RAW re pop ecology

iceberg writes:

I haven’t seen Robert Anton Wilson’s position on environmentalism, but if he were to be a consistent discordian, he would insist that the environmental bugaboo is to be biased towards certain chemical compounds, as if the earth or “mother nature” cares for a particular composition or molecular arrangement (which it obviously doesn’t). It cares not if the entire surface is desert, water, ice, forested, denuded, or atomic wasteland. The homuncular inhabitants may have their neurological circuits prefer a specific scenario, but it wouldn’t exceed a normative whim in importance.

Here’s what RAW had to say about environmentalism:

Malthus, Machiavelli, and Pop-Ecology

[True] Ecological science, like all science, is relativistic, evolutionary, and progressive; that is, it regards all generalizations as hypothetical and is always ready to revise them. It seeks truth, but never claims to have obtained all truth.

Pop ecology, or ecological mysticism, is the reverse in all respects. It is absolutist, dogmatic, and fanatical. It does not usually refer its arguments back to ecological science (except vaguely and often inaccurately); it refers them to emotions, moral judgements, and the casual baggage of ill-assorted ideas that make up pop culture generally. Ecological mysticism, in short, is only rhetorically connected with the science of ecology, or any science; it is basically a crusade, a quasi-religion, an ideology

…..It is my suspicion that the usefulness of the ideology to the ruling elite is no accident….The tax-exempt foundations which largely finance Pop Ecology are funded by the so-called Yankee Establishment — the Eastern banking-industrial interests of whom the Rockefellers are the symbols. If this Yankee financing is not “coincidental” and “accidental” (based on purely disinterested charity) — if the ecological-mystical movement is serving Yankee Banker interests — a great deal of current debate is based on deliberately created mutual misunderstanding

… Consider the following widely-published and widely believed propositions: “There isn’t enough to go around.” “The Revolution of Rising Expectations, since the 18th Century, was based on fallacy.” “Reason and Science are to be distrusted; they are the great enemies.” “We are running out of energy.” “Science destroys all it touches.” “Man is vile and corrupts Nature.” “We must settle for Lowered Expectations.”

Whether mouthed by the Club of Rome or Friends of the Earth, this ideology has one major social effect: people who are living in misery and deprivation, who might otherwise organize to seek better lives, are persuaded to accept continued deprivation, for themselves and their children.

That such resignation to poverty, squalor, disease, misery, starvation, etc. is useful to ruling elites has frequently been noted by Marxists a propos pre-ecological mysticism; and, indeed, people can only repeat the current neo-puritan line by assuming that the benefit to the Yankee oligarchy is totally accidental and not the chief purpose of the promulgation of this ideology.

“I don’t think humanity deserves to survive,” stated one letter to Co-Evolution Quarterly. ….The only rationale for continuing the neo-puritan Lowered Expectations, in the light of these data, would be (a) to prove that Fuller, Gabel and their associates have been fudging or corrupting their figures — a demonstration none of the eco-puritans have attempted; or (b) a blunt assertion that most of humanity deserves to live in misery.

… For perspective,it should be remembered that the ideology of Lowered Expectations arrived on the historical scene immediately after the upsurge of Rising Expectations. That is, after the Utopian hopes of the American Declaration of Independence and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man, almost as if in reaction, an employee of the British East India Company, Thomas Malthus, created the first “scientific” argument that the ideals of those documents could never be achieved. Malthus had discovered that at his time world population was growing faster than known resources, and he assumed that this would always be true, and that misery would always be the fate of the majority of humanity.

The first thing wrong with Malthus’s science is that “known resources” are not given by nature; they depend on the analytical capacities of the human mind. We can never know how many resources can be obtained from a cubic foot of the universe: all we know is how much we have found thus far, at a given date. You can starve in the middle of a field of wheat if your mind hasn’t identified wheat as edible. Real Wealth results from Real Knowledge, which is increasinng faster all the time.

Thus the second thing wrong with Malthus’s scenario is that it is no longer true. Concretely, more energy has been found in every cubic foot of the universe than Malthus ever imagined; and, as technology has spread, each nation has spontaneously experienced a lowered birth rate after industrializing.

