Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Since when does “conservative” mean squandering the family fortune on frivolous purchases, wasteful, whimsical impulse buying, and obsessively avoiding minor discomforts?

A great conservative value I inherited from my grandparents on both sides goes something like this: The modest inheritance we are passing to you does not belong to you, but to your children and grandchildren. It is your job to make sure that the family’s nest egg is maintained or increased during your stewardship of it. I am attempting to do that, because I don’t consider the resources to be mine. I want it to be there for my children and grandchildren, because I can’t know what economic storms life might bring them. Being reckless with the money I inherited might literally cost my descendants their lives.

You and I and every other person on the planet have inherited a vast fortune, a fortune that, once spent, cannot be re-established by any known means. It was collected carefully, bit by bit, painstakingly, over eons, by our ancestors and second cousins. It is our collective fortune, worth trillions on trillions of dollars, and we are squandering it in a single generation, and conservatives seem to be the loudest champions of this obscenity.

I’m talking about fossil fuels. They are a great gift, the inheritance of all humanity. Stored solar energy, collected and concentrated over millions of years. I want my grandchildren to have access to this vast fortune. Why are we, especially conservatives, squandering it as fast as possible? Are we so callous about the needs of our children and grandchildren? Or are we addicted, the spoiled generation that wastes the family fortune through wanton substance abuse, letting the money gush through the fire hose of our dysfunctions? Are we even trying to do right by our kids, but are just unable to stay away from the greasy dealer behind the gas station on the corner?

We are squandering humanity’s family fortune, and unless we save some for them, our grandchildren are not likely to see any benefit from it. And that’s just not conservative.

No comments:

Post a Comment