Wednesday, September 10, 2003


Regarding the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Nicholas Kristoff, perhaps unsurprisingly, has come out in favor of a compromise (drill, but only as part of a comprehensive energy plan). Thankfully, he generously allows that "it's also only fair to give special weight to the views of the only people who live in the coastal plain: the Inupiat Eskimos, who overwhelmingly favor drilling." But he still concludes with "the argument that I find most compelling...that this primordial wilderness, a part of our national inheritance that is roughly the same as it was a thousand years ago, would be irretrievably lost if we drilled." I can understand the aesthetic longing to leave alone something which has been left alone for thousands of years--but unfortunately, wouldn't leaving it alone require that people like Kristof never go there, so as to rhapsodize about thrilling experience of being somewhere where no one is? Someone, this sort of enviromental ethic fails to persuade me.

Also, regarding Alabama Governor Bob Riley's attempt to raise taxes, a campaign he grounded at least partly on the Christian obligation to lessen the burdens on the poor: it went down in a serious defeat. But before we forget about this attempt to recover Christianity's communitarian imperatives, Gregg Easterbrook asks the right question about media treatment of Riley's campaign. Worth pondering.