Unfortunately, between the 18th century inventory of Malthus and the 20th century inventory of Fuller et al., the Malthusian philosophy had become the pragmatic working principle of the British ruling class, and a bulwark against French and American radicalism. Malthusianism-plus-Machiavellianism was then quickly learned by all ruling classes elsewhere which wished to compete with the British for world domination. This was frankly acknowledged by the “classical” political economists of that period, following Ricardo, which led to economics being dubbed “the dismal science” Benjamin Jowett, an old-fashioned humanist, voiced a normal man’s reaction to this dismal science: “I have always felt a certain horror of political economists since I heard one of them say that he feared the famine of 1848 [in Ireland] would not kill more than a million people, and that would scarcely be enough to do much good.” In fact, the English rulers allowed the famine to continue until it killed more than two million.

In the 1920’s, Karl Haushofer studied Malthusian-Machiavellian political economy in England with Prof. H.J. Mackinder — whose coldblooded global thinking coincidentally inspired Bucky fuller to begin thinking globally but more humanistically. Haushofer took the most amoral aspects of Makinder’s geopolitics, mingled them with Vrill Society occultism, and forged the philosophy of Realpolitik, which Hitler adopted as part of the official Nazi ideology. the horror of the Nazi regime was so extreme that few ruling classes dare express the Malthusian-Machiavellian philosophy openly anymore, although if is almost certainly the system within which they do their thinking.

As expressed openly by British political economists in the 19th century, and maniacally by the Nazis, Realpolitik says roughly,”Since there isn’t enough to go around, most people must starve. In this desperate situation, who deserves to survive and live in affluence? Only the genetically superior. We will now demonstrate that we are the genetically superior, because we are smart enough and bold enough to grab what we want at once.

Since the fall of Hitler, this combination of Malthus and Machiavelli is no longer acceptable to most people. A more plausible, less overtly vicious Malthusianism is needed to justify a system in which a few live in splendor and the majority are condemned to squalor. THIS IS WHERE POP ECOLOGY COMES IN.

The pop ecologists now state the Malthusian scenario for the the ruling elite, since it sounds self-serving when stated by the elite. There is an endless chorus of “There isn’t enoug
h to go around … Our hopes and ideals were all naive and impossible … Science has failed … We must all make sacrifices,” etc., until Lowered Expectations are drummed into everybody’s head.

Of course, when it comes time to implement this philosophy through action, it always turns out that the poor [those making $200,000 or less] are the ones who have to make the sacrifices, not the elite. But this is more or less hidden, unless you are watching the hands that moves the pea from cup to cup, and if you do notice it, you are encouraged to blame “those damned environmentalists.” Thus, the elite gets what it wants, and anybody who doesn’t like it is maneuvered by the media into attributing this to the science of ecology, the cause of environmentalism, or Ralph Nader.” “The Ultimate implications of eco-mysticism are explicitly stated in theodore Roszak’s “Where the Wasteland Ends”. Roszak argues that science is phychologically harmful to anybody who pursues it and culturally destructive to any nation which allows it. In short, he would take us back, not just to a medieval living standard, but to a medieval religious tyranny where those possessing what he calls gnosis — the Illuminati — would be entirely free of nagging criticism based on logic or experiment.

The Inquisition would not try Galileo in Roszak’s ideal eco- society; a man like Galileo simply would not be allowed o exist. the similarity to the notions of Haushofer and the Vril society is unnerving.” “(On the Vril Society, see L. Pauwels and J. Bergier, “Morning of the Magicians”. On the parallels between the Vril society and Roszakian pop ecology, see the excellent novel, “The Speed of Light”, by Gwyneth Cravens.)

Or consider this quotation from Pop Ecologist Gary Snyder, ‘But what I’m talking about is not what critics immediately call ‘the Stone Age.’ As Dave Brower, the founder of Friends of the Earth, is fond of saying, ‘Heck, no, I’d just like to go back to the 20’s.’ Which isn’t an evasion because there was almost half the existing population then, and we still had a functioning system of public transportation.” (“City Miner”, spring 1979)

In short, Snyder wants to “get rid of” two billion people. Those who believe that none of the Pop Ecologists realize that their proposals involve massive starvation for the majority should consider this question profoundly. Benjamin Jowett, who experienced horror at the deliberate starvation of one million Irishmen, would have no words to convey his revulsion of this proposed genocide of millions.

