So, yeah.

Sometimes, when I watch politicians on television, I cannot comprehend how they believe what they say they believe. I'm not even talking about religious stuff - I'm talking about things like free market systems and stuff (at least, in the current world).

It's really all in the perspective, innit. There are so many things that are so complicated that being able to wrap your head around them in their entirety is a rare gift - especially given the lack of experimentation done for information that could start to definitively settle some arguments (cough cough economists).

In other cases, though, it's very clear. From my perspective, at least.

Downriver in Manitoba, authorities have taken some of the guesswork out of the Red equation. Starting with the construction of the Red River Floodway in 1962 - informally named Duff's Ditch for Premier Duff Roblin - provincial governments have consistently taken a longsighted approach to flood protection. The floodway diverts overflow from the Red around Winnipeg. In 37 years, the floodway has been opened 20 times, saving $10-billion in flood damages, according to government estimates.

But the political culture in North Dakota resists such solutions.

Earlier this week, one homeowner 15 minutes north of Fargo talked with pride about the flood-protection measures he'd erected with his neighbours. "That's how it should be," he said, trudging through knee-deep water inches from flowing into his home. "We don't need government in here screwing things up."


I understand distrusting government in a lot of circumstances, but there are some things they do well - like huge infrastructure projects. Like dams. And highways. And large construction projects that can prevent catastrophic flooding.

I'm not sure how much of this is really distrust of government and how much it's the idea that what we don't pay for now can't save us any money down the line. Citizens of the United States, especially recently, seem to be violently allergic to the idea of up-front investment - which is a little ironic, considering what we say we're trying to revive in the economy.

The analogy to climate change - especially since the Red River thing is a great example of one of the ways climate change will impact our lives - is very clear to me.

Again, be nervous about government. I believe in state militias and the second amendment (to a point, anyway). I believe in balancing power. But I also believe that government has a role to play in preventing tragedies that are beyond the scope of individual or small-community action - and that's climate change to a tee.

From Only It In For the Gold (which hat-tipped to "Kathy Austin @kdaustin") via A Few Things Ill Considered (which hat-tipped H.E. Taylor) gosh the blogotubes are complicated.

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