Friday, 8 December 2006

Quote for today: The Anti-Industrial Revolution...

[O]bserve that in all the propaganda of the ecologists—amidst all their appeals to nature and pleas for "harmony with nature"—there is no discussion of man's needs and the requirements of his survival. Man is treated as if he were an unnatural phenomenon. Man cannot survive in the kind of state of nature that the ecologists envision—i.e., on the level of sea urchins or polar bears. . . .

In order to survive, man has to discover and produce everything he needs, which means that he has to alter his background and adapt it to his needs. Nature has not equipped him for adapting himself to his background in the manner of animals. From the most primitive cultures to the most advanced civilizations, man has had to manufacture things; his well-being depends on his success at production. The lowest human tribe cannot survive without that alleged source of pollution: fire. It is not merely symbolic that fire was the property of the gods which Prometheus brought to man. The ecologists are the new vultures swarming to extinguish that fire.
[Ayn Rand (1971), "The Anti-Industrial Revolution," Return of the Primitive, 277.]


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Excellent post.

  3. The deleted comment was mine. I was having Blogger bugs before and tried logging in using my Gmail address and it used treated it as a Blogger user name.

    Anyway, the comment had said FF's.

  4. PC, I think this might be taking too much of an absolutist slant (hark back to our previous discussion re: deep ecology and relevance to modern-day environmental thought).

    I don't think that today's mainstream environmentalism can be realistically subjected to Rand's reductio.

    The crux is where Rand makes a generalisation as to "...the kind of state of nature that the ecologists envision..." I imagine that in 1971 there were plenty more of the evangelical firebrand-type enviro-nutters to pin this to, but I don't really think it has relevance today as a criticism of mainstream environmentalism. There are few prominent or influential environmentalists who seek to return us to the caves - instead they (we) are the ones pushing people to innovate, to take up new, friendlier technology, and to give up reliance on current, antiquated practices.

    I know that I haven't got a shit-show of shaking your belief in the undercurrent of the Rand quote (ie environmentalism is anti-human) but I ask you to think carefully about how relevant her thirty-five year old quote is in today's world (outside of vague allegory).

    DenMT (counting the seconds till beer)

    PS Does Resene put on a shout for Auckland architects?

  5. The crux, Den, is that even your best mainstream ecologists view man and his activities as somehow sui generis, outside nature, rather than as something fundamentally necessary to his survival.

    That fundamental philosophical view hasn't changed in thirty-five years, unfortunately.

  6. Environmentalism by government decree is anti-human. To be an environmentalist is not. Most people care about the environment and any political party that claims not to is doomed to extinction itself.

    Take over-fishing - fish counts are a boring part of my brother's job. The biological diversity is just getting totally destroyed -- and the main reason is govt subsidies. Fish are being taken way beyond when it would be viable in the free market to do so.

    Governments - not the free market are the problem. Same with deforestation.

  7. "PS Does Resene put on a shout for Auckland architects? "


    Now this would be a good incentive to join the Institute! ;^)

  8. Resene do was last night. I am convinced it is the main reason most Wellington architects specify Resene.

    I have a headache.



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