Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Environmentalism as Ideology

For Jenny

Of the five ideologies I’ve identified elsewhere, environmentalism is the softest.  It would be churlish to counter appeals for clean rivers or air, silly to argue against climate change when it’s self evident, and irresponsible to deny the effect of plastic on the world’s oceans.  But there’s an undercurrent of extreme conservatism about environmentalism which belies its progressive credentials.  To examine this further, the terms ‘environmentalism’ and ‘ideology’ need to be defined in a manner of mutual reinforcement.

Ideology tends to be used as a pejorative catch-all name for any system of thought used by a person who disagrees with it, otherwise it might be known as philosophy or belief or a set of principles.  Better, then, to narrow the definition to the Shorter Oxford’s, ‘a coherent framework and set of ideas; a system of ideas concerning phenomena, esp. those of social life; the manner of thinking characteristic of a class or an individual.”  Pseudonymous psychologist Theodore Dalrymple goes further.  “A coherent, single-minded philosophical outlook or system of abstractions intended as much as a lever to change society as a description to explain it.  Ideologists are people needy of purpose in life, not in a mundane sense (earning enough to eat or to pay the mortgage, for example) but in the sense of transcendence of the personal, of reassurance that there is something more to existence than existence itself.”[1]  I would add that ideology is a discourse which provides three facets - an explanatory narrative with the virtue of absolute truth, a goal which solves the problems the narrative reveals, and the processes which must be adhered to in order to achieve the goal.  Some ideologies have scriptures – Marxism, neo-liberalism, as well as most religions – others pick up on popular trends which offer a greater degree of flexibility. 

Environmentalism is an ideology of the latter type.  It took form in the late 1960s as a counter-culture effort by those who dropped out of the rat race in favour of self sufficiency.  It gained political representation with the Green party, and achieved prominence through singular events such as the Mururoa protest, the Rainbow Warrior bombing, the oil crises of the 1970s, the whaling moratorium of the 1980s, fears of peak oil, degradation of rivers through dairy farming, and climate change.  Despite its disparate subjects of interest, the counter-cultural themes appealed to the young as a rejection of conventional and conservative attitudes of the broader society, yet itself is conservative in that it resists change.  It has aspirations managed and influenced by politically-minded elders from the hippy generation.  Using the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci’s ‘long march through the institutions’ of education, governance and media, its doctrines have affected the outlook of a substantial proportion of young people.  And young people are key to any ideology, an issue that will be covered later.

Fundamentally, environmentalism is misanthropic, seeing civilisation as an illegitimate and destructive interloper in a Rousseauian state of benign primitivism, the mankind of small societies in pure harmony with nature.  This is the basis for a strong spiritual component running through environmentalism, which supersedes the more overt forms of Christianity, the basis for our civilisation.  Environmentalism holds the Christian and racially ‘white’ European West responsible for much of what it perceives as a dystopian future.  Included in this is capitalism, slavery, exploitation of resources, spoliation of land, the tragedy of the commons, and the dangers of scientific progress.  This in turn derives from Christianity’s apocalypticism and a sense of guilt brought about by the West’s incomparable success in raising the standard of living of its citizens.  These subjects will be discussed in turn later.

Defining environmentalism as an ideology by the definitions given above, we can make the following points: 

  • The set of ideas – that humans are degrading the planet and this must be halted and reversed.
  • A single-minded outlook intended as much as a lever to change society as a description to explain it – environmentalists create a moral hegemony that holds humanity responsible for both the perceived degradation and for its repair.
  • People needy of purpose in life – the catchment for environmental ideologists is predominantly the middle class with leisure time, little investment in home, family or career, and a conscience pricked by the guilt of undeserved comfort and security and blind to its foundations.
  • Explanatory narrative – this has been created by exaggerating the worse aspects of environmental spoliation and ignoring civilisation as a process of continuous refinement which, as history shows, will correct negative outcomes with no input from ideologues.  The removal of ‘acid rain’ and the ozone hole, and elimination of ‘peak oil’ fears are examples.
  • Absolute truth – this is a contrivance managed by denying opposition.  Global warming is the current trend, but its worst features are products not of an uncertain future, but of hysterical imagination.  The benefits of a warmer world, for example, are suppressed, as are the adaptation processes of nature.
  • The goal – pure Utopianism.  Ideologues will never give up, it’s not in their nature. As Douglas Murray has pointed out in respect of homosexual law reform ideologues, they move more loudly on to more fragmented issues.
  • The processes which must be adhered to – targeted protests, disruptive protests such as ‘extinction rebellion’, and environmental terrorism such as attacks on GM crops, chicken and pig farms, and forestry protests involving machinery destruction. 

Further commentary will cover the religious aspects of environmentalism, its links with cultural Marxism, its manipulation of youth, the role of primitivism, and its hubris.



Sunday, 16 February 2020

Moral Asymmetry – Islam Versus the Rest of the World

Islam’s exponential growth in the West in the last fifty years has brought with it an alien morality.  Coming to terms with this will force major changes in Western ethics in order to accommodate Islam’s rules which it considers to be Allah’s mandate.  It seems very few people understand Islam enough to recognise the threat it poses to Western systems of thought, behaviour, and above all, its freedoms.

