Tag Archives: Nelson Fegley

Virginia’s a Frequent Battleground in the Expanding Culture War

by Nelson Fegley

To discuss this subject properly we first need to define the phrase “Culture War.” With the help of Wikipedia, it may be described as “a cultural conflict between different social groups to impose their own virtues, beliefs and practices over society. Culture wars often delve around wedge issues, often based on values, morality and lifestyle.” Other terms often used in discussing these values include: diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and in the corporate world: environmental, social, and governance (ESG). The social part of ESG is often taken to mean involvement of DEI. 

Why is it important to consider this issue? The phrase “Culture Wars” was coined by James Davison Hunter, a prominent educator at the University of Virginia. In his book on this subject he describes a battle for control of American culture and social institutions pitting conservative religious groups against opposing politically progressive counterparts. The progressive movement has adopted far left concepts of identity politics which are changing our society in ways that are anathema to conservatives who are concerned about the future of our democracy. The conflict in values and practices between these two groups will be major issues in the 2024 presidential election. More about this below.

Virginia has significant constituencies on both sides of this polarized political spectrum. Progressives are dominant in the highly populated northern counties. Critical Race Theory (systemic racism) became the recent hot button issue when parents discovered its use in the Loudoun County schools and confronted the school board. The issue received national exposure when the FBI was reportedly directed to monitor the parents’ activities. CRT is typically embedded in the normal activity of class instruction, and therefore difficult to recognize. In this regard, the Loudoun parents were exceptional. The publicity accorded this case alerted the residents of the state and likely contributed to Glenn Youngkin’s winning the gubernatorial election. While the citizens in Virginia’s northern suburbs tend to support progressive issues, much of the rural parts of the state tend to be politically more conservative. When my wife and I moved to Bumpass from New Hampshire in 2020, the many signs on front lawns and on the shores of Lake Anna clearly showed strong support for Trump (2020 election) and disdain for Biden. Continue reading

The Plain Truth about Climate Change in Virginia

Surry Nuclear Power Station

by Nelson Fegley

Climate change is real. Major climate fluctuations have occurred over hundreds of thousands of years, and the future will be similar. The changes are both anthropogenic (human caused) and due to natural causes. The magnitude of natural changes in temperatures and sea levels have far exceed those from anthropogenic causes. It is highly unlikely that we can significantly influence the natural causes, so whatever happens we will need to adapt to the resulting changes in temperature, sea levels, etc.  More about this later.

The Commonwealth of Virginia, due to the structure the power industry, is well positioned to deal with both the anthropogenic and natural causes of climate change. About 87% of the state’s power is generated via nuclear and natural energy sources. Nuclear energy generation involves zero carbon emissions, while natural gas is clean relative to sources like coal. The combination of nuclear and natural gas provides dependable power, not dependent on the wind blowing and sun shining. 

The capability to provide reliable generation of power is a key reason why Northern Virginia has become the world center for cloud computing and data storage centers. And businesses such as Amazon have committed an additional $35 billion for further expansion of this technology throughout Virginia. The economic fallout from these investments will help provide resources that will be needed to adapt to the changes in climate due to natural causes. An example would be funding major infrastructure projects in the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Coast areas. 

The current political climate involves a goal of having power generation methods that produce zero carbon emissions. Wind and solar power are being pushed, but they are unlikely to become a major source of reliable power due to their intermittent nature. Storage battery technology is under development, but unlikely to provide the needed base load capacity. The wind projects that have been funded are also facing “headwinds” due to major unforeseen costs.  Continue reading