The below ideas surely manifest themselves within politics. Yet, the goal should lie in demonstrating that many unfounded truth and knowledge claims, forged into belief, and acted upon righteously, have real-world consequences. Some environmentalist fools can be dangerous, sure. There are kooks and violent nutbags living on the edge of chaos, preferring the end of their own lives and relative unimportance to be transcended through end-times activism.
Such people can be found amongst church pews, communes, art-colonies and flophouses; pretty much where all people can be found.
The extremes don’t necessarily define the middle either, even though a few loud, strident voices often become the cutting-edge of policy and groupthink.
It’d be nice if more people in the middle approached such ideas with skepticism:
I don’t mean to imply some people have turned their limited understanding of climate data into an anti-human, anti-science cult. Given human nature, such a turn of events is completely unforseeable!
Aside from passionate crazies, however, there are certainly not people who’ve turned global warming into a gnawing, apocryphal certainty; certain enough to offload their own fears of death into abstract ideals which might live beyond them. This can lead to technocracy as a form of leadership; knowledge implemented through institutional bureaucracy and more diffuse accountability. Plenty of journalists and aspiring professionals will follow those incentives into careers, opportunity and authority.
One debate exists between environmentalists, conservationists and ecologists who often push for economic regulation through activism and the laws; usually in order to protect a natural area, habitat or species (some harbor an “holistic” vision of nature, though it can be much more complex, including a simple love of nature and natural beauty) against the doctrines that do much to maintain individual, economic and political liberty.
William C Dennis of the Liberty Fund, had a 1990 review at Reason Magazine of Ecology in the 20th Century: A History, by Anna Bramwell, which highlights the libertarian dispute with environmentalism. He quotes Bramwell thus:
“For today’s ecologists, their hope of regeneration presupposes a return to primitivism, and thus, whether they wish to enunciate it or not, concomitant anarchy, the burning before the replanting, the cutting down of the dead tree. The father of the movement is an utter rejection of all that is, and for at least three millennia all that was.”
Libertarians would generally see many environmentalists as a threat to their definition of liberty.
-Another environmentalist root comes by way of the’ Tragic Earth’ romantic lament, which may have as much to do with the rise and fall of post-modernism in American Universities as it does with Nature, and the restless attempt to fill the post-modern void in a post-Nietzschean world. I think part of this is due to the collapse of the modern liberal arts curriculum to its current state, which has followed excessive relativism and multi-culturalism to some of its logical conclusions. The “science is settled” may be appealing to many in filling that void. Of course, good poems and poets transcend the often strange things good poets can believe, but I suspect this has something to do with it. Al Gore has probably been influenced by this school of thought, though he is a politician, carbon-credit-salesman, and a poet.
Whatever your view of the science, its transition and use for ideological, economic and political purposes should give intelligent people pause, not just those who see threats to liberty.
Self-reliance may still be a better intellectual American influence, even with some downside to pragmatism.
Related On This Site:
From the public square to the Natural World:
Mike Shellenberger on his new book, Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All.
As previously posted, ‘Do Children Cause Global Warming?‘
‘Across all cultures, raising a child is considered one of the most rewarding things a person can do. Yet a chorus of campaigners, scientists, and journalists suggest that everyone should think twice before procreating.’
Isaiah Berlin’s negative liberty: From George Monbiot: ‘How Freedom Became Tyranny’
“Only when humans are again permitted to build authentic urbanism — those cities, towns, and villages that nurture us by their comforts and delights — will we cease the despoiling of Nature by escaping to sprawl.”
Bjorn Lomborg is skeptical of ‘Earth Hour’ in Blinded By The Light. Go towards the light.
Ronald Bailey At Reason: ‘Delusional in Durban’…A Few Links On Environmentalism And Liberty…From The WSJ-A Heated Exchange: Al Gore Confronts His Critics…From The Literary Review–Weather Channel Green Ideology: Founder John Coleman Upset….The Weather Channel’s Green Blog: A Little Too Green