Left is Right

It’s no wonder I decided to study rocks! People are just so frustratingly inconstant. Despite a wide variety of inclusions and accessory minerals, I can be reasonably self-assured that a hand specimen of granite will most definitely contain quartz, muscovite mica and orthoclase feldspar, and that it looks and feel very different than a specimen of andesite, which will always consist of plagioclase feldspar, biotite and amphibole, among a few others.  I mean…. am I right, or what?

But people.  They are ever-changing.  I mean individual people.  You just never know where they are going to come down on any issue.  There are some generalizations however, based on societal and political leanings, which should give you at least an indication of where you might stand with any individual. We have developed many names, though,  for the various societal proclivities of our populace such that it is sometimes difficult to know which way is up – or left… or right… Democrats can also be liberals and leftists. They are also referred to as progressives. Republicans are conservatives and … rightists?  (That last doesn’t sound…. ummm… right). Oh well.  Back to the Earth, which is what this blog is all about.

Those epithets would be all well and good and would prove an excellent guide to help us all tread the troubled waters of social intercourse – if people would only stick to their agendas. But they don’t.  Liberals, unlike good old constant granite, can be positively ultra-conservative on some issues and conservatives, rather than sticking to the uniform grey of unchanging andesite,  can be exceedingly liberal.  Not coincidentally in relation to this little narrative, the issue which spins these two staunch and opposing groups into each others’ corners is… The Earth.

The liberal/progressive/leftist/democrat variety of our little conclave of fellow bipeds are all about being very liberal with other people’s money – tax and spend is the mot juste. They are liberal in making generous allotments to increase the government’s size and sway. They are liberal in their social views and very accepting of all the sorts it takes to make up a world. But I dare you to so much as whisper that someone is planning to change the land use somewhere – anywhere – not just where a particular liberal lives – or develop a natural resource, or build a factory, or dig a quarry, or drill for natural gas – and they will rally like an army under the banner of CONSERVATION.  Liberal they most certainly are not when it comes to doling out natural resources to the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” To them, conservation of the Earth, or any little part of it, comes above all else – societal needs, economies, even people’s health needs. In other words, when it comes to the environment and Earth in general, Liberals are vehement Conservatives. More importantly, because society depends on natural resources in order to BE a society, the averse attitude of Democrats to land development and industrial expansion is diametrically opposed to being progressive – it is retrogressive.

Not to be outdone, the conservative/right/Republican members of our ilk are very conservative with their money, they don’t want to tax or spend,  they would like to starve the government into subservience by conserving their own money and they certainly advocate conserving their narrow way of life against anyone who falls outside their constricted definition of the RIGHT way to live. But they become exceedingly liberal with their money and are RIGHTeously willing to invest it in almost any plan which involves land use change (development) and natural resource exploitation. Their mantra with regard to the Earth is, “the Earth is here for us to take from it and use it, so that’s what we should do.”  Conservatism wants no part of conservation. They are extremely liberal in the distribution of Earth resources and how they should be used. If there is some mineral resource which can be exploited to produce a medicine which will help people – even in other countries – or will increase crop yields and food supplies, then they will exploit it. Conservation be damned if it is a question of societal needs, economics and health. So, when it comes to the the environment and Earth in general, Conservatives are excessively liberal.

I don’t have much comment on this little observation. I just find it curious that liberals are unbelievably and unwaveringly conservative and anti-progressive when it comes to ‘saving the planet’ and every little corner of it.  And it is equally ironic that conservatives can be so generously liberal in ensuring that people come first and the Earth second.  Of course there is a continuum of views between these two end-member conditions and I can not cover all of the permutations here. So, as in many issues,  I will let Shakespeare have the say on this dichotomy:

Those who are in the extremity of either are abominable.” (Rosalind, As You Like It, Act IV)

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