Monday, January 18, 2010

Bringing the Green War Home

First it was an anecdote. Then it became a trend.

When Stephen Asma described his six year old son chastising him for using too much hot water it was charming. See my comments here.

But when the New York Times reports that marriages and families are being torn apart because one spouse is an environmental fanatic while the other is merely "sensitive," it is not longer charming. It is a cause for alarm. Link here.

If you read Leslie Kaufman's article you will see clearly why this is so. Fanaticism is the enemy of civility. Zealots believe that everyone must obey their rules because their cause trumps all others and because their goddess is the one true goddess.

Getting along with other people, whether by engaging in civil debate or by creating a harmonious home life, pales into insignificance when you believe that have been called upon to save the planet from imminent doom.

Since Kaufman and the therapists she interviewed believe that the most hard-core environmentalists are female, I think it fair to say that these people have turned themselves into action heroines... into Wonderwomen.

Sad to say, our culture has found yet another way for people to live their lives in mythic terms. And it has also taught people that falling in love with an idea-- regardless of whether it is true or false-- is more important than loving your husband or children.

Worse yet, once you begin worshiping the goddess you no longer feel the need to respect anyone's personal freedom. The man who is digging into that juicy sirloin is equivalent to Nazi war criminals. Thus, he has no right to his taste in food. And thus, the kind of everyday ritual that cements family bonds is sabotaged in the name of a higher truth.

I would call this sophistry, but it's more like brain fever.

Once they bring their green war into the home environmentalists become monumentally rude. They insist on imposing their own will on their husbands and children. Woe unto him who refuses their imperious demands.

As the Times points out, more than a few marriages are or are going to be endangered by this sloppy habit of thought.

As happens with many of the causes that masquerade as progressive, this movement is clearly reactionary. Giving up creature comforts, learning to live with less, adopting a more hardscrabble way of life... all of these are occurring at a time when the nation seems to be losing ground, especially in manufacturing and industry.

As manufacturing jobs continue their dread migration to the other side of the Pacific, some Americans are getting much too good at adapting. Under the banner of environmentalism they are insisting that it is good to have less.

If they had their way environmentalists would shut down much of the nation's energy grid... being as half of it is run by coal power... and teach people to walk more, to bicycle more, and to grow their own food.

These modern survivalists have never come to terms with the fact that the Industrial Revolution did not merely bring us the cotton gin and the steam engine. It brought us modern sanitation, vaccines and antibiotics, and a far longer lifespan than our hunter-gatherer ancestors. It also benefited women by making work more a matter of mind than of muscle.

While some Americans still believe that the nation ought to be competing against the emerging Asian economies for jobs and wealth, others would just as soon give up.

In this war their true cause is surrender. God help us if they prevail.

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