Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Environmental Taxonomy

More to Peter’s post immediately below, Chris DeMuth and I adumbrate many of these same distinctions in the very first issue of AEI’s Environmental Policy Outlook, which I founded there in 2002. We call it "practical environmentalism" versus "romantic environmentalism." Worth a read, I think.

As for Peter’s Point #4, I noted in my most recent edition of the Index of Leading Environmental Indicators that one of the most popular books of 2007 among environmentalists was The World Without Us by Alan Weisman, which projects a “thought experiment” about what would occur if human beings were suddenly or somehow removed entirely from the planet. Answer: Nature would reassert itself and remove nearly all traces of human civilization within several millennia. Naturally many environmentalists thrilled to the frisson of the book’s nightmare scenario of the ruin of mankind’s built environment, which Weisman shrewdly gilded with the standard boilerplate about resource exhaustion and overpopulation. I am often asked why so many environmentalists thrill to doom-and-gloom scenarios. The answer I finally arrive it is that it makes them happy. Go figure.

Discussions - 2 Comments

It would be interesting to know if any psychologists have ever studied what they are pleased to call the "personality profiles" (and we might call, character) of the really hard core "romantic" environmentalists. I think you are right that the destruction of all things human is a thought that makes them happy. But lingering still, is the question of "why?" My sample size is not large enough for me to claim that I know the answer but, in every case of a person I have met who shared this view, I have come to know a deeply unhappy, alienated, and possibly disturbed person beneath that opinion. I think especially of a sweet girl (and a really smart and gifted writer) I knew in college whom I tried, in vain, to befriend. She had no friends and she pushed almost everyone who tried to change that away. I thought then that she was only sad and that kindness could change her. But it turned out that she really did not like people. It was nothing personal with me, she explained, indeed she liked me better than she liked most. But as a species she did not think we had contributed anything of value to the planet. The world would be better off without us . . . animals and plants were much to be preferred and she felt guilty about her existence. We humans only destroy everything that is given to us . . . including each other. This was her view. The only time I ever saw her eyes twinkle was when she talked of what the world would be like after an environmental catastrophe and the end of man.

Hmmm...Julie's ready-made anecdote (which I think is actually being recycled from another thread) seems to muddy Steve Hayward's conclusion that environmentalists are sadistic misanthropes who derive real fulfillment from thinking of the end of humanity. The psycho-treehugger girl that Julie tried so divinely to befriend hardly sounded like someone who could be described as happy. So, much like OJ's search for the real killer, I guess conservatives will just have to carry on to find The True Motive behind those human-hating environmentalists and their obsession with their version of the end times.

I suppose that the explanation that "it makes them happy" would not and could not be applied to America's various evangelicals and dispensationalists who are thrilling to their visions of The Rapture and putting the "Left Behind" book series on the bestseller lists? Aw, shucks.

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