In this context, note that the only ideology opposing eco- puritanism usually well-represented by the mass media is that of the Cowboys-new Western wealth, which is still naive and barbaric in comparison to the Yankee establishment. the cowboy response to Pop Ecology, as to any idea they don’t like, is simply to bark and growl at it; their candidate, now in the White House, is famous for allowing vast destruction of California’s magnificent redwoods on the grounds that “if you’ve seen one redwood, you’ve seen them all.” Other and more intelligent criticisms of Pop Ecology, such as have come form some Marxists and some right-wing libertarians, are simply ignored by the media, with the consequence that ecological debate — as far as the general public knows it — is, de facto, debate btween the Yankees and the Cowboys. Once again, it may be “happy coincidence” that keeps the debate on that level is just what the elite wants, or it may be more than a “happy coincidence.” “George Bernard Shaw once noted that an Englishman never believes anybody is moral unless they are uncomfortable. To the extent that Pop Ecology shares this attitude and wishes to save our souls by making us suffer, it is just another of the many forms of puritanism. To the extent, however, that it insists that abundance for all is impossible (in an age when, for the first time in history, such abundance is finally possible) it merely mirrors ruling class anxieties. “The ruling class elite shares the “robin Hood” myth with most socialists; they do not think it is possible to feed the starving without first robbing the rich.

Perhaps these ruling class terrors and the supporting cult of Pop Ecology will wither away when it becomes generally understood that abundance for all literally means abundance for all ; that, in fuller’s words, modern technology makes it possible to advantage everybody without disadvantaging anybody.

In this context, look for a minute at some very interesting words from Glenn T. Seaborg, representative Yankee bureaucrat, former chairman of the Atomec Energy Commission. “American society will successfully weather its crises and emerge in the 1990’s as a straight and highly disciplined, but happier society. Today’s violence, permissiveness and self-indulgence will disappear as a result of a series of painful shocks, the first of which is the current energy crises … Americans will adjust to these shortages with a quiet pride and a spartan-like spirit

Is it necessary to remark that phrases like “highly disciplined” and “spartan-like” have a rather sinister ring when coming from ruling class circles? Does anybody think it is the elite who will be called upon to make “spartan” sacrifices? Is it not possible that the eco-mysticism within this call for neofascism is a handy rationalization for the kind of authoritarianism that all elites everywhere always try to impose? And is there any real world justification for such medievalism on a planet where, as Fuller has demonstrated, 99.99999975 percent of the energy is not yet being used?

We live in an age of artificial scarcity, maintained by ignorance and fear. the government has been paying farmers not to grow food for fifty years — while millions starve. Labor unions, business and government conspire to hold back the microprocessor revolution — because none of them know how to deal with the massive unemployment it will cause. (Fuller’s books could tell them.) The utilities advertise continually that “solar power is at least forty years in the future” when my friend Karl Hess, and hundreds of others already live in largely solar powered houses. These propaganda advertisements are just a delaying action because the utilities still haven’t figured out how to put a meter between us and the sun.

And Pop Ecology, perhaps only by coincidence, keeps this madness going by insisting that scarcity is real, and nobody wonders why the Establishment pays the bill for making superstars of these merchants of gloom.

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2 Responses to RAW re pop ecology

  1. Pingback: BradSpangler.com » Blog Archive » Robert Anton Wilson on Pop Ecology

  2. Earl M. says:

    Your’e probably right, but WHY?

    If we live long enough, We won’t see that the only manufacturing done in america, will be done deep underground by the military industrial complex slaves and automations. We probably won’t see the mining either, because it too will be done underground, and the ruling elites won’t give a damn when an “obsolete city, with its obsolete people”, get swallowed up in one of their sinkholes.Hey, you say; Thats nothin new!( I knew that)

    So why? It’s because our resources (Their resources) are all being redeployed so the ruling elites can move to mars, because they can’t stand having to battle it out with all of us for who gets what. They want to create the ideal society that knows no opposition. They want us to know that there will be no more Boston Tea Parties, ever again!
    ………………………E.

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