Skip to comments.Environmentalism and the Leisure Class
Posted on 01/20/2012 3:52:24 PM PST by BfloGuy
In turning down Keystone, however, the President has uncovered an ugly little secret that has always lurked beneath the surface of environmentalism. Its basic appeal is to the affluent. Despite all the professions of being "liberal" and "against big business," environmentalism's main appeal is that it promises to slow the progress of industrial progress. People who are already comfortable with the present state of affairs -- who are established in the environment, so to speak -- are happy to go along with this. It is not that they have any greater insight into the mysteries and workings of nature. They are happier with the way things are. In fact, environmentalism works to their advantage. The main danger to the affluent is not that they will be denied from improving their estate but that too many other people will achieve what they already have. As the Forest Service used to say, the person who built his mountain cabin last year is an environmentalist. The person who wants to build one this year is a developer.
Environmentalism has spent three decades trying to hide this simple truth. How can environmentalists be motivated by self-interest when they are anti-business? Doesn't that align them with the working classes? Well, not quite. You can be anti-business as a union member trying to claim higher wages but you can also be anti-business as a member of the aristocracy who believes "trade" and "commercialism" are crass and not attuned to the higher things in life. Environmentalism is born from the latter, not the former. It has spent decades trying to pretend it has common cause with the working people. With the defeat of the Keystone Pipeline, this is no longer possible.
(Excerpt) Read more at spectator.org ...
What finally focused my attention on the aristocratic roots of environmentalism, however, was a chapter in Thorstein Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class. Although the book is justly famous for coining "conspicuous consumption" and "conspicuous waste," there is a lesser-known chapter entitled "Industrial Exemption" that perfectly describes the environmental zeitgeist. Veblen posed the question, why is it that people who are the greatest beneficiaries of industrial society are often the most passionate in condemning it? He provided a simple answer. People in the leisure class have become so accustomed affluence as the natural state of things that they no longer feel compelled to embrace any further industrial progress:
It took me a long time to come to grips with the idea that the left wants no further industrialization; that, in fact, they want to deindustrialize the nation. I resisted believing it for years -- as my younger friends and liberal acquaintences still do.
But the EPA's regulations that will shut down dozens of powerplants, the administration's foot-dragging on Gulf deepwater drilling, Albany's refusal to approve fracking for natural gas, and Obama's refusal to approve the Keystone pipeline, though, can only lead one to that conclusion.
They wrongly assume their lives won't change; and they don't care if ours do.
...the President has uncovered an ugly little secret that has always lurked beneath the surface of environmentalism. Its basic appeal is to the affluent... The main danger to the affluent is not that they will be denied from improving their estate but that too many other people will achieve what they already have. As the Forest Service used to say, the person who built his mountain cabin last year is an environmentalist. The person who wants to build one this year is a developer.
Reposting from earlier this week:
Actually, the idea in candidate countries where traitors are TRYING to make it Marxist, is to weaken the country from the inside, so that it will fall to invasion from outside Marxist entities (China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, ...)
Ive never understood this kind of thinking by the Marxists working to sabotage a country from within. After all ...
1) why not build UP a nation in Marxism, to TAKE OVER the outside Marxist nations?
2) the outside Marxists (China, Russia, ...) will just line up the traitors to the USA in public and on USA TV (saboteur Marxists operating in the USA), have them shot, and then say, this is what WE do with traitors. Message being, dont even think of disloyalty to THIS NEW nation we have established.
The saboteur traitor Marxists in the USA are expecting a nice apartment, a cushy government job, and a pat on the back from the Marxists they invite to invade with their tax increases and defense cuts, but theyll just be the 1st to die by firing squad once the outside Marxists take over.
But, Ill keep praying for a Christian revival, so that it might not come to that.
This is a brilliant article. So often followers of movements fail to grasp its real purpose or motives. In part because they’re fed nuanced explanations which always appeal to emotions. That’s a critical element. In this case the virtues of “saving the planet” or “preserving nature”. Well, who wants to oppose any of these things? But of course it’s all predicated on deceptive scientific evidence (appeal to authority) and plenty of false dilemmas. But, it’s funny, there’s never any shortage of tools and fools who will swoon under their spell— even in the face of adverse consequences...like economic deprivation and pain. Go fracking figure!
The author wrote an unusually well considered piece from knowledge on the subject. I doubt that most of the NIMBYs are so “affluent,” but they receive enough cash flow from various levels of government and government-linked companies to be “established” in rural areas (e.g., some parts of the Rockies). They’re also members of both political parties and have control of local politics (see Agenda 21, etc.). Such people proclaim that they won’t allow one more light to shine on any other neighbor’s property.
Imagine a one-man manufacturing operation in a very remote area (no other people or houses in sight) being illegal (zoning). Imagine being prohibited by “gatekeeping” from building anything (high “impact fees,” “open space” policies, engineering required for simple building/installation tasks, planning office clerks simply saying, “No,” etc.).
A friend of mine shared a phrase to describe them, BTW: “first settler syndrome.”
Oh, I agree. I would tend to define the modern "leisure class" as those who no longer make, fix, dig, grow, mine, fish, or kill things to make a living. Now, there are certainly conservatives who work in offices, government, and non-profits. But that sort of work, divorced from the "dirty" part of life, can lead to a mistaken belief that civilization has been achieved and no longer needs to be re-created.
Victor Davis Hanson's writing of late has been very good on this topic.
Thanks, and well said. I’ve noticed that they generally avoid manual labor outdoors. They tend to focus their negative attentions and complaints against those of us, who build our own projects.
He also said that a no-growth economy is dominated by politico-economic risk aversion and an inwards turn. In other words, a throttled economy brings forth monopolies, cartels...and xenophobia.
Like the greenie who got eaten by a bear, the viros don't know what they're doing. Sad to say that everyone has to get what that claque deserves, unless it's stopped.
Perfect example is the California Coastal Commission. It essentially stops any development near the ocean, thus greatly enhancing the value of existing properties. Similar to "green line" statutes prohibiting building past artificially designated boundaries.
On a national level, "wilderness area" designation has a similar impact. Clinton did a lot of that in his final days in office.
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