can’t see the forest

Environmentalism and the American Way

Posted in Environment, funadmentalism, green, Nature, News, Politics, USA by Curtis on 12/16/08

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A very interesting read by Janet Smith, found in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report, highlights common attitudes on environmentalism among the U.S. ‘Far Right.’ The piece is probably well worth your time, but here are some highlights:

“Environment is not about saving nature,” the founder of Freedom Advocates, Michael Shaw, sternly warned an audience of antigovernment “Patriots” and far-right conspiracy theorists during a mid-July conference. “It’s about a revolutionary coup in America. [Environmentalism] is to establish global governance and abandon the principles of Natural Law.” Sustainable development policies, Shaw argued, will require “a police state” and ultimately “turn America into a globally governed homeland where humans are treated as biological resources.” . . .

. . .

This year’s conference linked up several of the far right’s bogeymen into one giant whopper of a conspiracy about sustainable development policies that attempt to protect the earth for future generations. The basic thesis pushed at Freedom 21 was that the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), a trade agreement between Canada, Mexico and the U.S. that includes some environmental requirements, is part of a nefarious and secret plan to merge the U.S, Canada and Mexico into something called the “North American Union” (NAU) — an entity which does not, in fact, exist, and has never been planned, despite the hysterical warnings of conspiracy theorists like Corsi.

The NAU, these theorists insist, will bring with it global government, and, most horrible of all, sustainable development policies. Sustainable development is the real evil lurking in the shadows of global government, according to the conference’s organizers; a wolf in sheep’s clothing, environmental policies really exist to destroy Americans’ freedoms and system of government.

“Freedom cannot be sustained in the presence of ‘sustainable development.’ The two concepts are mutually exclusive,” Freedom 21 materials insist. “Sustainable development can exist only when people are controlled by government.” . . .

My penchant for dark humor compels me to ask these people in exactly what ways they feel they are not currently being “controlled” by one of the most bellicose, plutocratic, anti-democratic governments in the world.

Among other charges leveled at environmental activists—even at mere oxygen-breathing enthusiasts, one almost feels—was that of ‘pantheism,’ and thereby the severing of humankind from God’s word. Sheesh.

Yet, underneath the cacophonous hysteria, it bears mentioning that the ‘patriots’ at Freedom 21 are actually hinting at a fairly salient fundamental point about the human living condition, one which their obstinacy unfortunately obscures.

Perhaps the most important lesson that environmentalism teaches us—a lesson well-known (and sometimes learned the hard way) among primitive peoples for countless ages—is that ‘freedom’ is a relative concept. We should strive to be as free as possible in the most meaningful imaginable sense, but with the knowledge that we cannot be absolutely free to do as we wish if we are to leave future generations an Earth which is worth inhabiting. If that is ‘Earth worship,’ please count me in among the heathen pagans who are, out of the very sort of patriotism we are accused of sorely lacking, ready and willing to admit that the so-called ‘American Way’ has, in more ways than one, frequently proved far from the best way in dealing with matters interior and exterior.

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