The one thing that many environmentalists seem not to care about is the environment. By this I mean its visual appearance. They would happily empty any landscape or any city of beauty so that the planet might survive. Like the village in Vietnam, it has become necessary to destroy the world in order to save it. And, of course, destruction of beauty has the additional advantage of being socially just: for if everyone cannot live in beautiful surroundings, why should anyone do so? Since it is far easier to create ugliness than to create beauty, equality is to be reached by the former rather than by the latter.
Dalrymple’s latest contribution to New English Review subtly consolidates several existing memes into a rather coherent analysis of environmentalism. It begins:
Thus, in the opening paragraph we have environmentalists’ corruption of language, their greater concern for the non-human portion of nature than for the human portion, how environmental ideology is informed by pre-existing theories of social justice and radical equality, and an (at least partial) explanation of the ugliness of modern art and architecture.
He later writes, “What the saving of their souls was for the ancients, saving of electricity has become for the moderns” and “Oddly enough, no one has ever suggested building as Haussmann did, albeit with such energy-saving devices as ingenuity might supply. The past is the one thing we don’t want to learn from, especially if we are architects.”
Thus, environmentalism seems a logical extension of the left’s desire to enforce equality, opposition to traditional religious practice, preference for grand abstractions to concrete specifics, unwillingness to conserve the knowledge obtained from history, and willingness to alter language to their own ends.