Atlantic @ Aspen
Via Ezra, I stumbled on the Atlantic @ Aspen blog, a chronicle of Atlantic staffers’ attendance at this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival, "a ‘summer university’ featuring discussions, seminars, and tutorials with some the most provocative thinkers, writers, artists, businesspeople, and leaders from around the world."
Three posts jumped out.
First, Ross Douthat laments that Al Gore didn’t spend more time discussing solutions in An Inconvenient Truth. I’ve addressed this zillions of times before, and Gore addressed it in our interview, so I won’t go over the thinking behind focusing on the problem again. But Douthat tries to set up a contrast between innovating (which he says Samuelson supports) and regulating (which, presumably, Gore supports). That’s a false choice. Gore constantly evangelizes on behalf of innovation, and Samuelson resolutely ignores all the great innovation that’s going on all around him (except nuclear and sequestration, the most dubious, least viable innovations you could pick). The fact is that far-right conservatives advocate doing nothing, and everyone else advocates a mix of innovation and regulation. That’s the real conflict.
Second, Douthat passes along a report from the "Making Green Green: Can Corporations Profit from Environmental Leadership?" session.
Third, he makes a great point about the wistful desire for a third party in American politics, namely: Any third party that actually had a chance of success would not look like the dreamy centrism third-party proponents describe (much less "ecosocialism," oy). It would reflect the roots American voter, i.e., isolationism and protectionism. The problem with third party proponents is that they want a knight in shining armor to ride onto the political scene and implement their preferred policies — policies that do not reflect the preferences of the American people. Despite appearances, in practice most third-party dreaming is anti-democratic.