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Posts Tagged ‘climate change law’

Actions in the House of Representatives, driven by an unfathomable desire to deny climate change and the overwhelming scientific evidence of its danger to the Republic, raise a profound, fundamental and scary question: Can a sovereign government, in full light of overwhelming scientific consensus, disregard an existential threat to the nation’s health, safety and welfare, its defense, its domestic tranquility, its posterity, possibly even to its continued existence, and still maintain its fundamental legitimacy?

Lest this seem an extreme question, consider a hypothetical case that I would argue is, in principle, roughly analogous to the situation we face with advancing climate chaos.

The U.S. government has solid knowledge, backed by experts, of an advancing foreign invasion on the west coast. But the government is in paralysis. False information about the threat is washing over the media. Even those most alert to the threat are in ineffectual retreat, compromising and weak.

Intelligence says the attack is coming, though the timing is not precisely clear. In fact, the intelligence community confirms that enemy forces have already taken a few islands west of Los Angeles, and more islands will surely follow. The public is bombarded by spurious propaganda, and is less and less sure what to believe. The Congress, reeling under the influence of an anti-scientific, anti-government ideology, eliminates all funding for military intelligence gathering. Then another island falls, closer than ever. Unbelievably, the House of Representatives suspends even analysis of the invasion’s threats. In fact, all evidence to the contrary, it denies the existential threat facing the nation. 

Unprepared and overwhelmed when the invasion spreads, the populous—that portion in a shape to think about it—wonders where their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness went, where their security, health, safety and welfare are hiding, and posterity—who now bears the brunt of the dark years ahead— wonders what happened to all those dreams.  

The Constitution itself, holy grail of those who deny climate change, proclaims the role and burden of sovereign governance:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

© SR Euston

A government that provides neither basic long-term security to its citizens, nor effective action that is known to substantially reduce unprecedented future disasters, is hardly a government that is promoting the general welfare or providing domestic tranquility or securing the blessings of liberty for our posterity. It is a government that is treading very recklessly on the firm ground of sovereign trust, on the underpinnings of communal protections established in ancient common law. It is a government that faces the judgment of posterity, but that may be too late to matter. What does matter, existentially, is the blowback to the earth and its peoples from this political abdication of trust.    Stanley Euston

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