George Reisman offers both a puzzle and a challenge for environmentalists. He asks you first to identify the common link between communism, nazism and environmentalism -- and before you erupt in outrage once you've uncovered it, may I invite you to examine and reflect upon the link he identifies. It's important.
Here's a clue: it's a particular view of ethics, encapsulated in just one hyphenated word.
Perhaps you think that to even suggest such a link is absurd? Offensive even? Then just consider Reisman's argument that it is neither:
The “extremists” among you openly call for the death of 1 to 6.4 billion human beings. The “moderates” among you openly call for the forced reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 90 percent within a few decades, which would serve to reduce energy use almost to the same extent. Such a severe reduction in energy use follows from the fact that there are no presently existing large-scale viable alternatives to fossil fuels other than atomic power, which is regarded by most members of your movement as a death ray and is opposed more vehemently than fossil fuels. Furthermore, the likelihood of ever finding and developing such alternatives will be greatly reduced by destroying the energy sources we do have and need to increase. So what your movement advocates is mass death or, at the very least, dreadful mass impoverishment whose outcome will be tens or hundreds of millions of unnecessary deaths and a life of misery for those who survive.
If your motivation in calling yourself an environmentalist is merely such things as that you like to see flowers bloom on open meadows, and you love trees, whales, and polar bears and the like, then you owe it to yourself to put as much intellectual and moral distance as possible between you and those who do advocate mass impoverishment and mass death...
If you care about your moral character, don’t place an indelible stain on it by supporting a movement that seeks to destroy Industrial Civilization and all the human lives and human well-being that depend on it. Accept moral responsibility for the ideas you propound and stop standing in the service of mass destruction and death.
UPDATE 1: Xavier at the Reluctant Botanist offers a contrary opinion.
UPDATE 2: Owen McShane suggests that as it becomes more and more obvious we're going to see more and more people making these connections -- and he points me to his recent paper written for Muriel Newman's webpage: Beware the Dark Greens.
We may all be Environmentalists now – but we must beware of the Dark Greens
Over the last few decades most of us have learned to be feminists, and are generally comfortable with our conversion. But most of us have also learned to identify and avoid being grouped with the dark side of the feminist movement that remains deeply Marxist in its roots and intentions.
Similarly, most of us are now environmentalists. We take some pride in our efforts to care for our surroundings, and to ensure that we enjoy the world around us without despoiling it for others. However, we also need to be conscious of the motives of the “dark greens” who threaten our democracy and many institutions and attitudes we hold equally dear...