Dateline: 10 March 2012
I recently heard a talk-radio host belittle a caller who expressed concerns about hydrofracking poisoning groundwater supplies in the Finger Lakes. The radio guy (a self-proclaimed “Republican" and "conservative”) said the caller was a typical liberal and that he was brain damaged. Then the radio-guy explained to the audience that hydrofracking takes place so far underground that it can’t affect the aquifers that supply water to people who live near the drilling.
Personally, I would classify myself as a far-right conservative and anyone who knows me very well knows this. But I don’t march in lockstep with any radio talk-show host who defines how conservatives should think about any kind of issue, especially hydrofracking.
I’m also a registered Republican and I’ve been a Republican since I was 18 years old (36 years), but I’m not a Republican who thinks the Republican Party is absolutely right, all the time, on all issues.
That being the case, I run the risk of being classified by so-called conservative talk-show muckety-mucks as a liberal environmentalist wacko. I guess that’s one of the hazards of thinking for yourself in this world, and there is nothing I can do about it.
But it so happens that my concerns about hydrofracking in my community are a direct result of my right-wing conservative mindset. I believe it is much more conservative to question hydrofracking than to gullibly accept self-serving gas industry claims that hydrofracking is harmless and good.
As I’ve stated here so often in the past, my main concern with unconventional gas drilling (hydrofracking) is that it has a track record of harming innocent people—that the health, safety and general welfare of whole communities is negatively affected when this unprecedented (for Sempronius) heavy industrial activity is allowed.
As a hard-core conservative I believe that people are born with a right to live. And if a person has a right to their life, then they have a right to defend and protect their life. And this right is why we have government at all levels (as I explained in My Previous Essay). In other words, as a conservative, I believe We The People, individually and collectively, have a right to defend ourselves against any person or entity that would try to harm us.
It matters not that the perpetrator of harm is a home invader with a gun, a Middle Eastern terrorist, a foreign nation, our own government, or a huge corporation—dangers to life (and liberty) can come from all kinds of entities.
Thankfully, we have a form of government in this country that recognizes what I’ve just stated. Thus, when any group of people have a sincere concern for their health, safety and welfare, and they work within the legal framework to lobby government at all levels to protect themselves, it is a perfectly legitimate thing to do. Such people are not brain damaged.
(And if, after doing all that can be done within the law to protect themselves from what they see as a dangerous threat, people find that the law does not protect them as it should, then they are free to move to someplace where it's safer—as many people in hydrofracked regions have done, and are doing.)
All of that said, I’d like to make it perfectly clear here that, in my conservative mind, this issue revolves around the health, safety and welfare of people. I’m not opposed to hydrofracking because it harms snail darters, or owls, or any animal or plant species. I’m concerned that it has a track record of harming people.
It would be far easier for me to run with the conservative talk-show herd on this issue, but they are wrong to put prosperity (their main reason for supporting hydrofracking) above the welfare of people. As conservatives, they should use the brain God gave them to take a serious look at the track record of hydrofracking and stand up for the right of people to lawfully defend themselves and their families against current hydrofracking practices.
Conservative talk-show hosts would better serve conservative values by pointing out the harm that hydrofracking has done to innocent people and by putting pressure on gas drilling companies to improve their harmful technology.