Not Planning Ahead

I don’t think we should underestimate the influence of significant numbers of Americans who believe in the Rapture, Armageddon, the Mayan Calendar and other myths. This belief works against taking the long view, in planning for big projects for the common good and sacrificing today for future generations. A paradigm of this mindset is a quote from former Secretary of the Interior, James Watt…

Watt periodically mentioned his Christian faith when discussing his approach to environmental management. Speaking before Congress, he once said, “I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns, whatever it is we have to manage with a skill to leave the resources needed for future generations.”

This eased Secretary Watt’s conscience as he sold our public lands to private interests.

If the apocalyptic mindset works against looking forward, it would be a good idea to look back, and see how many times the world failed to end on schedule. Salon.com has a post about it today. So brothers and sisters, don’t cash in your IRA just yet.

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One response

  1. Mixing ends is always a hazard, just as is mixing beginnings. We know the world was not created in 4004 B.C., and that it did not end in 2000 A.D. (and that these are arbitrary dates anyway, dependent on a particular dating scheme. We know the world is “approximately” 4.6 billion years old…that’s 4,600,000,000 years. We also “know” that in about another 2-3 billion years or so the Sun will have expanded beyond the orbit of Venus and our atmospher and oceans will have boiled away, leaving a very toasted marshmellow of a world–now that’s global warming! Of course, humans and all organisms now alive will have been long extinct (99.9% of everything ever alive is extinct).

    Mr. Watt sort of understood this despite his particular foot in mouth talent, so was kind of on target. Unlike Mr. Biden, or Ms Boxer of California, who have never shown they really understands anything, Mr.Watt was a techno-guy. The issue of lands called public, is really a complex of federal, state and local lands used by law, forever law, and regulations for many purposes. There are actually more than 50 federal agencies that manage land, in many, many departments, not just the Department of Interior. In the West, large portions of lands are public lands, some managed as wilderness areas where nothing can be done, to multiple use areas, where lots of things are encouraged. State lands usually are intended to be revenue generating and the funds usually go to supporting education, hospitals, museums and more. Revenues generally arise from graxzing fees to mining and other resource taxes from permits to do things on lands. The amount of public land is huge. In New Mexico alone, there is more public land than land in the entire state of Indiana, for example. Most of Nevada is public land, and more than 100 million acres of Alaska are public lands.

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