This is another in a series of posts examining the deterioration of America’s ability to cope with reality, called the observation-orientation-decision-action loop (aka the OODA loop; at the end are links to other chapters in the series).
The rise of the Green religion is an example of this, as the previously majority religion (in Lewis Laptham’s words) “softens into Sunday School irrelevance.” Faith or need for the sacred can be displaced, but appearently not eliminated from human society — always providing an alternative to reason.
Excerpt from Money and Class in America, Lewis Laptham (1988):
It is no accident that environmentalism in its more militant phases is a rich man’s cause. The Club of Rome discovered the limits of growth while gathered on the terrace of a villa overlooking a vineyard that belonged to its founder.
Throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s the most diligent advocates of the movement tended to possess substantial wealth and property, and their expressions of concern about the natural world had a way of sounding like the pleasant condescensions of landowners asking tenant farmers about the chances of an early frost.
Their earnestness invariably reminded me of a lady who, making a show of her innocence, was nearly stabbed to death on a beach at East Hampston. From the deck of a glass house, at about noon on a Sunday in August, the lady noticed a company of fisherman dragging a heavy net through the surf. It had taken them six hours to set and haul the net, but the lady apparently wasn’t aware of their labor or their need to sell the fish for something so loathsome as money. The piteous sight of so many fish gasping on the sand moved her to politics. Arming herself with garden shears, she rushed forth to cut the net.
One of the younger fisherman, not yet accustomed to the whims of intellectual fashion, had to be restrained from driving a knife into the woman’s stomach. he didn’t understand that we was watching a dramatization of the lady’s innocence. Presumably she didn’t object so much to the killing of the fish (later that same evening I doubt that she had much difficulty eating smoked salmon); she objected to bearing witness, and therefore becoming an accomplice, to the killing. As long as the fish were killed in cold and distant seas she could pretend that they arrived on her table of their own free will. Like mine workers and cleaning women they chose their places in the universe for the sheer joy of doing what they always had wanted to do.
Update: Articles discussing environmentalism as a religion
As an emminent scientist, Dyson’s brief comment (#5) on the subject IMO deserves special attention.
- “Environmentalism as Religion“, Michael Crichton, speech at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco,15 September 2003
- “Faith in Nature: Environmentalism as Religious Quest“, Mark R. Stoll(Profesor of History at Texas Tech University), H-Net Reviews. September 2004.
- “Environmentalism as a religion“, Fernando Diaz Villanueva (author of Che Guevara), 22 March 2006
- “Environmentalism as Religion“, John M. Ostrowski, posted at Lew Rockwell, 21 March 2007
- “The Question of Global Warming“, Freeman Dyson (Wikipedia bio), The New York Review of Books, 12 June 2008
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To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar. Of esp relevance to this topic:
- About Science & Nature – my articles
- About Science & nature – studies & reports
- About Science & Nature – the history of climate fears
Some posts on the FM site about environmentalism:
- Some insights about Greenpeace, from one who knows, 21 December 2008
Posts about the sociology and politics of climate science:
A look at the science and politics of global warming, 12 June 2008
- President Kennedy speaks to us about global warming and Climate Science, 7 August 2008
- “Aliens cause global warming”: wise words from the late Michael Crichton, 15 November 2008
- My “wish list” for the climate sciences in 2009, 2 January 2009
- Apostasy against core leftist doctrine at the Huffington Post!, 13 January 2009
- Peer review of scientific work – another example of a flawed basis for public policy, 22 January 2009
- Obama opens his Administration with a powerful act that will echo for many years, 4 February 2009
- Science in action, a confused and often nasty debate among scientists, 5 February 2009
- Richard Feynmann, one of the 20th centuries greatest scientists, talks to us about climate science, 12 February 2009
- An opportunity to judge for yourself the adequacy of today’s climate science, 2 March 2009
Posts about America’s broken OODA loop:
- News from the Front: America’s military has mastered 4GW!, 2 September 2007
- The two tracks of discussion about the Iraq War, never intersecting, 10 November 2007
- Diagnosing the eagle, chapter I — the housing bust, 6 December 2007
- Another cycle down the Defense Death Spiral, 30 January 2008
- Quote of the day: this is America’s geopolitical strategy in action, 26 February 2008
- What do blogs do for America?, 26 February 2008
- Everything written about the economic crisis overlooks its true nature, 24 February 2009
- The housing crisis allows America to look in the mirror. What do we see?, 9 March 2009
- Globalization and free trade – wonders of a past era, now enemies of America, 16 March 2009