Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Preventing Ebola, ISIS, and Climate change. In 2016.

The Progressive’s loss of the mid-term elections was largely the result of failing to tell the facts about Ebola, ISIS, and climate change to the American voter.  Conservatives succeeded in framing Ebola and ISIS as border threats exacerbated by Obama’s failed leadership. Missing is the fact of our irreversible global interdependence.  
The public’s immediate fear of hemorrhagic fever, beheadings or a lackluster economy was easily hyped over the theoretical fear of runaway climate change.  Yet each these threats are closely related.  And each share fundamental features.  Each was preventable. None can be solved militarily.  No single nation can resolve them.  And, none were budgeted for.  
The origin of ISIS was in the oil drenched Middle East where US support for dictators, kings and even extremists is well known.  Oil sales help finance ISIS barbaric and murderous expansion.  Boko Haram continues kidnappings and terrorizing oil rich Nigeria where Ebola was recently checked.  Some believe the weaponization of Ebola is inevitable.  The Soviets tried and failed in the 1980s.  The Japanese Aum Shinrikyo cult tried and failed in the 1990s.  Advances in biotechnology make it entirely possible now.
The key element essential to preventing or resolving each of these threats remains progressive values.  Global cooperation, enforcement of global standards, sufficient investments in human capital and the protection of human rights and the environment are all essential.
Imagine what the world would be today with actual universal access to basic education; primary health care; clean water; safe sanitation; adequate nutrition; early detection and emergency response infrastructure; targeted investments in research and development; and global protection of the most fundamental social, political and economic human rights.
There is profound hypocrisy in conservatives demanding that big government “play it safe and quarantine” the courageous souls returning from West Africa “whatever it costs” -- yet voice the opposite government response to climate change.  
Conservatives calling for more border control ignore the facts, the historic precedent, science and the fundamental reality that borders can never be effectively sealed.  The Maginot Line, the Berlin Wall, the Great Wall of China and the fall of virtually every castle or fortress in history confirms that committed humans, advances in technology and infectious shred the concept of border control.
Building alliances, respecting the limits of nature and particularly improving the lives of others is the only real long term defense for ensuring our security, retaining our freedoms and sustaining our prosperity.
Life, liberty and justice for all are fundamental to all human beings, not just Americans.  Some cultures and political systems certainly reject and resist such idealism, but ours should not.   It’s what made our nation great and it is the only thing that will keep us safe and free.
Perhaps progressives will get better at spreading these facts and conservatives will get more in touch with reality before 2016.