'Saving' the Planet? Surely You Jest

Tom Finnerty01 Mar, 2023 3 Min Read
Arminius to Rome: take your culture and shove it.

The nationalist economist Michael Lind has written an excellent essay at The Tablet entitled "Why I Am Against Saving the Planet," in which he explains his objections to the Green movement. Two of these are particularly worth highlighting. First, after discussing the quite recent provenance of much of the now-ubiquitous environmentalist vocabulary, Lind pokes a hole in the Greens' self-proclaimed devotion to The Science. In fact, environmentalism is a direct descendant of Luddite, anti-scientific movements of the Romantic era:

The term “ecology” was invented in 1873 by the German scientist Ernst Haeckel, and his work owed much to his own environment of 19th-century Romanticism, typified by a bias against society and civilization and a pantheistic awe before an idealized Nature. German romantic culture is the native soil from which our own modern environmentalism has grown, and many pseudoscientific elements of popular environmentalism that are unthinkingly assumed to be rational and progressive are in fact legacies of a passionately reactionary 19th-century Romantic tradition.

One is the dubious idea of the web of life—no species of plant or animal can become extinct without harming all the rest. This is nonsense, because species have come and gone for billions of years, without necessarily causing the extinction of great numbers of other species. In some cases the disappearance of some kinds of plant and animal life has opened up opportunities for others, in the way that the extinction of the dinosaurs allowed mammals to expand into new niches.

Now, the German Romantic movement of Goethe, Schiller, and Wagner contained multitudes, much of it good, true, and beautiful. Even so, it had at its heart an anti-civilizational— think of their passion for ruins— and even anti-human sentiment, which has been magnified and distorted by their less artful descendants. And on that score, Lind also has a lot to say on the "unscientific nonsense" that's constantly peddled by the green lobby which asserts the existence of "a self-regulating ecosystem disturbed by human activity that would automatically restore itself to a “natural” condition if not for human interference."

This narrative is rife with contradictions, and Lind makes it a point to lay into them:

It might seem that the term “planet,” as it’s used by the greens, has no fixed meaning whatsoever. But that would be a mistake. “The planet,” in the lexicon of environmentalism, is defined in contrast with what it is not: the “Not-Planet.” The Not-Planet includes all human beings. In environmentalist ideology, we humans are not part of “nature” or “the environment” or “the planet.” We are something outside of nature: an alien, destructive force, modifying “the planet” from without. By this standard, all buildings and cities and other human settlements that billions of people depend on for their survival are rendered alien excrescences harming “the planet.” The sand on a beach is “the planet” but the moment you build a sand castle, the sand in the castle becomes Not-Planet. You have taken sand which might have been used by a beach crab for its burrow. How dare you!

Not all plants and animals are included in “the planet,” either. For environmentalists who are romantically nostalgic for the lifestyles of Paleolithic hunter-gatherers, agriculture itself is an abomination, replacing “natural” ecosystems with farms and ranches populated by human-modified strains of grains and vegetables and fruit and livestock. A wild buffalo is part of “the planet” but a free-range cow on a ranch or a cow in a feedlot is not. The coyote that dwells in a suburb and kills and eats a pet poodle is “the planet,” but the poor pet poodle, like its grieving owner, is an interloper on “the planet.”

In sum, it's simply good old-fashioned German tree worship, a primitive "religion" gussied up and given a new "scientific" skin to wear. James George Frazer, call your agent.

Tom Finnerty writes from New England and Ontario.


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2 comments on “'Saving' the Planet? Surely You Jest”

  1. Hmmm… who was that mid-20th century political leader who was also greatly influenced by that same German Romaticism? He was a member of an obscure party… National Socialists, or something like that.

  2. Back in the 1990's Ted Turner was Brainwashing the youth with junk like Captain Planet, Network Earth, One Child One Voice with its usual liberal leftists stuff PETA trying to get the kids Go Vegan and now they use this Fake Threat of Global Warming/Climate Change without anything about Global Cooling that the very same liberal rags Time and Newsweek was giving top coverage to back in the 1970's

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