Q: Does the President believe that, given the amount of energy Americans consume per capita, how much it exceeds any other citizen in any other country in the world, does the President believe we need to correct our lifestyles to address the energy problem?
MR. FLEISCHER: That's a big no. The President believes that it's an American way of life, and that it should be the goal of policy makers to protect the American way of life. The American way of life is a blessed one. And we have a bounty of resources in this country. What we need to do is make certain that we're able to get those resources in an efficient way, in a way that also emphasizes protecting the environment and conservation, into the hands of consumers so they can make the choices that they want to make as they live their lives day to day.
Q: So Americans should go on consuming as much more energy than any other citizens in any other countries of the world, as long as they want?
MR. FLEISCHER: Terry, the President believes that the American people are very wise and that, given the right incentives, they will know how and they will make their own right determinations about how much they can conserve ...
During last week's summer institute at the Duke Divinity School Center for Reconciliation, I met some wonderful folks who've worked together to compose a document in response to the ongoing oil disaster in the Gulf. I hope you'll read it, and consider adding your name. Most importantly, I hope you'll think through how your own congregation might be able to make an acknowledgment of the oil spill in its own worship and life.
The BP Oil Spill: A Christian Call for Lament and Reconciliation
As followers of Christ, creator and redeemer of all creation, we mourn the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe and the BP oil spill now polluting the Gulf of Mexico. We mourn the human and animal lives lost, the economies and ecosystems destroyed, and the gifts of God, created from and for his love, squandered and poisoned. Most of all we mourn our complicity and active participation in an economy based on toxic energy that has made such death inevitable.
After Katrina, Working Assets designed a billboard which placed a photo of the submerged city alongside a quotation from famed small-government crusader Grover Norquist, stating his desire to reduce the federal government "down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."
I always wonder how fair it is when we take a major, unforeseen disaster as evidence of a flawed ideology.
Today the AP ran a story entitled "Conservatives seek government solutions after oil spill." In it, they recall Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal's 2009 promise to refuse federal stimulus money, in contrast with his eagerness to work with the federal government (and its resources) to deal with the oil spill. It's interesting to ask small-government conservatives from the region how they rationalize it, but ultimately not very satisfying: I gather that most would say that disaster recovery is precisely one of the few proper roles for the federal government. I can't tell if the reporter was fishing for hypocrisy, but I don't think there is much to be found here.
A much more lighthearted effort in this same vein is the Facebook group entitled "Plugging the Gulf oil leak with the works of Ayn Rand". Lord knows she wrote enough pages.
I know my opinion usually falls on the left, and I spend a lot of my time trying to be as charitable as possible toward the right. My aim is not to let anyone off the hook, or to conclude that the Gulf disaster is ideologically neutral. But if you think you're in a position to score ideological points off of this disaster, the relevant question is not whether you own a copy of Atlas Shrugged; it's whether you own an automobile.