“Aha! It’s finally happened – I knew it. And Robin is furious.”
So said my wife one morning last week, as we read the papers over breakfast. Robin is our neighbor – 40s, married to Roger, has 3 kids.
“What’s happened?” I asked. “Don’t tell me Roger has run off with that bimbo at the Hooters restaurant.”
“No, no, no,” she replied. “Nothing that trivial. It’s her kitchen appliances.”
“What? Has Roger’s beer exploded and blown up the refrigerator? What’s going on?”
“Robin has just learned that kitchen appliances are going back to white,” my wife patiently explained (as if speaking to a particularly slow child). “She had all of her appliances replaced with stainless steel last month. Now an article in the paper confirms it. White is in – stainless and black are out. Robin is going crazy. She’s threatening to sue the appliance store and the realtor who told her she had to make the change if they wanted to sell their house.”
I couldn’t help grinning to myself, since I had stubbornly resisted the same advice from a realtor just a few years earlier, when we thought we might sell. (This was before the realty market in our area tanked.) I had insisted that white kitchen appliances would always be “in”. After I said that, the realtor treated me as if I were a (possibly dangerous) idiot. We didn’t sell, but nobody else on our street did, either – even those with those correctly colored ranges.
“Tell Robin that stainless steel and black will come back,” I said. “She should just give it a little time – maybe 15 years. Remember the avocado appliances? Manufacturers like to change colors because they know some people are dumb enough to discard a good appliance for its color. It’s crazy. What if people started junking their cars because the colors were no longer in fashion?”
The wife went back to her paper while I reflected on how much money American consumers are able to waste on silly stuff. In some parts of the world, people are using washing machines with hand wringers. They have refrigerators from FDR’s time. And they don’t care what color they are. In other places, people say, “What’s a washing machine?” – or maybe, “What’s a machine?” Millions of women still beat their wash on flat rocks on a stream-bank.
Few of us realize that dark forces are gathering who want to do more than cluck about extravagant American consumerism. They want to reintroduce us to the flat-rock laundry. On-demand electricity, air conditioning, the car, plenteous fuel, the economic freedom furnished by modern technology and manufacturing – all of these are on the hit-list of the ecological “storm troops” who want to take us back to the stone age (or earlier).
Most Americans don’t know this because…well, we’re Americans. We rarely react to danger until it’s coming down the chimney. Even then, we often lapse into denial mode – letting ourselves be persuaded that the danger really wasn’t so bad, or didn’t exist at all. If terrorists should hit Baltimore with an a-bomb, some political faction would arise, three or four years out, to say we should “move on” and put it behind us. (After all, it was only Baltimore…)
I won’t try to go into the “why” of eco-primitivism – only a little about the ”what” and the “how”. Explaining the “what” is pretty challenging, but I found this definition on the South Asia Citizens Wire (SACW) of December 19, 2004:
“Eco-primitivism implies, in its most radical form, a return to the golden age of hunter-gatherer society. …Civilization itself is the problem, and nothing short of overthrowing or abandoning civilization is required to restore ecological balance on this planet.”
Most Americans consider this absurd. Who would want to deconstruct the industrial and technological foundation of the country? It must be a scare story spread by oil or coal companies or other “polluters”. Because Big Media have not properly exposed this radical effort, the public is still largely unaware of what it means and how it might be implemented.
Years ago, I heard Dr. James Dobson speak of a radical movement, which didn’t yet have a name. He said its premise was that humanity was destroying the planet, so its proponents wanted to reduce Earth’s population to about 300 million people. Dr. Dobson wondered what would happen to the other 5.7 billion. At the time, this seemed beyond bizarre – probably the way Hitler’s crazed “racial purity” theories must have sounded in the 1920s – so I paid it little mind.
There’s still very little on the Internet about EP, but some reports are starting to pop up, including some critiques. A young philosopher named J. H. Bowden has posted some Youtube commentary entitled “Environmentalism and Primitivism” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uNLkD5U1zc). Mr. Bowden combines a Bachelor’s degree in physics with an interest in philosophy and mathematics. He claims no climate-expertise, but he comments quite analytically on some aspects of the burgeoning push toward making society more primitive and less technological.
Mr. Bowden notes that “Saving the Earth” is religious language, and that the campaign to “save” us from global warming is really a secular religion. He details the religion’s four dogmas:
(1) Earth is “in the balance”. Man’s “original sin” was defiling Earth’s primitive Garden of Eden by eating the “forbidden fruit” of industry, technology, civilization and consumerism. This is not science. The earth has changed continually over millions of years – radical climate-change, whole continents moving, species disappearing, etc. – but it has not become barren or uninhabitable, nor has it needed “saving”.
