home > archive > 2001 > this article
Environmentalism three ways: Pragmatists, primitivists, and watermelons
By Thomas D. Cox
As an information technology worker by day (and a crime fighting super-hero by night, but that's another story), I find it convenient to organize some kinds of information into rows and columns, like a spreadsheet. It helps me get my mind around a complex topic. While examining one such topic, environmentalism, I discovered that environmentalists can be divided into three general categories (columns): Pragmatists, Primitivists, and Watermelons. The three types see two, exemplary environmental problems - global warming and ozone depletion (rows) -- and their solutions vary differently.
Pragmatists tend to follow the example of Teddy Roosevelt, an asthmatic city boy who developed a passion for understanding nature through science and personal experience. While developing enough respect for natural wonders to create the country's first national parks, he saw man as the dominant species, and nature as his domain, to be exploited responsibly, but not to be destroyed needlessly. Pragmatists seek to strike a balance between human needs and natural beauty, believing that, with recourse to accurate, scientific data, humanity can benefit from nature without destroying it, and vice-versa.
Pragmatists want to see objective evidence of global warming and ozone depletion, and to identify the most likely causes of these phenomena, before they entertain government policies meant to remedy them. Pragmatists become excited by the environment if they find themselves at the foot of an erupting volcano, or in the path of a tornado, but otherwise, they tend to be focused calmly on the long term.
Primitivists have no use for science. Their ideal world is one from which humans and their civilization have been erased, or, better yet one in which they never existed at all. If asked, they will admit to a desire to see about 99% of the world's human population disappear, except for themselves and a few close friends with a similar orientation. The most extreme primitivists believe that human life is no more valuable than the life of an insect or a plant, and that the idea of exploiting an animal or a plant to extend or improve the life of a human is immoral and selfish. In their more tempered state, primitivists envision a romantically idealized harmony in the relationship of man and nature. Their emblem of this ideal is the romanticized American Indian (whom they, of course, call a "Native American," as if that phrase did not literally mean, "one who was born in America"). This mythical character lives frugally and gently with the land, worshiping it as a god, seeing spirituality in every tree and rock. One assumes these characters would not build casinos and duty-free liquor stores in their pristine estates, or profit from the sale of mineral rights therefrom.
Primitivists accept global warming and ozone depletion without question, because these phenomena only serve to confirm their belief that man is a burden on nature, and that he will destroy it if allowed. Their remedy is simple and straightforward. Abort the unborn ones, and let the born ones freeze, bake and starve to death, and return their biodegradable packaging to the environment.
Watermelons are pragmatic, too, in their own way. Having been exposed as hypocrites or fools, these believers in a bankrupt, failed ideology that calls for government ownership of everything, had to find another rock under which to hide. Environmentalism is the perfect refuge for communists, because it allows those who are red on the inside to put a layer of green on the outside, and continue to spread their toxic theology. In the 21st Century, environmentalism is the last bastion of people who think private property is "The Man's" way of oppressing the downtrodden.
In the watermelon's view, people are not entirely evil. A certain number of them are required to drive the party elite in their limousines from the halls of power to their dachas in the woods, to cook their gourmet meals, and to fight and die in the interest of preserving and expanding their empires. However, the history of socialism in the 20th Century includes a laudable amount of population control in the form of purges. The big-name socialist utopias lightened Mother Earth's burden of humanity by a hundred million or so, in the interest of the state. While an unfortunate quantity of lead had to be introduced to the environment by firing squads, most of these deaths were accomplished with lower environmental impact -- mass starvation and death by slave labor predominating. In this century, Communist China has recently taken the lead in recycling. Environmentally responsible Chinese leaders now harvest the skin, corneas and internal organs of the political prisoners they execute, and sell them on the open market. While this practice carries the unsavory taint of capitalism, any country that not only allows abortion, but requires it, must have its heart in the right place.
Watermelons readily embrace global warming and ozone depletion as crises, because the "solutions" for them involve government regulation of private industry. While not entirely satisfactory, government regulation of industry is a step in the right direction -- toward government ownership of industry. Watermelons believe the best way to relieve human overcrowding (between purges) is to build large, ugly, concrete apartment blocks in major cities. Then, they force people selfish enough to live in their own homes to surrender these anachronisms to the state and move into the apartments. Problem solved. Appalling tales of the worst environmental disasters on earth - horrible nuclear accidents and wholesale contamination of large areas with industrial poisons - perpetrated by communist states, do nothing to curb the watermelons' appetite for government control. After all, environmentalism is just a convenient form of cover for a watermelon, not a real ideology. The real goal of the watermelon is, and always has been, government control of every aspect of life, from before birth, up to and including death. Individual humans are just too stupid to be trusted with running their own lives, and if they have to be sold on communism by bait-and-switch, well, so be it.
Thomas D. Cox resides in Muncie, Indiana. He can be reached at email@example.com.
© 1996-2013, Enter Stage Right and/or its creators. All rights reserved.