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Apr 21, 2011


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"Environmentalists need to lighten up a little"

Funny I was thinking something similar about the Acton folks when I was doing a scan of their blog earlier this week. They can get grumpy with the anti-gov't thing. And that gets in the way of their point.

Most of the progressive types I know are fairly gentle folks. They are also fairly pragmatic (and conservative in their personal habits and consumption). They support state programs but they also support Habitat and similar organizations. Tell them a positive story about something that works and there is a good chance that they will buy in.

Michael W. Kruse

Ceemac, I know what you're saying about the Acton stuff. I sometimes find some insightful stuff there but sometimes I don't link it because the level of "grumpiness" is a bit much. They aren't nearly as bad as so many other sites that post on such topics but it is still a frustration. Also, I've been to Acton events and I will attend one in the summer. They aren't anti-government any more than those who think we need a more expansive safety-net are communists. Acton is very in tune with Catholic social teaching and makes very strong use of subsidiarity. The would say that government is good and absolutely essential.

I live in a neighborhood that votes 90-95 democrat in every election. I see little difference between how progressives living in an echo chamber are any different the conservatives who live in an echo chamber. Most conservatives are fairly gentle folks as well and give considerably to help others. In fact, people who attend church weekly and believe in a limited role for government in helping the poor, give a greater percentage of their income and time than groups that don't share both of these traits. A close second is those who attend church weekly and believe government should play a greater role in helping the poor.

This article was on environmentalism. My more general point is the militancy and moralism is great for animating the base no matter what the topic. It is utterly ineffectual for persuasion. If you want to have a broad based green market, then you are going to have to persuade. My point would be that if any niche view is ever going to become mainstream in a context where people are free to choose, then you are going to have to persuade.

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