Wednesday, 20 February 2008

And the link is ... (updated)

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:

Green-Hammer&Sickle-739240    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 Green-Swastika-Flag-725585destroying 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...Green-UN-Flag-794113
   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.

Read all of Reisman's challenge here, and his puzzle here.

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...

Read on here..


  1. Yes, it is quite possible to be pro-environment and anti-environmentalism. I have been for years.

    On another note, comparing every man and his dog to a Nazi or a communist is getting tiresome, not to mention tasteless.

  2. Indeed, sharing a similar ethical framework with a Nazi or a communist is both tasteless and destructive -- hence the invitation to reflect on that link.

  3. "Ethical framework' or not - environmentalists and Barack Obama have not gassed and incinerated millions of people.

    The image of the swastika is a very emotional and offensive one for many groups - and unnecessary.

    Reisman's essay is excellent,and I will post it myself, but the more 'Nazi' is used for emotional effect, the less effect it has.

  4. Least we forget....or fail to recognise the same threat in a different guise....

  5. Oh silly anonymous! Stop pointing to the facts, PC knows God dammed everything and you are obviously a complete Communist who wants to enslave us all for even suggesting such a philosophical compromise.

    Get this straight now (it will help with the correct interpretation of this blog), Libertarians are always completely correct and everybody else is always completely wrong.

    Doubting anything a Libertarian says immediately means you probably have a shrine to Stalin in your spare bedroom, you just don't know it yet.

  6. I'm with anonymous on this on - it's simple Godwin's law: "a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that once such a comparison [to Nazis] is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically "lost" whatever debate was in progress."

    Mentioning Nazis instantly makes any argument seem breathless, over-the-top and stupid.

    I'm completely with you on the message, but AAAARRRRRGGHH would you stop mentioning Nazis already!

    Christ. I need coffee.

  7. AAAARRRRRGGHH would you stop mentioning Nazis already!

    Or else Obamakarma will get you.

  8. Oh yes, right, so if one identifies a common link between the ideas underpinning Nazism, communism and environmentalism we should simply keep it to ourselves?

    Righto. I'll email George and tell him to keep his mouth shut in future, by order of Luke and some person too scared to put their name to their argument.

  9. Godwin's Law is rubbish. It is foolish to say a debate is lost simply because a reference is made to a particular ideology or political system.

    Look you idiots, since the Greens/Environmentalists share ideals, ideologies, methods, criminality and various other attributes of such vermin as National Socialists, Communists etc., then that point should be publicised. It should be raised and confronted, not suppressed or evaded as you would like.


  10. No one is saying you should keep it to yourself - people are saying you should find a more appropriate comparison.

    Nazis are brought into the argument from those of all political stripes to smear the opponent as not just wrong, but evil. Nazis were responsible for the Holocaust remember - one of, or *the* most evil event in history. This is what readers think when they see the word Nazi.

    Even though environmentalists are quite wrong in their approach, they are not evil.

    And it's an ineffective technique - as soon as someone mentions Hitler or Stalin people either laugh or are offended. They don't take the argument seriously as Luke said. Refer the FSC billboards.

    You disagree, so be it.

  11. Anonymouse

    Environmentalism is evil because it is based on evil theories and evil practices. It is a political ideology that shares many of the attributes (such as ideals and principles) of national socialism, socialism in general and communism. That is the fact of the matter. That is what Prof Reisman has been demonstrating for some years now.

    Now it is clear you are not prepared to face fact. You'd rather evade. Not good enough.

    Your twisting and turning is reminiscent of socialists when it is pointed out to them that National Socialism was (and is) nothing more than a particular type of socialism. How they squeal and try to hide. Any rhetorical device they can locate will be employed to deceive, to lie, to try to slime away from the facts.

    BTW the observation that there is little different between the national socialist brand of socialism and all the other vaieties of socialism was well explained by Ludwig Von Mises as early as the 1920s. It was no great secret back then. Funny how hard socialists have attempted to supress that information.

    It is best to discuss things like the close relationship and similarity between environmentalism and nazism etc. openly.


  12. LGM I concede you do have a point, but it's a small one. I am of Jewish descent and I don't like the Nazi rhetoric.

    If you want to move out of the realm of theoretical abstraction and to examine fascism in action look at NZ Conservative blog. Are you familiar with the quote-

    When fascism comes to America it will come wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross. - Sinclair Lewis

    I have admired Reisman for some time, but I'm sorry, I think in the Nazi comparison, the most he and PC are likely to accomplish is repudiation and marginalisation of libertarian ideology.

    To paraphrase Glenn Greenwald, there are hordes of people, regardless of ideology, yearning for an end to the vapid dirt-mongering that infects and shapes our politics.


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