Al Gore
By Sara McPeak
June 1999

We've been consistently told by the left that women care about the environment. That's probably true, and certainly doesn't exclude those women who happen to be conservative. Conservative women are voicing a strong (although largely unreported) interest in environmental issues. The difference is that conservative women endorse an environmentalism with free-market concepts at its core.

Competition is the key that will lead corporations to identify environmental problems and to solve them for the good of their corporations' bottom line, their public image, and their ability to continue producing as a part of a global marketplace. But, if Al Gore is allowed to place environmentalism in the hands of Washington bureaucrats, conservative women foresee dismal failure akin to the health care fiasco under Hillary.

Gore wants to portray the federal government as having a socialistic conscience in the area of environmental problems but most conservative women question the credibility and "concern" of most government officials - based largely on past behavior. We've witnessed the kowtowing of governmental officials to both corporations and special-interest groups on environmental issues; government responds to lobbying, not to actual environmental need. Responding in kind, these corporations will then fill the re-election coffers of officials or pay hefty fines for the privilege of continuing their pollution of land, sea and air. And as a consequence no gains will be made in cleaning the environment.

Gore is looking for a way to control our environment, while conservative women are looking for a way to preserve our environment. Control is the big difference between governmental intervention and free-enterprise intervention in this critical problem. Throughout this country's short life span, the federal government has tried to take control in matters of the economic welfare of its citizenry. In fact, in the 1970's there was such an abundance of governmental control that Irving Kristol, in the fall of 1975 stated the following in an interview entitled, "The Question of Liberty in America":
"Today there is a new class hostile to business in general, and especially to large corporations. As a group, you find them mainly in the very large and growing public sector and in the media^ They share a disinterest in personal wealth, a dislike for the free-market economy, and a conviction that society may best be improved through greater governmental participation in the country's economic life^ They are the media. They are the educational system. Their dislike for the free-market economy originates in their inability to exercise much influence over it so as to produce change. In its place they would prefer a system in which there is a very large political component. This is because the new class has a great deal of influence in politics. Thus, through politics, they can exercise a direct and immediate influence on the shape of our society and the direction of national affairs."
Gore is a representative of this same kind of thinking in the 90's; that is, control and influence, rather than concern and change. If he held any concern for change he would have accomplished more than merely writing a book - a book that has been disputed by knowledgeable men in the fields of scientific environmental research.

Women, conservative and liberal alike, want to see substantial progress. The nurturing instinct in women intensifies their concern for clean air and pesticide-free food for their families. As they bear the main responsibility for providing their families with a wholesome environment, this enhances their awareness of potential dangers. We do not trust the government to solve environmental problems. Look at the failure of welfare, the collusion of the judicial system with the criminal, and most recently the selfish and irresponsible refusal by Democratic party Senators to convict the President of an impeachable offense. Democratic party members of the Senate, sliding down the President's own slippery slope, have lost all credibility with the female constituency.

A prime example of government's lack of incentive in cleaning the environment is the Department of Agriculture. Due to lobbying influences, farmers' incomes are protected by subsidies, while at the same time their costly chemical damage to the environment and to human and animal life is not curtailed. The answer lies not in the Department of Agriculture, but in the very corporations who supply these chemicals to the farmers. The answer lies in their expertise and ability to find substitutes that will harm neither animals nor humans.

Conservative women have faith in free enterprise as a real solution to the environmental problems facing all of us, such as: chemicals and waste products being dumped into our environment, global warming due to ozone depletion and the loss of rain forests.

Conservative women believe that industry in a free-market atmosphere has the best chance of identifying and solving environmental problems. Corporations are driven to access as much of the public purchasing power as they can. In order to do this, they recruit the best talent available and devote a large part of their profits to research. It is this research, devoted to the local environmental problems that plague each individual corporation, which will bring success.

Environmental laws and regulations already exist and local residents and local governments need to continue to bring pressure in their own locales against any environmental abusers, be they farmers or corporations, but this pressure will relate to explicit local problems which can be exactly defined. In their book Free Market Environmentalism, Terry Anderson and Donald Leal discuss the regulatory treatment of the federal government as "applying uniform treatment and quality standards" in regard to discharges into national bodies of water. They say this makes little sense as some bodies of water can easily assimilate the current emissions in their area while others, such as "Boston Harbor - the nation's filthiest" should receive different treatment by the federal government.

Where the federal government can only command, fine in generalities, and apply uniform treatment, corporations can make their decisions to remedy the problems that exist in their singular situations. Environmental research industries will emerge as the demand for their expertise rises, and they will in turn seek well-educated analysts for their high value problem solving abilities. And in the new millennium conservative women are counting on the corporate global economy to assure that these new technologies, innovations, experiments, equipment and problem-solving analysts will be brokered globally, in order to target and solve the world-wide environmental problems.

This article copyright © 1999 by Sara McPeak, and may not be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of its author. All rights reserved.

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