Green New Deal: reasonably restricting meat/driving/etc.?

Reply Sat 16 Mar, 2019 07:48 pm
The Green New Deal is becoming the latest red scare as some are calling it a war on hamburgers, pickup trucks, and family homes, among other things. Considering that cherished cultural practices such as liberal meat consumption, liberal fuel combustion and other energy use, and inefficient building insulation are causes of energy waste and unsustainability, the question becomes whether there are in fact reasonable ways to address these problems without taking away individual liberty.

To answer this question, I think we should consider traditional Christian restrictions that reserve meat-eating for certain days of the week, prescribe meat-avoidance and/or fasting in general for lent or otherwise; and other religious restrictions against certain types of meat, such as pork, beef, etc. In fact, religious conservatives have traditionally honored various dietary restrictions, as well as restrictions against alcohol/tobacco/substance use, working/shopping on Sundays/holidays, etc. The Sabbath is more of a principle of restriction, rest, and sacrifice than it is simply about observing a certain day of the week, so traditional conservatives who respect religion shouldn't be shocked and angry about the suggestion that it is good to make sacrifices for the sake of natural climate restoration and future sustainability. Yes, we should seek to achieve these reforms by means of liberty rather than authoritarian control, but we also have to ask at what point we have to give up on people exercising the liberty to take personal responsibility and legislate morality instead.

When so-called conservatives get defensive about hamburgers, pickup trucks, and inefficient insulation being 'under attack,' they should reflect on how they feel when liberals get defensive about abortion and ACA being similarly 'under attack' by the GOP. In order to have liberty and democracy within a pluralistic political landscape, we have to be able to reasonably discuss differences without kneejerking into the defensive reaction that labels others as "attacking our cherished ways of life." We have to be able to say, "ok we like hamburgers and pickup trucks (or legal abortion and socialized healthcare)" and then go beyond that to look at why these things are being criticized by others and then seek solutions that satisfy all those concerned to the greatest extent possible.

Liberty in a republic is about everyone having freedom of conscience and the right to pursue the means of satisfying their conscience democratically and with respect for political diversity. As such, we need not give in to compromises that go against our conscience, but our consciences should also urge us to seek to understand and support the consciences of others where we understand their hearts and motives to be sincere. We may not agree on everything, but in sincerity we can respect differences and put effort into achieving the best solutions possible.

So is it possible for people who may not even believe the climate is changing to appreciate the sincere intent to restore natural climate by implementing solutions such as changing agriculture and diets, transportation habits, etc.? Or is this as hopeless a prospect as it is to get atheists who view a fetus as a numb ball of cells to respect those who seek to stop abortion?

Is there any hope for progress within the paradigm of liberty and democracy, or is deadlock and radical misunderstanding of differences the ultimate hurdle that we will never overcome without a competition for oppressive top-down control of rival factions?

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