You and Your Times

by Jay Nordlinger

Among the items in Impromptus today, I have one on “green beans,” as Karl Rove calls them: environmental activists. One of the things I say is the following:

I have a beef with the “environmental movement”: I am pro-environment, and anti-pollution, and think we ought to be “good stewards of the earth.” But, in my lifetime, the environmentalists have been so extreme, I have been forced to be “anti-environmentalist.”

You know?

I thought I would expand on that for a second here on the Corner. The other day, Boris Johnson — the brilliant writer who moonlights as the mayor of London — had a column on air pollution in his city. He is a conservative, and he thinks the air ought to be good. Who doesn’t?

And, of course, there’s the old chestnut that “conservation” is a cousin of “conservatism.”

But, to an amazing degree, a person is defined by the age in which he lives. If you’re not an earth-worshipping, economy-destroying nut — you’re “against the environment.”

I think of the terrible issue of race as well. Time was, if you favored equality and colorblindness, you were nobly liberal. Two seconds after that, colorblindness was out, and color-consciousness was in. Race preferences were very much in. If you still favored the old liberal values, you were — you know: Starts with “r” (and ends with “ist”).

Do you recall Al Gore speaking — yelling, demagoguing — before the NAACP? “I’ve heard the critics of affirmative action. They talk about a colorblind society. Give me a break! Hel-lo? They use their ‘colorblind’ the way duck hunters use their duck blind: They hide behind it and hope the ducks won’t figure out what they’re up to.”

Nice, Al.

Well, here’s the bright side: It’s better to have him as a Nobel-bearing zillionaire than as a political officeholder.