Tuesday, May 14, 2002

MISANTHROPIC ENVIRONMENTALISM: While perusing Andrew Sullivan's book club page (the topic is Bjorn Lomborg's The Skeptical Environmentalist; I haven't read it) I found this dead-on-target argument by one of his readers (scoll down to the last heading in the post):
For [environmentalists] to admit that progress is being made and the earth is getting cleaner despite a growing population and growing Western influence is probably too much to ask. With the collapse of socialism, many on the left see environmental issues, particularly global warming, as their last chance to prove they were right about the evils of capitalism and development. In the end I've come to believe that many on the left who support environmental causes don't really care about nature, they simply don't like people very much.
Maybe true misanthropy -- unlike the harmless kind curmudgeons and satirists indulge in -- is just the natural evolution of authoritarian-utopian ideology. Communist and socialist utopianists tried to perfect human society, but human beings turned out to be imperfect, i.e. they liked money, air conditioning, toilet paper, free speech, and the like. So the utopianists quite logically tried to "perfect" something more malleable than human society, and turned their designs toward nature -- whose plants and animals don't talk back, form political parties, and revolt -- and against human beings, who do.

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