The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Guest Column

October 5, 2013

Who are the real conservatives?

(Continued)

It is vital to understand, however, that both big government and big business have benefited enormously from their symbiotic relationship. Government has a poor record in curbing corporate power, but in areas like the military, homeland security, and surveillance it has gained almost totalitarian powers.

Similarly, though big corporations have been unable to shrink government, they are able through campaign donations to corner politicians into voting for extensive deregulation. Thus corporations have become largely unaccountable to the public, and able to operate with virtual impunity.

This unleashed government and corporate power is the real radicalism of our time, threatening our liberties, property, and communities. It serves powerful private interests at the expense of the public interest. Our political parties, especially nationally, are part of the problem, not the solution.

The defense of the public interest now relies on local citizens and local governments. This is the real conservatism of our time.

This is why the struggle against fracking for natural gas in New York State is so significant. The only effective resistance came not from government agencies, nor from “green” corporations, nor from national environmental groups. Instead, big government (the DEC), big business (the oil and gas industry), and big environmental groups (NRDC, EDF, the national Sierra Club) colluded to find an “acceptable” way to trash our environment.

It was grassroots, local communities, by passing bans and moratoria using Home Rule legislation, who said “no” to fracking. So far they have succeeded in frustrating the designs of industry and the DEC. Otsego county, with nine municipalities banning fracking, is a leader in the ban movement in New York.

Even more important, the fracking battle has shown that we need to move toward a locally-controlled, sustainable way of life, transitioning to renewable resources and building value-added enterprises.

Sustainable Otsego has developed a 10-point platform for this election advocating home rule, farm-to market agriculture, net zero energy practices, and renewables. For details see: sustainableotsego.org

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