Back to Basics #28: Posterity don't vote
Among other political things, I'm in part a very old-fashioned conservative. I believe in the Edmund Burkean idea of «The Continuity of the Generations» that each generation has obligations to those that came before it and, more important, those that follow.
I believe in evolution and scientific cosmology, but I also believe "The earth is the Lord's, and all it contains," in that God and God alone has a John Lockean right of property in our planet because "he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters" (Psalm 24).
However the world got created, we humans certainly didn't make it and are, obviously, just "sojourners" here and need to follow the rules of the Landlord to share with the wretched of the Earth, or — without God — realize we're all in a heap of crap together and cooperate and follow some rules of fairness.
So I believe I have an obligation to future generations of humans and various obligations to current young people, especially to the disenfranchised young that my generation has unfairly kept away from the levers of power.
So I'm generally on the left and act Lefty on ethical and ideological grounds.
Ethical and ideological obligations, however, don't control my attitudes, however, and I'm also in the satiric tradition with a streak of misanthropy and don't necessarily like those to whom I am obligated.
I handle this tension in a traditional satiric way by harboring in my psyche an evil twin: an alternative persona — "mask," literally — who thinks unethical thoughts.
Evil Grandpa let's call him (or "Uncle Screwtape" for any C. S. Lewis fans), and Evil Grandpa starts out with that most basic of political basics —
"Posterity don't vote," and neither for that matter do most young people.
And so do most of us old farts.
Maybe we shouldn't be out driving after dark, or maybe at all — but we've got drivers' licenses and permanent addresses and are already registered and don't work or have enough seniority we can come to work a little late; so we don't have obstructions to voting like young people, and we do vote.
Regular, with none of this horse-puckey about needing to get enthused and motivated to vote. We vote, vote regular, and know to figure out and vote our interest.
"Keep your government hands off my Medicare" makes sense. It means keep Medicare for folks on Medicare, and don't weaken Medicare or make it cost us more by letting young people in.
So certainly don't talk to us about the up side of high gasoline prices in encouraging conserving oil — or conserving anything else.
Conserving for who?
Posterity, that's who, and the healthier current youngins when they get old.
Let 'em find their own substitutes for petroleum products and minerals and fresh water and oceanfront property!
You think most of our European ancestors gave a rat's rump about posterity? If there was gold or silver or copper around, they mined it out, shipped it off, and tried to get rich; they farmed the land till it bled and moved on. They showed what an Industrial Revolution, by God, could do: "Where there's muck there's money", and posterity can inherit the muck.
So I want gas prices low now, not electric cars ten years from now when the bastards have cancelled my license. And if the seas rise, they'll rise — but too slowly to affect me or have much effect on anyone I really care about.
And so forth.
I got mine — so keep taxes low and benefits high for those who count and are counted. The kids got no sense of generational solidarity, and we are kicking their asses in a battle most of them don't even know is going on.
The only thing bothering my pugnacious evil twin — sociopaths are pretty happy people — is that it's all too damn easy.