Is there a link between modern environmentalism and Transnationalism? Deep Black has a post asking whether one can have “conservative environmentalism”. I can see his point that these are fundamentally incompatible values today, but I think that’s more of a hijacking of the meaning of “environmentalism” than an inherent conflict (just as “liberal” has been changed to be non-conservative and we have to say “classical liberalism”).
What struck me, though, was the parallel to my views on American foreign policy. In broad strokes, both views start with the view that our society is the thing of highest importance. We then attempt to arrange that which is outside to suit our society. In both cases, the long term view is like pays back like. In terms of environmentalism, one should be careful and conservative (in both senses of the word) because it is eventually damaging to our society to do otherwise. Similarily, our interests are not served by abusing and exploiting other nations, but by attempting to elevate them to our own level of liberty and prosperity (see here). The ends do not justify the means because the ends are inextricably affected by the means.
In contrast, for both modern environmentalism and transnationalism, the common countervailing ideology puts a higher value on something outside of our society, either “the environment” or “international law”, both of which are basically mystically received value sets that operate with little regard (if not outright disdain) for humans. I have a theory on why that is, but it will have to wait for the next post.
As a final note, isn’t it odd that an ideology (modern environmentalism) that so disdains humanity makes human judgement of what’s meaningful paramount? What makes a terrestial style ecosystem more meaningful than, say, the environment on Mars? This is also a root cause of one of the key flaws of modern environmentalism, that it worships stasis in a dynamic universe, by elevating what humans have seen and like to a universal preference. Gaia or Mars, the universe doesn’t care — only humans.