will always be a fundamental question presented to us. Those decisions about what to "do," about what kind of world to create, are "political" decisions. "Politics" is how we make up our mind, collectively, about what we should do. Both good and bad outcomes are possible.

Should we "politicize" the weather? Yes, of course! And we need to "politicize" everything else, as well, from student debt to free downtown parking at Christmastime. 

We live in a political world!

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