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Today we had a sudden cold snap here in western Pennsylvania, with the temperature dropping 30 degrees F. I was walking through a white field that had been green yesterday, looking at daffodils poking up through the snow and feeling irritated that they'd probably die. It occurred to me that, if we could control the weather, people would probably vote for a smooth transition from winter to summer, and this would wreak some unforeseen environmental catastrophe, because it would suddenly make most survival strategies reliably sub-optimal.
This is typical environmentalist thinking: Whenever you see something in the environment that you don't like, stop and step back before trying to change it. Trust nature that there's some reason it is that way. Interfere as little as possible.
The classic example is forest fires. Our national park service used to try to stop all forest fires. This policy changed in the 1960s for several reasons, including the observation that no new Sequoia saplings had sprouted since the beginning of fire suppression in the 19th century. Fire is dangerous, destructive, and necessary.
It struck me that this cornerstone of environmentalism is also the cornerstone of social conservatism.
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