Revisit MacFarlane’s comment. He listed two other challenges that climate change was more important than: social inequality and health care. Why? Because, he said, the timeline on climate change was more important. Let’s leave aside the wisdom of viewing the centralized state as the solution to any of these problems and simply acknowledge that social inequality, health care, and climate change aren’t national security issues! Social inequality may be super important to MacFarlane, who has a net worth of $150 million and is #86 on Forbes magazine’s list of the wealthiest 100 celebrities. It may be one of the things he thinks is really quite problematic. But his list is a list of either domestic problems or global problems that are not warehoused in the national security complex.
Because when we want to know what a candidate thinks about national security, that’s a cue to talk about armed forces, spy networks, and diplomacy. Talking about climate change, as Sanders and Obama have done in recent days when asked about it, comes off like an attempt to pretend that an unsafe world is safe.
And unless MacFarlane, Sanders, and their friends want to use armed forces and spies and whatnot against the billions of people on this planet who benefit from fossil fuels, they need to stop talking about it as a national security threat. And now that I’ve written it that way, I’m scared that this is precisely the progressive dream of the future.