A note on the green religion, one of the growth industries in America

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.

Afterword

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Afterword

Please share your comments by posting below.  Per the FM site’s Comment Policy, please make them brief (250 words max), civil, and relevant to this post.  Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

For information about this site see the About page, at the top of the right-side menu bar.

For more information from the FM site

To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar. Of esp relevance to this topic:

Some posts on the FM site about environmentalism:

Posts about the sociology and politics of climate science:

  1. President Kennedy speaks to us about global warming and Climate Science, 7 August 2008
  2. “Aliens cause global warming”: wise words from the late Michael Crichton, 15 November 2008
  3. My “wish list” for the climate sciences in 2009, 2 January 2009
  4. Apostasy against core leftist doctrine at the Huffington Post!, 13 January 2009
  5. Peer review of scientific work – another example of a flawed basis for public policy, 22 January 2009
  6. Obama opens his Administration with a powerful act that will echo for many years, 4 February 2009
  7. Science in action, a confused and often nasty debate among scientists, 5 February 2009
  8. Richard Feynmann, one of the 20th centuries greatest scientists, talks to us about climate science, 12 February 2009
  9. An opportunity to judge for yourself the adequacy of today’s climate science, 2 March 2009

Originally published at Fabius Maximus and reproduced here with the author’s permission.