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Why is O'ism against environmentalism?

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It's a frustrating problem: convincing people that the environmental movement as a whole is anti-man.

It's as if there was one large "child appreciation" organization that included both teachers and pedophiles... which was controlled by the pedophiles but largely popularly known for the teachers.

That's a good - albeit scary - analogy.

Another one I was thinking of came up recently on another site - that weight-lifter's forum (which I think you posted to) - and was the idea that Ayn Rand co-opted/warped the definition of "selfishness" into "rational self-interest" in order to sell more books.

While I think that idea is vicious garbage, it did raise this same philosophical issue for me, namely, if selfishness is changed to mean "rational self-interest", what happens to all the truly bad people that were once referred to by this term - what do we call them? An example would be a husband who panics and abandons his wife and child on a sinking ship to take the last life boat, or (more mundane examples:) someone who cuts in the front of a line, or never pays for dinner even though others do, even though they are equally capable of doing so. These people used to be lumped together with, say, someone of integrity who stands up for their (rational) idea in the face of (irrational) criticism, and won't change their mind. Perhaps these are simply hedonists.

Speaking of co-opt, I don't want to co-opt this thread, I just wanted to mention the similarity I saw. I need to think about it some more anyway.

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While I think that idea is vicious garbage, it did raise this same philosophical issue for me, namely, if selfishness is changed to mean "rational self-interest", what happens to all the truly bad people that were once referred to by this term - what do we call them?

I call them "inconsiderate" or "thoughtless."

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I read earlier in this thread that someone said babies do not have rights. If that is the case, do newborn infants not have rights?

An infant possesses rights by virtue of being human. The essential difference between children and adults in this respect is that children require a guardian for those rights -- someone with the knowledge and skill to exercise the child's rights -- because the child is not physically and mentally equipped to exercise all of them on his own.

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Since this thread was originally geared toward Environmentalism I have decided to post this link. It is an article titled The Toxicity of Environmentalism by George Reisman, an Objectivist Economist (and a personal hero of mine). The article is an excerpt from his incredible book Capitalism: A Treatise On Economics.

If I have understood Dr. Reisman correctly, I think he believes that the fundamental philosophical flaw that the Environmentalists make is that they believe in intrinsic value. The Environmentalists claim that nature has an intrinsic value in and of itself and independent of any judge of value. Man must, by his nature, change his surroundings so that they are in a better relationship with him. If one holds that nature has an intrinsic value then any changes that man makes to his surroundings destroy nature. Furthermore, since man must make such changes in order to survive then he is inherently evil. Therefore, the logical end of Environmentalism is a burning hatred of man because of his inherent evilness.

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I am always a little amazed when people attempt to call what animals do "volition" or "reason" because they manifest some activity that may closely mimic what humans do.

Animals and humans share certain characteristics because human beings belong to the animal world. All animals act according to their nature in order to survive. Animals do so by the use of their perceptual consciousnesses. Some of them manage some truly astounding feats, which tells me that a perceptual consciousness is capable of some pretty high level processes. Crows are a good example of this; they are amazingly animals, capable of changing their behavior to suit a situation, of acting in concert or singly, etc. Chimps have learned to use crude "tools" to attain food (eg. sticks to get termites, rocks to crack nuts). All this says, however, is that a perceptual consciousness is capable of doing these things, i.e., that it doesn't take a rational, conceptional consciousness to accomplish certain tasks. One can see this in children who have not yet reached the age of reason. Language, as used by animals is very specific to the communication. For example, birds use language to stake out and maintain territory, etc. An animal may choose one option open to them over another, such as Kibble over Alpo. And, an animal might pine over the loss of a companion or behave neurotically.

These are all aspects of animal nature, to whatever degree an animal is capable of them. Human beings are animals, and as such, display all of these behaviors along with other animals.

But the human animal possesses something that other animals do not -- at least we don't know of any other animal which does. Humans possess a conceptual consciousness, which operates via reason and demands a conscious choice for its use. These are the things the questioner needs to understand before s/he tries to determine if animals have rights.

When I read a treatise on Einstein's Theory of Relativity written by a chimp, when I see a fifty-story skyscraper made of steel and reinforced concrete built by a dolphin, when I see pictures taken of Titan's moon produced by the collective effort of a group of ants, then I'll talk about animals with a conceptual consciousness. Until then, please don't ask me to consider a chimp with a 150 words vocabulary in sign language -- taught over long years by a human -- on the same level with a human being.

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When I read a treatise on Einstein's Theory of Relativity written by a chimp, when I see a fifty-story skyscraper made of steel and reinforced concrete built by a dolphin, when I see pictures taken of Titan's moon produced by the collective effort of a group of ants, then I'll talk about animals with a conceptual consciousness.  Until then, please don't ask me to consider a chimp with a 150 words vocabulary in sign language -- taught over long years by a human -- on the same level with a human being.

In addition to these excellent points, I would say that when you show me an animal that is willing and able to respect my rights, I will then take up the issue of whether or not it has rights.

