02 June 2017

Jobs vs. Climate

On the bright side, there was no climate denialism in the President's statement withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris accords. Instead, there was a reaffirmation of priorities, the needs of American citizens overriding all other considerations for Trump. That would be fine, except that he's prioritized short-term considerations over long-term interests, just like any politician looking no further than the next election. What's particularly sad here is the implicit admission from the supposed master entrepreneur that he can think of no other way to put his constituents back to work than to reopen coal mines or extract more fossil fuels. Of course, this was exactly what was to be expected from a "populist" President whose base supporters most likely feel that there's no need for them to change their ways, since other people -- and in this case other countries presumed guilty in advance of cheating on the accords -- are always the problem. Real conservatives might think more like the 19th century aristocrat in the novel The Leopard, who famously said that if his friends wanted things to stay the same, than everything had to change. It was inevitable, perhaps, that self-styled conservatives in a democracy would think differently. The President, however, talks, as he usually does, of renegotiation, so in theory neither this story nor the world has ended just yet.

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