Environmentalism Ain't Just for Liberals Anymore E-mail
Tuesday, 10 November 2009 00:00  |  Written by Justin Pot | Blog Entry

Sean Hannity Paste-Up photo by Andrew DillFox News pundit Sean Hannity stretched the definition of journalism a little further last week when he asked whether environmentalism is an artificial movement designed to serve a global socialist agenda.

Watching the interview, one has to feel bad for Daniel Hannan, a member of the UK's Conservative Party, representing southeast London in the European Parliament.

Hannan reasonably asserted that, while some environmentalists have socialistic aims, concern for the environment transcends ideology and actually fits quite nicely with conservative values. He started by stating that socialism hasn't historically agreed with environmentalism, pointing out the less-than-stellar environmental record of the Soviet Bloc nations in the 20th century. Hannan then pointed out that, from a capitalistic perspective, one party polluting the environment can have detrimental effects on another party and violate their standard of living—a concept economists refer to as a negative externality.

This was far too reasonable for Hannity, clearly fishing for Hannan to state that environmentalism and communism are in fact one and the same. His crew dubbed music over most of the second half of the interview, a technique Hannity commonly uses to drown out statements that don’t jibe with his skewed worldview.

Apparently the assertion that one can be both conservative and concerned about the environment is considered off-message to Hannity; he apparently feels that conservative values do not include environmentalism.

Religious Values Spurring Environmental Activism
Hannity would have done well to read this week's Economist, which points out that religion is becoming an increasingly common inspiration for environmental activism. All around the world, people of faith are working to fight pollution and climate change. Conservative evangelicals in America, for example, are increasingly showing passion on the issue; after all, the Bible teaches that God created the world and told us to take care of it.

Does this mean that conservative evangelicals are becoming liberal? No. It means concern for the environment transcends the petty political differences Hannity likes to exaggerate and exploit as part of his demagoguery.

Balance is a Bias
American media outlets like to claim they are balanced, as though that’s the same thing as objectivity. It's not. Balance is its own bias. Balance assumes two equal and opposite sides to a debate that both deserve similar amounts of airtime. So “balance” means having a liberal and a conservative argue about a given issue.

Reality doesn't work this way—people rarely fall into one of two categories. There are almost always many ways to look at an issue, not just two.

So you needn’t be liberal to care about the planet’s future, as the increasing concern for the environment among evangelicals shows. This is not an ideological issue; it's an issue that belongs to everyone. Conservatives, liberals, libertarians and socialists alike can all lay equal claim to the effort, because it will deeply impact the future of all.

Perhaps someday the media will present the issue in this light. For the time being, however, being balanced means contrasting liberal and conservative perspectives—a habit that leaves out the viewpoint of billions.

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