Islam, as its history shows, is a religion of conquest, bringing the rule of Allah to lands formerly under the rule of man.  Islam is bound by the words of Allah as written in the Koran and the more reliable reports on the life and sayings of its prophet Mohammad.  The foundation of Islamic morality is thus that of the 7th century desert-dwelling tribes of Arabia. The rules set in place then apply today.  Since Allah is reported to have said, “This day I have perfected for you your religion…,” reform of the rules or their basis is not possible.

In contrast, the West has adopted continuous moral change at a legal level through the electoral process.  Subjecting parliamentary representatives to popular will brought about changes to slavery, suffrage, rights and freedoms that are now universally adopted, at least at state level.  However, the extreme religiosity, rule-adherence, and unwillingness of Muslims to compromise or adapt to Western standards has required major adaptations in social, civil, healthcare, educational and employment environments.  These changes will be permanent and represent a moral change for the West as it adapts to Islam’s hegemonic conquest.  The risk of revolt is being managed by a process of alienation, marginalisation and disparagement, but it’s clear that the extremes of conservatism are beginning to rebel.  The Christchurch mosque massacre was one of the first shots in a potential civil war.

Too big a subject of one essay, I will outline moral differences between the Islamic and the non-Islamic world focussing on the following topics:
  1. Islam’s foundational narrative and beliefs, theological determinism, essentialism, and its rules-based ethical system.
  2. Supersessionism and moral supremacism, and the divine mandate to bring the world to the path of Islam.
  3. Methods of conquest of the non-Islamic world –
    • Violence and retributive subsidiarity
    • Preaching, deception.
    • Migration and vicinal arrogation.
    • Co-optation of friendly forces.
    • Vilification of opposition.
  4. Monoculture, ummah, identity, religiosity, spirituality, eternal life, paradise and entry to it.
  5. Opposition to secularism and freedom.
  6. Public sphere attitudes, the Islamic imaginary.
  7. Moral differences - marital arrangements, slavery, ingroup/outgroup separation.

An essay on Islam’s incompatible morality without an ethicist’s input is fraught with risk.  A brief inquiry on Google Scholar shows no documentation of moral comparison between the Islamic and non-Islamic worlds, and my fairly compendious awareness of broadcast and written media provides only elliptical references.  This essay, then, depends on my own observations and the collection of commentaries, principally those of public intellectuals and academics, who also recognise the problem. I will not make a judgment on whether the Islam’s moral differences are good or bad, only on how they affect the moral practice of the West.  The term ‘West’ or ‘Western’ used in this essay can be described as the moral praxis that emanates from the Judeo-Christian Greco-Roman secular liberal democracies common in Europe, The United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries that share their common background.  Many other non-Islamic countries have moral systems which are compatible with those of the West.  The difference between right and wrong crosses those national boundaries with relative ease and without requiring change within the dominant culture.  In contrast, Islam demands change, compromise and concessions

A recent discussion with someone with a doctorate in international law made me realise just how out of touch with the reality of Islam’s hegemonic conquest people can be when they are immersed in a humanitarian cause.  It seems that when the focus is on helping others, the perception of threat is suppressed for the greater good.

I raised the subject of moral incompatibility between Islam and the West.  That there was an issue in those terms was met with incredulity.  Arguments against the idea tended towards denial, with evidence of moral foundations rebutted with simple disbelief and comparison with Christian morality, often in its breach.  This was of no surprise, since it was clear it had not occurred to my interlocutor that asymmetry was even a possibility.  I hope that I will hear a coherent argument supporting the denial, but it’s unlikely since hard evidence favours incompatibility.  However, the hypothesis ‘that Islamic morality is incompatible with the non-Islamic world’ is viable and falsifiable, and simply lacks evidence to the contrary.

Given that my interlocutor belongs to the clerisy – influential, educated, cosmopolitan, articulate – it is clear that Islam is unlikely to meet opposition to its Western growth in the foreseeable future.  I stand by my 2015 opinion that Islam’s hegemonic conquest of west Europe is a fait accompli. 

This issue, the failure to understand the foundational differences between Islamic and non-Islamic morality, is of such great importance that I will continue this and other essays with evidence and examples.

Moral Factors
Morality can be defined as the collection of principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong, or good and bad behaviour.  The collective voice given to those factors shape the acceptable mores of any given society.  The basis for morality is frequently understood to be the society’s dominant religion, especially by its believers.  As such, religion acts as an anchor, resisting changes brought about by the forces of popular influence, and acts as one of societies most conservative agencies.  Sometimes these forces are sufficient to shift religion’s position, as with the acceptance of homosexuality or the role of women in religious practice, and this leads to both moral progress and schisms formed as a reaction.  
To be continued...

Environmentalism as Ideology

For Jenny Of the five ideologies I’ve identified elsewhere, environmentalism is the softest.   It would be churlish to counter appeals ...