The morality of climate change politics

Matt Yglesias makes a particularly provocative post, that not only are those in support of policy to address climate change scientifically right, but morally right as well.  He makes the larger point that it is somehow fine for legislators to act in patently immoral ways all the time from the abstract remove of the legislature, in ways which would be totally unacceptable if we examined the actual impact:

I’m fairly certain, for example, that Fred Hiatt wouldn’t strangle a
baby polar bear just for cheap thrills. But he would run an ignorant
Sarah Palin op-ed on climate, and repeatedly allow George Will to
mislead people about climate science. What’s more, if Hiatt strolled
around Washington soaked in the blood of polar bears he’d been
strangling, people would treat him like a pariah. But instead his
friends and colleagues and professional peers have evidently decided
that he’s just a nice guy who happens to run a crappy-but-influential
op-ed page. Similarly, Collin Peterson made the House climate bill much
worse, but more financially advantageous to his donors and
constituents. But, again, you can’t imagine Peterson roaming around
Indonesia killing island-dwellers and pulling off bank heists in order
to bring more cash back to rural Minnesota. It’s just that in the
context of legislating, people have decided that it’s morally okay to
do the wrong thing for personal gain.

Interesting points.  There's surely some important larger conclusion in here as well– I just don't have it at the moment.  

 

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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