A Brief History Of Environmentalism

Environmentalism has so thoroughly permeated world culture that the saving-the-planet rhetoric is accepted even by those who don’t really regard themselves as dyed-in-the-skein environmentalists. It is taught as holy writ in public schools, and it’s espoused by poets, priests, and politicians alike.

This monstrous ideology would, given the first opportunity, destroy humankind, a fact of which the leaders of this movement make no secret.

It is therefore of great importance to expose this ideology for what it actually is: a neo-Marxist philosophy that masquerades as something benevolent and life-affirming, but which in reality explicitly calls for humans to be subordinated to nature, via an elite bureau of centralized planners who, as you would suspect, are the ones that get to decide for the rest of us how we must live.

It was Jean-Jacques Rousseau who first began propounding the immanent-goodness-of-nature-untouched-by-man ideology. Rousseau also deplored “the corrupting influence of reason, culture, and civilization.” In fact, Rousseau, like many of our current politicians, also preached economic egalitarianism and tribal democracy, the “collective will,” and the primacy of the group over the individual. In a great many ways, Rousseau is the founder of present-day environmentalism.

His so-called Eden Premise was picked up by all the pantheists and transcendentalists, such as Henry David Thoreau (who at least was very much pro-limited-government, coining the famous phrase: “That government governs best which governs least.”); John Muir (founder of Sierra Club), Aldo Leopold (who helped found the Wilderness Society), and of course the propagandist Rachel Carson.

When, in 1860, Thoreau wrote that forests untouched by humans grow toward “the greatest regularity and harmony,” he inadvertently changed the life of a biologist named George Perkins Marsh, who in 1864 wrote a book called Man and Nature. In this extraordinarily influential book, George Marsh also tried to convince us that, absent humans, mother nature and her processes work in perfect harmony:

“Man” (said Marsh) “is everywhere a disturbing agent. Wherever he plants his foot, the harmonies of nature are turned to discord…. [Humans] are brute destroyers … [Humans] destroy the balance which nature had established.”

“But” (he continued) “nature avenges herself upon the intruder, [bringing humans] deprivation, barbarism, and perhaps even extinction.”

Just as Thoreau influenced George Marsh, so George Marsh influenced a man named Gifford Pinchot, and also a man named John Muir.

Gifford Pinchot was a utilitarian who loathed private ownership of natural resources. He was also the first chief of the United States Forest Service under Republican President Theodore Roosevelt.

Gifford Pinchot was a collectivist who believed in sacrificing individuals and their property for the sake of “the greatest number.”

It was in large part because of Pinchot that the United States’ federal government increased its land holdings dramatically, so that today over one third of America is owned by the federal government — which holdings comprise over half of America’s known resources, including “a third of our oil, over 40 percent of salable timber and natural gas, and most of the nation’s coal, copper, silver, asbestos, lead, and other minerals.”

In his excellent account of American environmentalism, Philip Shabecoff says this:

“Pinchot wanted the forests managed for their usefulness, not for their beauty… He was not interested in preserving the natural landscape for its own sake.”

At the very least, Pinchot, a conservationist, was, however, still semi pro-human.

John Muir, on the other hand, Pinchot’s nemesis, was not pro-human. In fact, he was the diametric opposite.

It was John Muir, a Scottish immigrant, who introduced misanthropy into the environmental pseudo-philosophy, which misanthropy reigns supreme to this very day.

“How narrow we selfish, conceited creatures are in our sympathies!” said John Muir, who said astonishingly racist things against the Indians of Yosemite Valley. “How blind to the rights of all the rest of creation! Well, I have precious little sympathy for the selfish propriety of civilized man, and if a war of races should occur between the wild beasts and Lord Man, I would be tempted to sympathize with the bears.”

From John Muir, it was only a short step to one Ernst Haeckel (1834 – 1919), a German zoologist, who told us that individuals don’t actually exist. Human individuals do not possess an individual consciousness, he said, because humans are only a part of a greater whole, and 1866 Haeckel coined that fated term “ecology,” which he defined as “the whole science of the relations of the organism to the environment.”

It was an Oxford botanist named A. G. Tansley who, in 1935, introduced the word “ecosystem.”

According to this same Tansley, individual entities don’t exist but are merely part of “the basic units of nature on the face of the earth.”

Aldo Leopold’s wildly popular Sand County Almanac was published in 1948. It preached “the pyramid of life,” and in order to preserve this pyramid, Leopold told us that federal governments must “enlarge the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals [which] changes the role of Homo Sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it.”

A Norwegian named Arne Naess (1913 – 2009) also believed that human individuals don’t actually exist. Only ecosystems do. It was Naess who first argued that the “shallow ecology,” as he called it, “of mainstream conservation groups” benefits humans too much. Thus, Naess began calling for “deep ecology” — i.e. “biospheric egalitarianism with the equal right [of all things] to live and blossom.”

These are just a small handful of the phrases and catchphrases that have now frozen into secular dogma, and which Rachel Carson, with her puerile pen, brought to the mewling masses. Her book Silent Spring opens like this:

There once was a town in the heart of America where all life seemed to live in harmony with its surroundings. The town lay in the midst of a checkerboard of prosperous farms, with fields of grain and hillsides of orchard where, in spring, white clouds of bloom drifted above the fields. In autumn, oak and maple and birch set up a blaze of color that flamed and flickered across a backdrop of pines. Then foxes barked in the hills and deer silently crossed the fields, half hidden in the mists of the fall morning… The town is almost devoid of robins and starlings; chickadees have not been present for two years, and this year the cardinals are gone too… ‘Will they ever come back?’ the children ask, and I do not have the answer.

This was published in 1962. Almost fifty years later, robins, starlings, and chickadees continue to flourish, as they always have.

Most sane people see through this sort of pablum like a fishnet. It’s the insane people who have swallowed it hook, line, and sinker.

The rest, of course, is history.