Are fossil fuels responsible for moral and social decay?
All of the Republican presidential hopefuls who are so strenuously trying to out-do each other in defending family values may be overlooking one of the chief causes of moral and social decay: increased fossil fuel use. This is the surprising suggestion recently made by a couple of conservative intellectuals, Georgetown University political philosopher Patrick Deneen and American Conservative editor Rod Dreher.
Their speculation about the pernicious social effects of increased fossil fuel use was provoked by a recent article by conservative columnist George Will. In that column, Will argued, “A specter is haunting progressivism, the specter of abundance.” Will asserts that progressives “crave energy scarcities as an excuse for rationing—by them—that produces ever-more-minute government supervision of Americans’ behavior.” Unfortunately, progressive schemes for using energy rationing to gain further control over American lives are being undermined by the abundance of natural gas that has been unleashed by fracking. In addition, Will celebrates the fact that by shunning G.M.’s all-electric Volt automobile Americans are ignoring progressive hectoring to consume less. (more…)