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Environmentalism Is Increasingly Anti-Human, Pro-Authoritarian

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The New York Times rarely publishes a guest op-ed piece with which its hard left-wing editors have a significant disagreement.

That’s what makes it a notable development to find, in that forum, a frontal attack on capitalism as the primary cause of environmental degradation and global warming. From “The Climate Crisis? It’s Capitalism, Stupid,” by Arizona State University’s Benjamin Y. Fong:

The real culprit of the climate crisis is not any particular form of consumption, production or regulation but rather the very way in which we globally produce, which is for profit rather than for sustainability. So long as this order is in place, the crisis will continue and, given its progressive nature, worsen.

This is a hard fact to confront. But averting our eyes from a seemingly intractable problem does not make it any less a problem. It should be stated plainly: It’s capitalism that is at fault.

As an increasing number of environmental groups are emphasizing, it’s systemic change or bust. From a political standpoint, something interesting has occurred here: Climate change has made anticapitalist struggle, for the first time in history, a non-class-based issue.

So, those who have charged that “green is the new red” have it right.

Which is odd, because the dirtiest economies have tended to be Communist ones, such as the old Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. When there is no democratic accountability or rule of law, the government can do what it wants.

Those facts notwithstanding, Fong is explicitly pro-Communist:

On the defensive for centuries, socialists have become quite adept at responding to objections from people for whom the basic functions of life seem difficult to reproduce without the motive power of capital. There are real issues here, issues that point to the opacity of sociability, as Bini Adamczak’s recent book, “Communism for Kids,” playfully explores.

But the burden of justification should not fall on the shoulders of those putting forward an alternative. For anyone who has really thought about the climate crisis, it is capitalism, and not its transcendence, that is in need of justification.

Socialism as an ideology is only about two hundred years old, but never mind.

Environmentalism is becoming both anti-human — as I have written elsewhere — and pro-authoritarian economic control. Reader take warning.

Photo: Don’t breathe! It’s a smoggy day in Beijing, People’s Republic of China, by 螺钉 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.