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« Crunchy Cons, redux | Main | Gombrich Redux »

September 20, 2002

Crunchy Cons, Reredux

Friedrich --

The debate over how to handle environmental challenges is a good one. (You go, free-market environmentalists, as far as I'm concerned.) I'd love to hear more of your ideas on the subject.

I think Dreher's subject is a slightly different one, though. He's saying that it's possible to be generally pro-market, and generally conservative, yet like art, be glad that environmentalists have saved a few acres here and there, and care deeply about "quality of life issues" -- traffic, trees, food, the built environment, the fate of the media, etc.

nature.jpg
Righties Can Care About Nature

This ain't news to you and me. But readers who are bored with the usual distinction between crunchy-hysterical-left and sensible-but-cold-right may find something fresh in his piece. I'd love to know if you think so too.

As for me, I'm seizing on the opportunity to gas on for a sec about something related but slightly different, which is this: how can the conservative/libertarian/rightwing/sensible team let the lefties own such topics as art, beauty, poetry, and nature? Let's ignore the larger fact that a classical-liberal/conservative/libertarian mindset may in fact better suited to the arts ("freedom of thought+respect for tradition=potentially really good art") than a lefty ("brainwash, then police outcomes") mindset is.

Simply from a p-r point of view, why don't righties understand what a problem it is to let the left lay exclusive claim to these issues? Why don't they understand that A) it's ok to care and talk about these questions, and B) their political fortunes might improve if they let themselves do so?

Ie., instead of letting themselves be perceived as saying, "Fuck the environment, economic growth is everything," why not insist, "Hey, we care about the environment, and we think that private initiatives are the best way of ensuring a healthy environment"? Instead of letting themselves be perceived as saying, "Fuck the arts, profit growth is all," why not insist that "Hey, we care about art, and we think it thrives best under non-government-subsidized conditions"?

By letting themselves appear to care only about business and money, righties are letting themselves look ugly, and ugly means that lots of potentially sympathetic people turn away.

kiss.jpg
Righties Can Care About Art

For instance, no one's going to believe that righties care about art -- although many do -- if, on the topic of art, they're perceived only as wanting to kill the National Endowment for the Arts, richly though the NEA deserves to be killed. Why not instead create a (sincere!) fuss about the arts, speak about how important they are, laud the cause, participate in the arts, honor artists, fund huge private endowments for the arts, challenge the left to do likewise -- and then kill the NEA?

Best,

Michael

posted by Michael at September 20, 2002




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