Environmental Professionals Must Be Both True Liberals and True Conservatives
The terms “liberal” and “conservative” are abused, scorned, and defamed to the point of uselessness. Liberals are pilloried for big government, high taxes, corrosive relativism, and moral permissiveness. Conservatives are damned as those who opportunistically honor only the strong and powerful while brutalizing the poor, the helpless, and minorities. Two words that once were not ideological have become lost in ideology. It may now be impossible to escape the ideology, but the ideology should be seen as a constraint, not a condition. We are in serious trouble with this loss of credible meaning to our language. We are overdue to recover the actual meanings of Liberal and Conservative. Both have historical origins and classical definitions that might be surprising in light of today's polarization. Not the least, it becomes clear that environmental science is not inherently liberal, as some critics complain; instead, it reflects the best of both Classical Liberalism and Classical conservatism.
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