Friday, November 6, 2015

Must Read: The Religion of Environmentalism By Bruce Thornton

With heavy emphasis on the MENTAL part...

"Ancient myths about nature and our relationship to it are deeply embedded in our culture."

"Particularly influential has been the myth of the Golden Age, a time before civilization when humans lived in harmony with nature, “free from toil and grief,” as the Greek poet Hesiod wrote, and enjoying “all good things, for the fruitful earth unforced bore them fruit abundantly and without stint. [People] dwelt in ease and peace upon their lands and with many good things.” Hesiod establishes the key elements of the myth that have persisted until today: an imagined time without crime, sickness, war, and misery; and a maternal nature that provides sustenance without human labor."

"The Golden Age myth has been one of the most long-lived and popular in Western history, for obvious reasons. It imagines a lost paradise that offers psychic refuge from the complexities and trade-offs of civilization, especially the impact of the technologies that mediate our existence. It speaks to our anxieties about the power of science and the dangers of its meddling with nature. All these attractive consolations help explain why certain strains of modern environmentalism, despite their patina of science, have echoed the motifs of this ancient myth."

"The psychic solaces of myth, when limited to consoling those who need it, are not a problem. But they can be pernicious when applied to public policy."


"Policies that impact human well-being should be based on reliable science, not consolatory myths. Even if global warming is true, the attempts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by attacking carbon-based energy will not in the long run do much for slowing global emissions, even as they damage the world’s economies and retard the economic development that can improve the material well-being of billions of people. Those people should not suffer because comfortable, well-fed Westerners indulge their mythic longings for a lost paradise that never existed."