The political system is wilting partly because its roots have become shallow. People are becoming less and less inclined to gather spontaneously in noncommercial places, and air-conditioning reinforces that social chill. A shady suburban street on a pleasant 85-degree summer evening can be as free of human life as it might be during a Christmas Eve ice storm. Keeping people indoors and comfortable reinforces a tight focus on the individual or nuclear family rather than a larger community, and that is part of what's crippling grassroots political action.An 85-degree summer evening may seem pleasant to Stan Cox, but, I can assure him that such an evening, which followed a day in the high 90's, makes getting a decent night's sleep nearly impossible. Especially when it's accompanied by humidity of over 65%.
Air-conditioning helps numb us to the prospect of ecological breakdown on a planetary scale as well. It's more tempting to think of global warming as a problem that only people in sweltering Bangladesh will have to deal with when we view their flood-prone plight from a seat in a cool living room or movie theater.
I've lived both North & South, and I can testify to the fact that Southerners venture out into the blistering heat at least as often as Northerners poke their nose out into the icy winter. Which is to say, not very often. I'm talking about the super-high temps that have been lingering for the last few weeks.
Furthermore, there's a better justification for A/C than heating - you can, after all, always turn down the thermostat, and add a sweater or lap robe.
There's a limit to how much clothing you can reasonably (and legally) take off.
BTW, most people use heat pumps rather than room A/C units. They're much more efficient. I would be, but I'm waiting for a replacement heat pump to be installed.
Tags = Stupid People