Categorized | Current Events, Politics, Science

Environmentalism and Conservationism

In the modern world, environmental issues are polarized.  The so-called “right wing” of the industrialized world shuns any notion of environmental protection for a number of reasons, chief among them being that such controls harm the ability of businesses or corporations to create a profit.  Meanwhile, the left-wing, keen to seize upon such an opposition by political rivals, has taken up the cause of environmentalism as their own, falsely stating that their concern was for mankind.

Thus, the state of environmentalist movements in the modern world reflects an entirely modernist and defeatist perspective, which is characteristic of the liberal mindset.  Such people are merely sentimentalists who, being trivial, participate in what they consider to be “saving the environment” because they have become oversocialized and entrenched in their own delusions.

No!

In the past, the traditional attitude towards the environment was much more subtle.  For instance, we see that in Hellenistic mythology, that the “Golden Age” was  associated with a primordial purity of both the spirit and its surroundings.  The philosophers Empedocles and Hesiod also emphasized that during this time, there was harmony in all of nature, including human society.  Sayyed Hossein Nasr, the Iranian traditionalist scholar, articulates that the underpinnings of the environmental crisis stem from the modern materialistic and secular worldview.  For Nasr, the solution to the environmental problems of the modern day is not the sentimental behavior of leftists, nor necessarily a change in government policy, but a rediscovery of ‘traditional’ religious cosmology, values and truths. Nasr explicitly draws on religious, mystical metaphysical systems of thought that have, in his view, been eclipsed by modernity and need to be revived.

In light of this evidence, we need to re-visit the attitude of conservatives when it comes to environmental issues.  It can be said that there is a dichotomy between environmentalism and conservationism.  The former believes that man must be subordinated to nature, while the latter makes man the master of his surroundings; the former is chthonic and feminine, while the other is solar and masculine.  Environmentalism is at best a re-hashing of primitive pagan ideas.  Conservationism and deep ecology, however, make man the steward of his environment and accord him the position of being the master of his surroundings, a perspective which is common to many higher religions.  The earth then, is subject to man, and can be modified by man to help himself.

Because Traditionalism, when applied to any political action, is meant to transcend the dichotomous concept of left-vs-right, the Traditionalist outlook on the environment need not be limited to liberal-bourgeoise environmentalism, nor does it need to totally ignore the fact that there are environmental issues.  What is needed, however, is to integrate the need for environmental soundness into a fully holistic worldview which is consistent with the a truly conservative worldview.

This means no less than a rejection of the right of the material world to pre-eminence in all things, a wholesale rejection of globalism, and a massive cultural reformation toward harmony with nature.  Such a cultural reformation would have to be based in Traditionalist ideas rather than modernist ones, because it would embrace socially conservative views along with traditional religious and ethnic-national cultures.  At the same time, we cannot be fooled into thinking that bureaucracy will create a green utopia, and we must be equally pessemistic about the way in which globalists have used catch-phrases to discourage independent nations from developing nature-harnessing projects.

Key principles of a “Green Traditionalist” perspective might include the following:

  • Agrarianism: While the most important aspect of Green Traditionalism, it is also one of the more difficult to define.  While most traditionalist conservatives are cosmopolitan and many live in urban centers, the countryside and the values of rural life are prized highly.  In a practical sense, this means reduction of the ecological niche occupied by people (achievable through a number of methods).  The principles of agrarianism (i.e., preserving the small family farm, open land, the conservation of natural resource, and stewardship of the land) are central to a traditionalist’s understanding of rural life.

It is possible to live alongside nature while minimizing our impact on it

  • Hierarchy and organic unity: A common theme in Evola’s works is the refutation of the liberal myth that everyone deserves the “right” to “human dignity”.  Likewise, the Traditional worldview was that society is innately hierarchical.  Traditionalists for the most part reject the Marxist concept of class warfare, believing that the organization of society does not pit classes against one another, but instead through class cooperation, allows for the preservation of the whole community simultaneously, instead of protecting one part at the expense of the others.  From a practical perspective, this means putting an end to social engineering projects, and allowing the best and brightest to rise to the top.
  • Rebuilding the foundations of culture: The perspective of Traditionalism towards so-called “popular culture,” is that it is a modernist corruption of true culture.  Traditionalists are classicists who revere high culture in all of its manifestations (e.g., literature, music, architecture, art, theater). Additionally, Traditionalists respect the right of respective peoples to define their own cultural values.  To quote from Guenon:
To be resolutely ‘anti-modern’ is not to be in any way ‘anti-Western’; on the contrary, it only means making an effort to save the West from its own confusion. In any case, no Easterner who is faithful to his own tradition would view matters differently, and it is certain that there are far fewer opponents of the west as such- an attitude that makes no sense- than of the West insofar as it has become identified with modern civilization.
  • Localism, and regionalism: For some of the above points to be accomplished, it would be necessary to look towards an increased role in local and regional governments.  In combination with the previous point, a practical application would be the reduction of immigration; as each nation, locale, and region has a right to preserve its identity, Traditionalists frown upon an influx of outsiders which change the character of the said locales and regions.

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