Of Posies and Republicans

Posted on May 1, 2013

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aztec-posieThe Aztec Tactic

I’ve written before how conservative disdain for environmentalism runs so deep that some will deliberately waste energy out of little more than spite.

(See Denial Means Never Having to Turn Down the Thermostat.)

A recent Grist article asks the question Why Do Conservatives Like to Waste Energy?

I think it’s a kind of cultural thing.

Republicans, and their ilk on this side of the border, just don’t like environmentalists, whom they regard as hippy-dippy pinkos or worse.  They won’t have them over for supper.  They don’t want them marrying their daughters.  They won’t buy their curly lightbulbs, and they’ll rev up their SUVs and blast the thermostat—by jingo!—all winter, spring and fall.

Ronald Wright in Stolen Continents talks about a similar cultural response by the Spanish towards the Moslems, whom the Spanish finally defeated in 1492 after 700 years of conflict.  The Moslems liked to bathe regularly, therefore the Spanish took it as their Christian duty to—contrariwise—refrain from bathing as much as possible.

When Cortés and company encountered the Aztec court in Tenochtitlán, the Spanish were once again encountering a people who put a strong emphasis on personal hygiene.  The Spanish, on the other hand, were riper than was even their custom because their unfortunate Christian habits were compounded by their recent cautionary custom of never doffing their armour at all.  The Aztec court consequently adapted to the presence of their Spanish guests by always carrying a bouquet of posies in front of their noses.

What an excellent idea, I thought.

If we can’t help but be around our spitefully wasteful conservative brethren, the kind that legislate waste, the kind that promote fossil fuel extraction, environmental destruction and climate change, the kind that deliberately turn up the thermostat, we should do as the Aztecs did in Tenochtitlán.

Always carry a posie.