Wednesday, May 15, 2002

MORE ON MISANTHROPIC ENVIRONMENTALISM from a reader on Andrew Sullivan's book club page:
I think it's Lomborg's desire to apply a human-centered cost-benefit analysis to the environment that really bothers environmentalists. They're quite rightly afraid that in a democratic society, people with values different from theirs will sometimes decide that the price of saving some particular part of nature is too high, and will choose to just say goodbye to it instead.
I haven't read Lomborg's book, but I'm interested that some people who have keep touching on this theme of misanthropy in environmentalist ideology. Of course the environmentalists dislike people because they pollute. But what's worse, even when you tell people they're polluting, sometimes they vote to keep doing it. Sometimes they choose building a dam to generate electricity over the best interests of the local salmon population. They actually insist on viewing themselves as legitimate members of the natural order entitled to prefer their own interests to the interests of other species -- you know, like other species do -- and not as alien intruders, or a virus (see "Mr. Smith" in The Matrix), to be quarantined off from "pristine" nature. Of course many environmentalists are misanthropes -- and statist, anti-democratic, and anti-capitalist. People, and institutions like democracy and private property that give them power, are the problem. UPDATE: The permalinks to Sullivan's book club page don't seem to work; here's the main link; scroll down to letters for Tuesday, May 14.

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