Greenism requires we panic for a trend. Conservation requires that we do one thing consistently.
Across the West, people are turning against politics as usual. Over time our politics went from being solution-oriented to being justification-oriented.
Justification politics work backward. Instead of working toward a goal, we set up symbols like freedom, equality and diversity. We then do whatever we want to, and claim that we’re working toward those abstract and emotional symbols. The result is corruption, because instead of intending to fix problems, we pick something that looks good and then charge it to the account of freedom, equality and diversity.
Underconfident or corrupt individuals use these symbols as much as government agencies do. If anyone proposes an inconvenient idea, they claim it violates one of those sacred goals. It’s like an insane cult religion or the kind of dogma we saw in the Soviet Union. We must uphold the dogma, but it doesn’t work, and the only solution we accept is to keep trying these failed solutions.
Unlike truly goal-oriented politics, symbolic goals are never reached. This makes us to deconstruct politics into issues, which we can fight over instead of fixing the problem of which the issue is the symptom. However, issues make work for politicians, bureaucrats, media workers and others who benefit from controversy — and like corrupt doctors, they get paid to operate, not to make people well.
“Green” politics are part of our justification frenzy. Our environmental ideals become justifications for the usual goals — freedom, equality and diversity. This means that green politics target the wealthier nations and individuals among us, blame them for our environmental problems, and as a solution suggest we take wealth from the rich and spread it around a bit.
Justification politics always end up at this point — the ideological wealth redistribution. That is because unlike goal-oriented politics, justification politics work backward. There is no goal. There are only these symbols that conveniently hide our real motivations. As a result, those motivations become selfish. Take from those that did succeed, and give it to the rest of us, so we can be equal.
The end result of green politics is fighting over carbon caps and energy use, which translates into a quest for wealthy nations to destroy their economies while non-industrialized nations will grow. This view of our environmental crisis assumes that the problem is issue-based, and not a consequence of having too many humans. Let’s look at the problems we have made for our environment:
Global warming may be a problem, but like issues politics in general, it’s a stand-in for the bigger problem. That problem doesn’t boil down to a convenient but corrupt symbol or dubious product you can buy. It’s not a trend. It’s a reality: we are in command of our environment now. And if we don’t limit our population, we will grow like a cancer. Even more, if we don’t limit the destructive ideas of individuals — putting a fast food franchise in a pristine forest for personal profit — we will consume everything in our path.
The only solution is to reject environmentalism and replace it with conservationism.
Conservation is solution-oriented, not justification-oriented. It is not an issue, but an attribute of everything we do. It’s like having roads and putting criminals in jail. It’s part of a healthy outlook on life. Unlike issues politics, which sends you running from one panic to the next, conservation is slow and steady. It’s always there. We should always do it. We can ramp it up or down, but it never changes.
From a conservative perspective, life is fundamentally good. For this reason, we don’t like revolutions and crusades. We like however to conserve — to save what nature has done that is great from human greed, stupidity, overgrowth and selfishness. Conservative environmentalism is called conservationism, and it is a belief in setting aside land for nature to do its thing.
Ideally, every society would set aside 2/3 of the natural land and not cut it up with fences or roads. Just leave it be. It’s like nature’s farm, and it produces oxygen, absorbs CO2, and gives plants and animals space not just to exist but to carry out the necessities of life. Among other things, it guarantees animal populations do not fall below safe breeding levels and become horribly inbred.
Environmentalism wants to treat the environment like a budget deficit or war. We get together, come up with some laws to manage it, and hope the problem magically goes away. But since we dominate nature, we need to always be stewards of our environment. This means that we need an unvarying and perpetual solution. Setting aside land for nature and not humans accomplishes this with little displacement of ourselves.
There are bonuses for humans as well. If we cannot recklessly expand, we have to finally fix the problems in our cities like crime and decay. Land gets more valuable so that so-so home you’re hanging on to might become your retirement fund. Businesses that cater to thoughtless people will become less valuable, and responsible businesses more valuable. And you’ll always have fresh air and water.
Like conservative politics itself, conservationism is just common sense, but cannot exist alone. It is not a revolutionary thought, but an evolutionary one: we constantly do better at what we do without having to micromanage it. If you like me are tired of the manic neurosis of the environmental movement, conservation is an idea you cannot afford to miss.