The precautionary principle

It is often assumed by those on the left that conservative “right wing”  people don’t care for the environment, are pro-development [and by inferrence against preservation of heritage buildings], careless of the poor, homophobic, insensitive to injustice, pro-war therefore anti-Peace, and generally nasty, brutish people. They are generally demonised – as George Bush and Stephen Harper have been. Scary is often the least approbrious  term.

In our experience nothing could be farther from the truth. They are usually traditional types who are strongly in favour of personal responsibility for land and animal stewardship, defending the rule of law, conserving our  heritage (both physical and cultural), compassion for the less fortunate, peace, order and good – but minimal- government. The left seem baffled by where people on the right are “coming from”. They just don’t “get” them.

But we have to admit  some bafflement by rightists of those on the left. On
the one hand leftists are often passionate about preserving our heritage
buildings and preserving nature against development, they protest pesticide use, genetically modified crops, cloning, additives in our foods, and tampering with the environment, by pollution or other business activities. “Go easy” they say, “we do not know what we are doing“, “use the precautionary principle“.

Yet when it comes to tampering with social and cultural heritage they
are cavalier. Nuclear family? Passe. Disciplining kids? Damaging. Want
to stay at home, Mom? Modern slavery.
Scientific or business “tampering”
is watched, controlled, monitored. But cultural demolition? – Even the churches have ceased to be bulwarks against cultural change; they lovingly preserve their buildings while they throw traditional theology and literary heritage in the trashcan.

What brakes or controls are put on governmental tampering and on the huge social experiments our country has embarked upon in the last half century and especially the last couple of decades? We won’t know for years what the results of these social experiments will be.

The often harmful effects of divorce or single parenthood on children are just now being studied. What will be the effects of tampering with other
societal norms? What effects will there be on heterosexual children
being raised by same sex couples
? What happens when large segments of
society are regular marijauna users or addicted to VLTs or pornography?
What happens to society and individuals when tolerance and subjective morality is taken to extremes and government policy is expected to take over from individual responsibility?  We have no idea. You can say all you want that it will be okay but we just don’t know. No precautionary principle is being called for to preserve previous standards of behavior that have worked well for our country in the past.

So we guess there is a big understanding gap here. Unless this gap is  bridged we predict increased polarisation in attitudes.

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