Liberals have given conservatives much grief over the years for advocating an abstinence-only approach to sex education. “Kids are going to have sex,” the leftists say; “the best approach is to minimize the unfortunate consequences of that.” Conservatives retort: “The only sure-fire way for kids to avoid the bad consquences of having sex is by curbing their lustful behavior.”
Replace “having sex” with “drilling for oil” (in thought only) and what do you know: the roles are reversed.
Conservatives say: “Americans are going to produce oil for their industrial economy; the best approach is to minimize the unfortunate consequences of that.” Leftists retort: “The only sure-fire way for Americans to avoid the bad consequences of producing oil is by curbing their avaricious behavior.”
The fundamental reason for this inverse parallel is not hard to find. Conservatives believe that pre-marital sex is basically immoral. Liberals believe that industrial civilization is basically immoral.
And that observation leads me to another. In an attempt to defend President Obama’s handling of the oil spill, especially given the media’s ferocious attack on President Bush for his handling of Hurricane Katrina, certain leftist commentators are jumping on BP CEO Tony Hayward’s reference to the spill as a “natural disaster.” Said law professor Joshua P. Fershee: “This isn’t a natural disaster. This is not a natural oil fountain that has run amok. The volcano in Iceland: that’s a natural disaster.”
In fact, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is a natural disaster, in the most profound sense. Yes, it was caused by man, but man is a part of nature. He is the supremely productive animal, and his deep-sea oil rigs are every bit as much as part of nature as beaver dams and birds' nests. As Edmund Burke said: Art is man’s nature.
When Mount St. Helens blew, thirty years ago (May 18, 1980), environmentalists assured us that Earth would heal. And so it has. So will the Gulf of Mexico, and it will heal all the faster under the ministrations of the Earth’s best steward: Capitalist Man.