Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Myth of the Anti-Environmentalist

I intend to write at length about E. O. Wilson’s novel Anthill, but I want to take a moment to throw the bullshit flag:

“Well, what about all the churches?  [Raphael asked.]  Don’t they care about the environment?”

Robbins shook his head again.  “Believe it or not, a lot of folks on the Christian hard right around here are dead set against nature reserves.  They think saving the wild environment is just an all-around bad idea.  Don’t get me wrong.  Most evangelicals I know are for conservation.  They believe God means for us to save the Creation and God’s good green earth in general.  But a few extremists are absolutely convinced God means us to do the opposite.  They’re saying, ‘Use it all up, the faster the better, because Jesus is coming.  The End of Days is almost here.  He’ll show up as soon as the planet’s messed up a little bit more.  The devil wants to keep us all here on earth, and Jesus wants to take us on up to heaven, at least He wants to take the true believers up.’  They say that’s all written in the Book of Revelation.”

Now, America is a large and religiously diverse country, and I will stipulate up front that everything has been said on every subject at least once by somebody.  But I’ve read several liberals who claim the existence of Christian fundamentalists who advocate environmental destruction as a means of hastening the second coming, and they all share the same disability:  an absence of citations.  And not just an absence of books or articles or even websites actually making this advocacy, but a lack of any kind of verifiable reference like the name of a preacher or church.

So I’m throwing out a challenge:  support this allegation.  Give me something – anything – that would let me find somebody who actually believes this.  Wilson appears to acknowledge that such people are marginal figures, but I’m beginning to suspect that Harvard types like Wilson are circulating the same urban legend.


dan said...
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dan said...
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Φ said...

Dan: again, please confine your comments to the post topic.

Hermes said...

In online debates, there is one--and only one--citation I have seen leftists give: James G. Watt, Secretary of the Interior under Ronald Reagan. If you read the section of his Wikipedia bio under "Secretary of Interior," you'll find reference to his having said "I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns, whatever it is we have to manage with a skill to leave the resources needed for future generations." Interestingly, the blog entry which wikipedia cites as a source for this, an entry devoted to debunking a different quotation which Watts never said, doesn't mention it, and I can't find a primary source for it. So who knows whether even this single solitary example is accurate.