Perhaps a shrivel of common ground to be had between conservatives and liberals may be found in the term “progress”. Given the true meaning of the word, “to improve” (as opposed to “progressives” who have distorted the word beyond recognition), none would oppose it.
Of course, it takes but one step beyond the agreement that improvement is positive to find a distinct and very core difference between the two ideologies. Conservatives wish societal progress to be fueled by free market ingenuity and creativity. Leave it up to the suppliers and demanders to decide when something is worth the time and money, and at what point new will surpass old. Liberals, on the other hand, seek first the government to require progress to be made, through legislation and tax dollars.
This kind of forced advancement is a failed experiment, exemplified recently with the Chevy Volt disaster. Every Volt sold costs taxpayers $7,500 in tax credits to the buyer, making it cost-prohibitive to a general public who only purchased 7,800 in 2011. Last week, greenercars.org released their compilation of “The Greenest Cars of 2012”. The taxpayer-funded Chevy Volt didn’t even make the list (which included the top 12 most fuel-efficient vehicles).
Not only did a precious few of the Obama-lauded “Car of the Future” actually sell, the main draw for the volt – that it is a vast improvement over the environment-killing gas-fueled cars – is a complete farce.
Meanwhile, the Environment News Service reports () that a new study shows electric vehicles create more harmful pollution than gas-fueled vehicles. According to the article, “In China, 85 percent of electricity production is from fossil fuels, and about 90 percent of that is from coal. The generation of electricity to operate EVs emits fine particles at a much higher rate than petrol-powered vehicles, finds a team of researchers from the United States and China.”
The point is not that efforts shouldn’t be made to create more efficient, alternative-fueled vehicles; it’s that the government shouldn’t shove technology that has yet to come to fruition down our throats.
The President is receiving much grief from the conservative blogosphere due to his comments in the last couple of days referencing algae-powered cars. The reason for the criticism certainly isn’t that right-wingers oppose alternative fuel, but that they can see the writing on the wall. Conservatives do not want to pay for the government to research at a slower and more expensive pace than the private sector could.
Liberals aren’t practical enough to allow the U.S. to tap into its own vast reservoirs of oil, why should conservatives trust them with government funds to properly navigate uncertain energy sources like algae?
In this day of rapid technological advancements, Republicans cannot afford to accept an image, painted by the media and academic world, of stand-still curmudgeons opposed to advances in efficiency and energy. They must instead stress that true progress comes at the hand of private-sector initiative and originality, not government regulated union jobs or coerced research.
America’s proven traditional principles allow for the freedom of imagination and innovation, the very thing that “progressives” take away when they infuse government into whatever the field may be.
Conservatives do not support the platform of anti-progress, but rather condemn government funded failure.