In Salon, Michael Lind backgrounds the mythology of right-wing crackpots as the latest version of an ancient conservatism: everything was better in the Old Days and real progress is going back to the purity of those times. What you might call the Walter Scott School of History, very popular here in the South.
Put the myths of the ancient constitution and the early church togethe r, and you have a view of history as decline from an original state of perfection, in politics and also in religion. Innovation is equated with tyranny in politics and heresy in religion. Virtue consists of defending what is left of the old, more perfect system and, if possible, restoring the original government or church. Progress is redefined as regress - movement away from the wicked present toward the pure and uncorrupted past.
Those of us - and there have been quite a few - who defined the movement conservatives' philosophy as a sort of "Back to the Future" rationalization of wish fulfillment have no problem understanding that. What we sometimes have trouble understanding is the concomittant neoliberal mythology that "going forward" means going backward, just not as far back as the MC's would like. They want to go back to a heavily redacted version of some ideal, altruistic pastoral of 18th century life that never really existed, while we only want to go back to a heavily redacted version of an ideal, altruistic pre-WW II pastoral of shimmering scientific hope and belief in the future that never really existed.
This is the conservaDem mythology, and their attempt to ignore reality in favor of the ruturn to a "pure and uncorrupted past" shows up whenever they bring back old, failed doctrines and policies of the 40's and 50's by professing to believe that what was a mistake then is the appropriate response now because, you know, it just is. There are two of them just now, and one of them is about to be planted in my backyard.
This is Obama's new-found strategy to attract bipartisan support: he's re-energizing (so to speak) the concept of nuclear energy as the nation's future. He just gave his approval to guaranteeing the loans of The Southern Company to build two new nuclear plants about 50 miles from me in Burke County, Georgia, calling nuclear "clean, safe energy" and ignoring the enormous, unsolved problems of what to do with the waste and how thoroughly unsafe and unclean, not to mention irreversible, escaped radiation is.
In his speech, Mr. Obama portrayed the decision as part of a broad strategy to increase employment and the generation of clean power. But he also made clear that the move was a bid to gain Republican support for a broader energy bill.
"Those who have long advocated for nuclear power - including many Republicans - have to recognize that we will not achieve a big boost in nuclear capacity unless we also create a system of incentives to make clean energy profitable," Mr. Obama said.
I think we can now add "bipartisan mythology" to the list since Obama and the rest of the Third Way conservaDems seem determined to believe that Bob Michel is Senate Majority Leader, not Mitch McConnell, and reason will prevail if they just talk sweet enough.
But the important point here is that, in order to appease and presumably attract rational GoOPers (a species they don't seem to realize is all but extinct), they are about to foist an exceptionally dangerous energy source on a public that thought they had made it plain years ago that electricity wasn't worth dying for, much less worth poisoning their children and grandchildren down to the umpteenth generation.
I assume Obama's argument will be that the technology has changed and now it's all much safer and we don't need to worry etc etc etc. Horse puckey. The nuclear industry has NOT made giant strides in the last 20 years. It hasn't made any strides at all. There are no strides it could make, now or in the future, that could in any way, shape, manner, or form make the extreme dangers of uranium radiation somehow not count when - NOT "if" - something eventually goes wrong. To pretend otherwise is to expose the entire nation to a mythology that could end up killing us, literally, not figuratively. Three Mile Island and Chernoble are NOT the worst that could happen, not by a long shot. Yet the two in Georgia are just the beginning.
David M. Ratcliffe, the chairman and chief executive of the Southern Company, said that a nuclear renaissance was in the wings and that "we will get on with that at a more rapid pace now that we've made this first step."
The money for the reactors is the first award from $18.5 billion in loan guarantees provided for under the 2005 act. But Mr. Obama proposed this month to triple that amount.
The Energy Department is negotiating with potential borrowers for three other projects, two of which could win guarantees soon. The Scana Corporation and Santee Cooper want to build a nuclear plant near Jenkinsville, S.C., and UniStar is planning a reactor in southern Maryland, adjacent to the Calvert Cliffs reactors. A third project, in Texas, is in some doubt because of rising cost estimates and a lawsuit filed by the municipal utility serving San Antonio against its partner in the project, NRG of Princeton, N.J.
Jesus. Do we have to have more TMI's, more Chernobyl's? How many will it take to kill this beast forever? Or will the Molochian money-grubbers just keep bringing it back and back and back until the worst finally does happen and we are all suffering from radiation poisoning, the air is poisoned, the food is poisoned, the water is poisoned....
That's not exaggeration-for-effect. That's what radiation leaked into the air and the water does. For decades. If you're lucky and it's not centuries. And all as a maneuver nto attract people who have already said it won't make any difference and they'll vote against it anyway.
Don Stewart, a spokesman for the Republican Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, said that Mr. McConnell had repeatedly praised Mr. Obama for favoring additional loan guarantees for nuclear power plants. But, he said, this would not translate into support for a cap on carbon dioxide emissions.
"It won't cause Republicans to support the national energy tax," Mr. Stewart said.
He added that Republican and Democratic ideas on energy policy overlapped in some areas, but that much of Mr. Obama's energy program did not fall into those areas.
Robert Dillon, a spokesman for Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, said that she thought nuclear power was "a core component of a comprehensive energy plan," but that she would vote on an energy bill as a whole.
"One or two provisions aren't going to offset bad provisions," he said.
If this isn't reality-denying mythology, what is it?
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