(2) Small is good. Primitivists praise small towns and ruralism, while denouncing large cities and high-tech civilization. Following this line would give us “world-wide Bangaladesh”. We would all be buring wood, which is very bad for the environment. Cities actually offer efficiencies of technology and scale that put less strain on the environment. [i.e., less eco-strain from compressed urban living than from individual rural farming plots. – WZ]
(3) Anti-technology. Eco-Primitivists are anti-technology. If they really were for the environment, they would push nuclear power, which produces no carbon dioxide. Opposing it shows an anti-technology bias with a distinctly religious cast. [i.e., Nuclear = Evil] EP favors solar power, but it would turn against it if solar installations should threaten some obscure squirrel in the Mohave Desert, for instance.
(4) Anti-capitalism. Eco-primitivists are socialists – “green on the outside, but red on the inside”. But why? Socialism has a horrible environmental record – the USSR being a notable example. China is the worst CO2-emitter on the planet. Only free, capitalist societies have any concern for the environment.
Mr. Bowden caps his analysis of the EP religious dogma by ridiculing “carbon credits” as modern-day “indulgences” that allow “sin” for a price but produce no reduction in sin. He also indicts the great global warming preacher Al Gore as a major environmental “sinner” who owns four mansions, drives huge vehicles, has heated sidewalks, and flies across the country in private airplanes. “He is going to lecture me on the environment?” asks Mr. Bowden.
The “how” of eco-primitivism is obviously government. This is why the movement has such a strong socialist flavor. EP-implementation requires government’s coecive hand. Ordinary people, aware of the agenda, would never buy it. A key tool of the EP strategy is the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which enables a wide range of actions that the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service deems necessary to protect species it has marked “endangered”.
Readers who recall the snail darter, spotted owl, and timber wolf need to start thinking polar bear, ANWR and global warming. Environmental groups have sued the federal government to force listing of the polar bear as an “endangered species”, under provisions of the ESA. Of course, the public already knows the polar bear is dying off due to disappearing polar sea ice. Media coverage has widely documented this phenomenon.
However, no such thing is occurring. The following passage appeared in an article written by H. Sterling Burnett and published in Environment News on March 1, 2007:
“Since the 1970s, while much of the world was warming, polar bear numbers increased dramatically, from roughly 5,000 to 25,000 bears, a higher polar bear population than has existed at any time in the twentieth century. Scientists believe polar bears thrived in the past in temperatures even warmer than at present – during the medieval warm period 1,000 years ago and during the Holocene Climate Optimum between 5,000 and 9,000 years ago.”
The rush to list the polar bear as “endangered” is based on computer-model “predictions” that melting ice will make the polar bear extinct in 50 years. A 2030 extinction-date has been mentioned in some quarters. Meanwhile, the coldest winter in a century has restored much of the arctic sea-ice lost during recent decades. There is no sign that the polar bear is in any danger. It is all in the imagination of global warming alarmists, who ignore the documented fact that the climate has not warmed since 1998.
Why do we care? Because the “endangered” polar bear listing, based on predictions of global warming, could stop not only arctic oil drilling but any industrial or human activity that produces CO2 – the politically accepted “cause” of climate warming. It could become illegal to produce electricity by burning fossil fuels – illegal to drive a car or heat your home (or so expensive that it won’t be possible for millions of people). No more power mowers or back-yard barbeques.
Ridiculous? Yes, but remember that the endangered spotted owl stopped the logging industry dead in certain parts of the northwest. (Most of us didn’t notice this because we aren’t in the lumber trade.) The polar bear could wreck the industrial economy and free life that has made the USA the envy of the world. A few bureaucrats and a bear could accomplish what Hitler couldn’t do.
No new laws are needed for this to happen. The ESA is already in place; new law would be needed to stop it. Think that will be no problem? Consider that we are paying nearly $4 for a gallon of gas, while Congress and the president refuse to permit development of known reserves. ANWR oil was put off limits by a Clinton Executive Order that Mr. Bush could easily undo. If he did, the price of oil would crash, driving world markets to panic selling. OPEC might dissolve.
Why doesn’t Mr. Bush or the Congress do this? You tell me. Maybe Mark Twain was right about Congress being America’s only “distinct criminal class”. I have argued for years that Mr. Bush is smarter than liberals think he is, but I’m reconsidering. If we sit on untapped oil, and the endangered polar bear listing goes through without his intervention, he’ll deserve the dunce-cap. Ronald Reagan said America isn’t a “suicide pact”, but I’m beginning to wonder.