Gonzaga debate institute 2011 174 mercury politics

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Unformatted text preview: be delivered to any nation on the earth. The United States could become a major energy exporter. The market for electric energy will be enormous. Most important of all is the fact that whatever nation develops and controls the next major energy source will dominate the economy of the world. Gonzaga Debate Institute 2011 170 Mercury Politics ***Links – Planetary Defense Gonzaga Debate Institute 2011 171 Mercury Politics Planetary Defense – Political Capital (1/3) Planetary defense costs political capital – proponents spun as “chicken littles” Dynamic Patterns Research, 11 (4-12-11, “Protecting the Planet Requires Heroes, Money, Citizen Scientists”,, accessed 6-30-11) Many of us while growing up and listening to our bedtime stories learned to not freak out and run screaming through the streets if we thought that the “sky is falling.” As little chickens, we were taught at an early age that it was best to be brave, calm, and rational, else be considered a crazed lunatic. This childhood behavioral bias infiltrated adulthood in the relationship between professional astronomers, policymakers and national budget-number crunchers. When a scientist expresses probabilistic concerns about the impending doom of our planet from a cataclysmic change of a major impact event, say, in the next 100, 1,000, or 10,000 years, it requires just too much risk of political capital and tax-payer dollars to divert significant budget resources to something that might only be a concern for our ubergreat grandchildren. Planetary defense has no congressional support – it’s seen as trivial Friend – New Yorker 2-28-11 (Tad – Staff Writer for The New Yorker, Vermin of the Sky, 2/28/11, Lexis) AC The difficulty that planetary defense has always faced is that until an asteroid looms in its "death plunge" the topic seems remote from constituent concerns. No political glory or capital accrues from taking measures that might, decades later, prove to have been prudent. There's also the gravitas question, a.k.a. the "giggle factor." Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a conservative Republican from California's Orange County, who has been the leading (if not the only) voice in Congress for planetary defense, told me, "Anybody who talks about objects from space is ridiculed as the Chicken Little congressman." As a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, he was an early proponent of the Star Wars initiative to blast incoming missiles, and he explains, "If you're going to protect yourself from some rogue missile out of Pakistan or Iran, yeah, that could cost hundreds of thousands of lives, but some NEO could land in the Pacific and cause a tsunami that would kill millions of people in California!" Gonzaga Debate Institute 2011 172 Mercury Politics Planetary Defense – Political Capital (2/3) Planetary defense costs capital – no po...
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This note was uploaded on 01/14/2013 for the course POL 090 taught by Professor Framer during the Spring '13 term at Shimer.

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