]]]]]]        WHEN CONSERVATION BECAME A RELIGION    [[[[[[[[[[[[ 
                     By Patrick J. Buchanan           (12/5/1988)
        From the New York Post, 3 December 1988, p. 15:1

            [Kindly uploaded by Freeman 10602PANC]

   ``Environmentalism  is now  well on  its  way to  becoming the
third great wave  of the redemptive  struggle in Western history,
the first being  Christianity, the second  modern Socialism.  The
dream of a perfect physical environment has all the revolutionary
potential  that  lay  both in  the  Christian  vision  of mankind
redeemed  by  Christ  and  in  the  socialist,  chiefly  Marxian,
prophecy of mankind free from social injustice.''
   If one were to seek evidence  for this insight of Prof. Robert
Nisbet (``Prejudices,'' 1982) -- that environmentalism has become
an ideological and religious movement -- look around.
   As Communist parties  have atrophied in  Europe, Green parties
have  sprouted.    In  Sweden,  animal   rights  legislation  now
guarantees that cattle  are given grazing  rights, that pigs have
separate feeders and bedding  (no more unseemly communal slopping
at the  trough), that  chickens are  let out  of their  cages and
given the run of the yard.
   In New  York, 2000  militants marched  on ``Fur  Free Friday''
last week to protest the raising  and killing of minks, foxes and
sables for women's  coats.  Hunters of duck  and deer are finding
themselves  accompanied into  the  fields by  animal  lovers with
bullhorns to frighten off the prey.
   When men cease believing in God, C.S. Lewis [1898-1963] wrote,
they do  not then believe  in nothing, they  believe in anything.
Just as the ideal of a  Marxist Utopia, where man would no longer
exploit man,  captured the hearts  and commanded  the devotion of
19th century men who  had ceased to believe  in Paradise, so, the
environmental movement  has, in the  late 20th  century, taken on
the trappings of a new religion.
   As today's environmental  movement is, in  part, the legacy of
progressive  Republicans  Theodore  Roosevelt  [1858-1919;  pres.
1901-9] and  Gifford Pinchot [1865-1946],  where did  we jump the
   Prof. Nisbet contends  that there was  always a divide between
the ``conservationists'' of TR's  time, dedicated capitalists who
wanted to conserve  the forest for man's  use, for recreation and
lumber, and the  ``preservationists,'' who wanted  to protect the
forest from man's spoilation.
   But modern preservationists have  gone beyond their forebears.
With  the  '60s  as  point  of  departure,  and  Rachel  Carson's
[1907-64]    ``Silent   Spring''    [1962]   as    sacred   text,
environmentalism  ``without  losing  its  eliteness  of temper,''
writes Nisbet, became ``a mass  socialist movement of, not fools,
but  sun  worshipers,  macrobiotics,  forest  druids,  and nature
freaks generally  committed by  course, if  not yet  fully shared
intent, to the destruction of capitalism.''
   Capitalism,  then,  is  the unacknowledged  enemy  of  the new
environmentalism.  Yet, because the ``destruction of capitalism''
is not  seen as  the militants'  goal, the  movement has enlisted
fellow travelers by the  millions, from Americans concerned about
nuclear  power  and  the  ozone,  to  Humane  Society  supporters
appalled  by TV  footage of  the  clubbing of  baby seals  on the
Canadian ice.
   Needed is a divorce, a parting of the ways between traditional
conservationists  -- i.e.,  those  who believe  that  animals, as
God's  creatures over  whom  He gave  man  dominion, ought  to be
treated  as  such,  that  historic  battlefields  like  Bull Run,
hallowed by the  blood of patriots,  ought not to  be turned into
shopping malls, that  people who put medical  waste in sewers and
pollute ocean  beaches ought  to be  horsewhipped --  and zealots
whose beliefs are  rooted not in  Judaeo-Christian concepts, but,
as  Nisbet   notes,  in   the  ``man-abasing,  nature-worshiping,
pantheistic monism of the East.''

      [The following is not part of the original article.]
Pinchot, Gifford (pin'sho), 1865-1946, U.S. conservationist; b.
  Simsbury,  Conn.   He   served  in  the   U.S.  Forest  Service
  (1898-1910) until dismissed by  President Taft and later joined
  (1912) Theodore Roosevelt in  forming the Progressive Party.  A
  founder of the Yale school  of forestry, he was professor there
  (1903-36).   He was  twice  governor of  Pennsylvania (1923-29,
  1931-35).  (Source: Concise  Columbia Encyclopedia (1983), s.v.
  Pinchot, Gifford)
More: Edith Efron, The Apocalyptics (NY: Simon and Schuster,
1984), Chapter 1: `The Apocalyptic Movement'; Steve Lohr,
``Swedish Farm Animals Get a Bill of Rights,'' NY Times,
25 Oct 1988, p. 1:2.

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