Ideological whiplash

I once took a test that diagnosed you as a liberal or conservative depending on where you stood on all kinds of political and environmental issues. I came out pretty liberal, as you might imagine.

A reflexive liberal, you might call me – boringly predictable – until my reaction to something that appeared in my email this morning:

The disaster unfolding in Fukushima, Japan is a reminder of the dangers of nuclear power.

Right now the President has $36 billion in taxpayer subsidies to the nuclear industry to build more plants here in the US in his proposed budget. Join me and tell the President and your members of Congress that there is no place for taxpayer giveaways for the nuclear industry in the budget. Wall Street won’t invest in nuclear power and no insurance company will right them a policy. We taxpayers will foot the bill for the cost of any nuclear disaster. They are off the hook – a gift from Congress to the nuclear power industry!

and then there was a link to a Greenpeace petition.

This is irritating and misguided in so many ways. The inflammatory language: “taxpayer giveaways” (has Greenpeace joined the Tea Party?). The careless homonym: “no insurance company will right them a policy” that obscures the illogical conclusion equating earthquake-prone Japan with the United States.

I have a real problem with, as I put it in my Reply All email, “climbing on the back of a cataclysmic disaster to make a political point.” And the political point itself is so specious. Yes it’s a terrible disaster. But, unfortunately, it pales in contrast with all the death and war and environmental destruction caused by our dependence on fossil fuel. And, at least in the short term, windmills and solar panels – the “clean renewable energy” Greenpeace favors – are no substitute.

The right wing, I learned this morning as I tried to figure out where this opinion puts me, are all for nuclear energy (they’re pro any business, I guess). Sucks to be me, I thought – but now I see there’s an anti-anti nuclear power movement on the left.


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