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View Diary: White House Meeting on Arctic Media Blackout (143 comments)

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    I answered this above:

    When has our country ever evidenced centuries long dedication to solving a huge global problem?
    Smallpox. A bunch of other diseases too, like malaria and typhoid. Not centuries-long, thankfully, but decades-long.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:32:42 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Fighting diseases, again, is an example of a (19+ / 0-)

      solution everyone wants. And they were pre-existing conditions, not a new disaster unfolding (although the Spanish flu would be an example of a disease disaster).

      Large constituencies like big oil, big banks, etc, were not opposed to fighting diseases.  There wasn't a 50% or so portion of society dedicated to saying "disease vaccination is a hoax" (although there are too many of those today).

      I've been trying to think of a disaster of huge proportions which we as a nation fought for decades. Not a preexisting condition, but a new threat.  I'm coming up dry although I do have one proxy:

      The Dust Bowl.  It had man-made components.  Millions of acres were stripped of cover in the mad race to plant as much wheat as possible, even with declining demand. The drought was a trigger, but the situation wouldn't have been so dire if several million acres still had some trees or prairie grass.

      The Dust Bowl was a 10 year long disaster.  Respected advisors openly pushed for abandoning the western plains of Kansas, Oklahoma, panhandle Texas, etc.  "We'll never recover the area. It is a new desert and uninhabitable."

      But Roosevelt dedicated himself to massive government intervention. Money to support families and agricultural prices.  County Extension offices to teach proper plowing and planting techniques.  The planting of thousands of miles of hedgerows for windbreaks. Planting clover and other ground cover on fallow fields. Support to cities.  Work camps for dislocated farmers.

      So, in that case the nation followed through.  But Roosevelt stayed in office throughout that period, something that won't happen today.  Presidents are term limited.

      Many prominent people thought Roosevelt was wasting money, particularly the 1%ers of the day: DuPonts, Bush, etc.  What if one of them had become president?  Would the programs have been continued?

      Other than the Dust Bowl, I haven't been able to think of a new and growing threat the nation faced that we had to dedicate many decades to fighting. We need a century of action at least, most likely.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 10:31:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Also an example of a single-point solution (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JosephK74, erush1345

      Amenable to Jenner's vaccine and to subsequent modifications, smallpox could be controlled through a single variable.

      Smallpox also differs substantially from the climate crisis now underway in that responding to it didn't undercut the fundamental structures of economic activity; i.e. burning carbon-rich energy to get things done.

      Finally, addressing smallpox (or malaria, or typhoid) requires a vanishingly small investment of capital and expertise.  Addressing climate requires large-scale lost investment and radical reinvestment at a level orders of magnitude beyond the costs of public health and vaccinations.

      •  The fact that this calls for a multipoint solution (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        orlbucfan, Chi

        works in its favor, actually, since we don't need to succeed on every point to solve the overall problem. Just as there are many causes of man-made global warming and climate change, there are many ways to address it, technically, politically, legally, economically and financially. But ONLY government has the power and resources to do most of it.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Wed May 01, 2013 at 07:13:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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