I feel guilty blogging this with Rachel and crew sweating it out in Afghanistan. And yet it’s stuck with me, a singular theory: Air conditioning wrecked America. Stan Cox, a science writer and author of Losing Our Cool, says air conditioning has made us fatter and less able to handle all kinds of weather. Cox says A.C. is creating demand for itself, causing global warming that makes us turn up the A.C. yet again. The U.S. now uses more electricity to cool our homes and workplaces than Africa uses for everything. And there’s more! Air conditioning launched the modern conservative movement, Cox tells Salon:
It’s pretty much unanimously believed that if we had not had air conditioning, we could not have had this huge migration of population from the North to the Sun Belt, and we certainly wouldn’t have seen 70 percent of all economic growth happening in the South since 1960. This has had major political implications by shifting electoral votes to predominantly red states in the South and West. In an imaginary world where air conditioning hadn’t been invented, it could easily be the case that many of the big Republican victories in the ’90s and 2000s would not have happened.