Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Politics of fear 4

Sane people, according to former counselor to ex-President Bill Clinton, Bill Curry are those who acknowledge global warming. Those who doubt global warming must be, by implication, mad. Within global warming circles, the dispute is not over whether such a phenomena exists but rather how much of the problem is caused by fossil fuels which, if extremist environmentalists have their way, soon will be rationed. Curry has not yet ventured an opinion on the sanity of rabid environmentalists who would prefer the price of gas to rise to unaffordable levels so as to spur conservation measures.

But forget all this quibbling. A new crisis looms:

Years from now — probably not many years — historians and everyone else will wonder how we wasted so much time talking trash with the country in such peril. How could we have so many [Democrat primary] debates and miss so many big issues?...

To appreciate the oversight, consider two words that never came up in any debate: food and water. It turns out we're running out of both. It's hard to imagine a worse crisis — OK, running out of air — but from the debates you wouldn't know there was a problem…

Sane people, those who acknowledge global warming, talk a lot about rising sea levels. They should focus more on falling water tables. It's the water we drink and it's happening now.

The Mississippi River Valley Aquifer, a vast underground reservoir, serves seven states. Water in its wells is falling about 2 feet a year, double the historical average. The U.S. Geological Survey predicts parts of it will go dry next year.

The Ogallala or High Plains Aquifer serves eight states that are often called America's breadbasket. We're emptying parts of it 100 times faster than it can refill. How long can it take to refill an aquifer? Much of the Ogallala's water was left there in the last Ice Age.

Water is the oil of the 21st century. If you think people got grumpy in Carter-era gas lines, wait till they start queuing up at the supermarket. Oil addiction has made America weaker and poorer. If the "breadbasket" moves north to a warmer, water-wealthy Canada, we'll endure a reversal of fortune such as none but our worst enemies ever predicted.

Fear and love, says Cardinal John Henry Newman, are the great motivators in human history. Fear and love, “from the moment you are born, until the moment you die.”

Some things, unlike aquifers, never change. The Republicans do not have a corner on the politics of fear.

See Politics of fear 1, 2, 3
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