- The closest thing to a challenge are the scientific discussions offered by 'sceptics', 'deniers', 'realists' or whatever you want to call them. Of course, these challenges are waved away by many as 'politically-motivated' - as if Environmentalism was above that sort of thing. And there's the rub. 'Politics' has become a dirty word, and Environmentalism fills the void, because, with 'scientists' backing it, it is presented as a 'value free' set of imperatives that we must all respond to. Environmentalists will tell you that it's not a question of political values, it's a matter of material fact, scientifically established by the IPCC.
- But the truth is that the unchallengeable measurements that the movement depends on do not exist. Instead, science only lends Environmentalism credibility through the 'precautionary principle'; it is superficially plausible that anthropogenic CO2 will cause global catastrophe (given a substantial number of mainly political assumptions), therefore it is worth treating the possibility of a nightmare as a certainty, according to this doctrine.
- From here, Environmentalism easily becomes a religious world view...
- The reason there is no challenge to Environmentalism is that there is nothing to challenge Environmentalism with. Instead, Environmentalism, and the senses of crisis and urgency it generates, are useful vehicles for policies for the sake of policies, and for the purfunctory policy initiatives that masquerade as 'progress'.
- Politics today,...needs crises - real, or imagined - in order to maintain their relevance to an increasingly disengaged public. These appeals to catastrophe are wrapped up in the language of political change. But claims to be about radical change for the sake of "SAVING THE PLANET" belie an exhausted political perspective on the world that increasingly fails to connect with the public in any other way than through high drama, and struggles to distance itself from its opposition.
- Challenging environmental orthodoxy will take more than not mentioning it. That is not because Environmentalism is a powerful political idea, but because it exists as a consequence of the inability of political perspectives - Left and Right - to reflect on their own collapse.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Environment as false politics
This is a new post from one of the most thoughtful and well-written blogs in the blogosphere. It tackles the question of environmentalism as a political ideology, yet its influence on policy decisions is not challenged politically in this country, and barely anywhere else. How come?
The answer is an excellent summation of environmentalism as a dominant ideology within contemporary politics:
This analysis was written from the perspective of British politics. But I would suggest no editing is necessary to transpose the same insight to an assessment of the political landscape in the United States, Canada or Australia.
Posted by L Graham Smith at 1:58 PM