The Environmentalist Conservative: Behold the Purity of Obscurantist Evil

AdamReed's picture
Submitted by AdamReed on Thu, 2006-02-23 05:29

No Randian could fail to notice the incoherence of contemporary Conservatives, who combine nominal support for economic aspects of Capitalism with God-thumping social repression, and of contemporary Socialists (in America, "Liberals,") who combine nominal adherence to social liberalism with advocacy of Environmentalist prohibitions against economic progress. So here is an exhibit of pure evil: one Rod Dreher, a consistent advocate of obscurantist repression on all fronts - the Environmentalist Conservative.


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What Adam said... Victor:

Victor Pross's picture

What Adam said...

Victor: Objectivist--writer--artist--nice guy

Environment and Capitalism

AdamReed's picture

Bob,

Capitalism isn't primary - my life is. Anyone who impairs my ability to live a life appropriate to a human being is initiating force, and of course (after making sure that my complaint against him is factually true, and that in fact he has caused non-consensual harm to my life, or placed my life at objectively demonstrable risk, or made a credible threat of either) a proper government will intervene against him. So if there is evidence that, for example, someone has exposed me to a known carcinogen without my informed consent, then of course I will expect him to be detained, tried, and, if guilty, punished.

But as I teach my graduate students, it is so easy to program a computer model to give any "desired" result, that computer models are not objective evidence of anything. False "science" in the service of false "morality" never is. No special "environmental regulations" are needed to secure actual rights - ordinary law is all that is objectively needed for the job. Environmentalism, like any religion, is mostly about inventing excuses for the enforcement of a false "morality" that makes men less free.

Bob? What have ye to say?

Victor Pross's picture

Bob? What have ye to say?

Adam, pipe in...please.

Bob

Victor Pross's picture

I don't mean to "bud-in" on Adam, but I happen to be very interested in this subject, and I would like to address some of the concerns you make. My points will, in essense, address the issues.

First...

Does capitalism destroy the environment? No, it does not. Capitalism is the system of individual rights. It is the greatest protector of man's environment' (as opposed to the protection of the environment at the expense of man's well-being).

How is this possible?

Under capitalism all property is privately owned. If you pollute your own property that is your business (but in doing so you reduce the property value which would not be in your self-interest). However, the minute your pollution spreads to another person's property, and causes objectively provable damage, the owners of that property can sue you as a matter of right.

The right to property is not the privilege to damage or pollute the property of others. Witness that the privately owned locks and streams of Scotland are far cleaner than the government owned cesspools of socialist India.

What is the solution to pollution?

As for the disposing of the pollution of factories, this is a technological solution -- and capitalism, as the system of technological progress, is the only system that can provide such a solution.

Let me offer a defintion of capitalism, so you can see what it is that the 'Greens' want to "save the planet" from.

Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned. Under capitalism the state is separated from economics (production and trade), just like the state is separated from religion. Capitalism is the system of of laissez faire. It is the system of political freedom. In a political context, freedom has only one specific meaning -- freedom from the initiation of force by other men.

Wealth is the result of man's ability to think applied to the sphere of production and trade. Reason, ultimately, is the source of all wealth. As capitalism is the only social system that on principle leaves man free to think, capitalism is the only system of wealth creation. It is wealth, man and reason that the greens are out to destroy.

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Ayn Rand showed that we can not only contemplate the stars, but we can also reach them - in part by dispensing with the notion that we'll find a "God" there. "My philosophy, in essence" she said, "is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, & reason as his only absolute."

Bob, what is good for the "environment"? Private property rights. To the extent that a resource is owned in common, no one has an incentive to keep it from being destroyed or to economize on its use; the result is what is known as "the tragedy of the commons", the common resource being quickly depleted or destroyed--those environmental concerns that have validity invariably are the result of this phenomenon.

[edit] Mind you, I would hope that others Objectivists will also add their two-cents here.
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Adam, some questions

bobkolker's picture

Do you consider not pissing in a stream if you have downstream neighbors against economic progress?

What is your position on reckless endangerment? Is prohibiting trucks loaded with nitroglycerin from trundling down residential streets agains economic progress? What about flying jet planes with their after burners on less then a hundred feet over private homes at night? Is that against economic progress. More generally do you consider taking into account the safety and health of others as being against economic progress?  Do you discount questions of environmental side effects as being against economic progress?  I would not take kindly to anyone doing something that will kill off all or most of the birds and the bats. The birds and bats  eat bugs. I am not anxious to find myself up to my neck in bugs and have most of the crops destroyed in the fields.

Then there is the question of conflict. One man's economic progress may mean damages to another man. For example, do you think is o.k. to spew noxious and poisonous fumes into the air? How about venting radioactive gases from the neighborhood nuclear power generating station? I do not think requiring containment is an unreasonable restriction. The alternative is Chernobyl. Making several thousand square miles uninhabitable is not only inconsiderate, but is hardly conducive to general economic progress.

Bob Kolker

Mongrel Freak

Victor Pross's picture

What a mongrel freak. It would seem that some acid-tripping Bongo-water-drinking Woodstock freak met an Uber conservative-William F. Buckley-quoting-tweed-jacket turd---and conceived Rod Dreher

How do you crunch a crunchy Conservative?

Adam Buker's picture

With falafel beans and a nice Chiante....

Britain

Kenny's picture

This guy has had a lot of coverage in the British press, notably in The Times. Sadly, it appears that a lot of British Conservatives agree with him. How do you crunch a crunchy Conservative?

Yeah, JT

Lindsay Perigo's picture

How about New Zealand for your "spiritual [and physical] secession"? Smiling Small country, easier to turn around ... Smiling

Clearly, this Guy is Dangerous...

jtgagnon's picture

He's anti-capitalist, anti-individualist, pro-orthodox religion, pro-socialist. And what is interesting is that he has basically summed up the current approach of the Republican Party. I'll give him credit for actually being honest about it, but that's as far as I'll go. It just goes to show that the Republicans are no better than the Dems these days and the good old US of A is gonna get screwed by religious fundamentalists. I think I need to start considering a move to Tahiti.

Yuk, indeed!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

All the more dangerous *because* he's consistent, I fear.

Mind you, I *love* the journalist's expression, "spiritual secession." I'm sure * we* could do something with that!

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