Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Belief in utopian tyrannies

There is common sense environmentalism, the kind most people practice and identify with:

  • don't waste things unnecessarily
  • value wildlife and nature
  • practice conservation to lower your own bills
  • don't litter or pollute but dispose of waste safely
  • seek a healthy environment, especially for your kids
This is environmentalism characterized by an awareness and appreciation for the natural world balanced with the practical economics of survival and personal security. It is an environmentalism enabled by the general wealth and well-being of the society that practices a responsibility for its own lifestyle.

In contrast, there is ideological environmentalism. The environmentalism of Earth Day, of AGW advocacy and as a political movement. This is environmentalism as an ideological alternative to capitalism, an
ideology of believers, of moralism and social engineering to achieve a vision of low carbon, low consumption, conformity with strict stasist regulations developed and enforced by the "enlightened" elite to save the planet.

This is the ideology of the
  • The believer...begins with an acute sense of alienation from his own society. A secularist, he nevertheless yearns for redemption, so finds a "secular shariah" in any totalist world... "where no individuality exists, and where human estrangement is thus impossible."
  • The believer does not seek truth, he seeks submission to a movement.
  • The price for this cultural orphan's acceptance in his adoptive "vast community" is the amputation of residual emotional ties to his own. Henceforth, the believer must see the flaws of his own society as the keys to all the world's evils. Once inducted, losing membership in the community becomes unthinkable.
  • And so he stops thinking. Logical and moral contradictions disappear. For now he needn't "know" what is plain to see about the ever more oppressive real-world effects — the suffocation of free speech, the arbitrary imprisonment, gulags, terror bombings and stonings — of the utopian system he commits to.
Zealotry is a universal trait of all stasist ideologies. Dogma, the corruption of education and the use of mass media to inoculate the moral pre-determinism of key constructs are the tools of all totalitarian ideologies. Sadly, contemporary environmentalism fits this description.