Scratch a radical environmentalist, find a radical, full stop. Case in point: Boston Globe columnist James Carroll. In his New thinking to save the earth [is that all?], Carroll calls for nothing less than the end of the United States as we know it, and a yours-is-mine socialism.
Carroll claims that "if the earth is to survive as a human habitat," the meaning of four subjects "must be transformed." Among the things Carroll wants to redefine are "nation" and "property." Ominous enough, but getting down into the details is even more chilling.
Nation: A 19th-century notion of national sovereignty allows sub groups to pursue agendas without regard for their effects on the whole. But this wrongly assumes that the health of the whole is a matter of indifference to the group. The United States has long refused to temper its claim to radical independence from all other nations, but that both defines the source of America's disproportionate ecological destructiveness and impedes every effort to mitigate it. There will be no stopping environmental degradation until nations stop thinking of independent sovereignty as an absolute. Climate change respects no borders.
Consider the condescension. Those benighted people who believe in the notion of the USA are hopelessly stuck in the 1800s, unlike the enlightened Carroll and his green fellow travelers. That "claim to radical independence"? Most of us would simply call it independence and sovereignty. Consider, too, the clear implication of his statement that climate change respects no borders: we shouldn't either.
Property: In America, where full citizenship was originally granted only to property owners, we are what we have. The pursuit of happiness equals the accumulation of possessions. This cult of "more" drives an economy that defines its health by growth, its market by the globe. In families, the success of a second generation is defined only by its surpassing in affluence the first. This merciless consumption divides people into "haves," "the have less," and "have nots," but it also eats the environment alive. Sufficiency, simplicity, and a sense that the treasures of the earth are the property of all people must become notes of the new America.
Carroll makes Americans out to be little more than cargo cultists. As for success being defined only in terms of affluence, says who? America is filled with people who in their professional and/or private lives devote themselves to helping others. And his line about "the treasures of the earth" being "the property of all people," is nothing less than unreconstructed Marxism.
Thanks go to Carroll for his candor. He confirms what so many have suspected: that radical environmentalism is little more than a cloak for socialism and not mere anti-Americanism but quite literally the abolition of the United States of America.
Finkelstein lives in Ithaca, NY, currently in the grip of a heavy snow storm. Contact him at email@example.com