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I recall that Dr. Gary Hull's lectures on the ARI site seemed to be quite against environmentalism. I am wondering why this is?

To return to this original basic question, it is important to realize that environmentalism is both an ideology and a very powerful political movement. Polls show that something like 90% of the population consider themselves to be "environmentalists", but they mean it in a vague, watered down version, unaware of its ideological roots and meaning. They generally have in mind an ambiguous combination of opposition to harmful "pollution" and a utopian image of undeveloped nature as a kind of Garden of Eden, which is anything but analyzed or well-defined in their minds.

Most of the leaders of the viro movement carefully cultivate the ambiguity, knowing that people aren't ready for their radical philosophy if made too explicit. Environmentalism worships nature as an "intrinsic value" superseding human rights and civilization, and seeks rule by an ecological bureaucracy of "scientists" to enforce it. They already have such power in some important areas (but it is still only the beginning of what they want,in both scope and intensity), including control over the energy production and chemical industries, "wetlands" laws controlling (dry) land, the Endangered Species Act, and outright comprehensive dictatorial control by the National Park Service -- even over private property -- in regions it controls. Much of this directly impacts a minority, often in rural areas, so is not well known to the general public.

Environmentalists continue to conduct fund raising with appeals against "pollution" and using semi-poetic rhapsodies and imagery appealing to scenery, but their lobbying and power in government is overwhelmingly destructive. It is crucial that we understand what they are doing and why, and fight them both philosophically and politically.

A national expert (not Objectivist) on the politics of the viro movement is Ron Arnold, who has written several books that should be read and which are valuable references. Some of them are:

Trashing the Economy -- analyzes the major segments of the viro movement and summarizes the activities and funding of the national organizations: the National Audubon Society, Sierra Club, National Parks and Conservation Association, Wilderness Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, etc. etc. (I provided a lot of research used in a couple of the chapters of this book.)

Undue Influence -- describes how tax exempt foundations, activists and government agencies collaborate. Some of the revelations of how this worked and what they got away with in the Clinton-Gore administration (and would have much more under Gore or Kerry) are absolutely horrifying.

Eco-Terror -- provides a comprehensive history and analysis of ecoterrorism and its relation to the viro organizations and movement over the last several decades. Second Renaissance used to sell this book.

Another important author and (past) syndicated columnist, who I worked with in exposing major National Park Service scandals in the late 80's and early 90's, is Alston Chase. His In a Dark Wood - The Fight over Forests and the Rising Tyranny of Ecology describes the intellectual history and roots of environmentalism in 19th century Germany ecologism and how it motivates and drives the contemporary viro movement. (Unsurprisingly, it goes back to Hegel.) My review of this book (and a link to it) is here

A link to articles on "animal rights" at the ARI website was already provided earlier in this thread.

A broader search reveals a large number of ARI links on environmentalism.

Ayn Rand's classic essay "The Anti-Industrial Revolution" is reprinted in The Return of the Primitive, edited by Peter Schwartz, which also includes his excellent more recent essay "The Philosophy of Privation". These are essential to understanding the Objectivist position on environmentalism.

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Hey there folks. I was hoping some of you could clear up a bit of a mystery for me. See, I'm a big fan of Ayn Rand, and I think it's fair to say I've been deeply influenced by her ideas. The only reason I don't call myself an Objectivist is because I don't think my personal philosophy can ever be summed up by something ending in "ist" (I hope some of you understand what I mean by this). On the other hand, I also consider myself an environmentalist. Other than the fact that I know Ms. Rand would call me an anti-life evader for this standpoint, I have never particularly felt a disconnect between being an environmentalist and adhering to an individualist, freedom-oriented philosophy. In fact, to my way of thinking, one reinforces the other. Now, I know why Ms. Rand, personally, objected to environmentalism. She didn't have a good understanding of science and didn't care to, as she didn't have a good understanding of the facts behind many of the things she commented on. This is by her own admission (she told Nathaniel Branden that she didn't really have much understanding of psychology, for instance). This is not a slam on Ms. Rand by any stretch of the imagination. I greatly admire her, and let's face it, no one has time to be a scholar on every subject. I certainly don't!

So my question is, why do Objectivists today continue to disparage environmentalism? Is it because of agreement with her personal opinions? Or is it because they genuinely feel it has a deep conflict with the philosophy? If the latter, I am interested in talking it out. I really don't see it, myself. I mean, I'm definitely speaking as a science-oriented person who is proceeding from a certain understanding about the way our physical world works. I don't at all care for the sentimentalist environmental movement and find it counterproductive, even destructive. But in light of certain empirical facts, if facts seem to conflict with ideas, isn't it the ideas that must be revised, not the facts? I thought one of the biggest tenets of Objectivism is that Reality is the final arbiter of all philosophical disputes, as reality is non-negotiable.

Thanks!

Kat

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Other than being rude, your comments about science really miss the point.

"Environmentalism" is not a science. To the extent that it is a science -- i.e. people going about figuring how things work -- Objectivism has no problem with it. Objectivism has no problem with Biology, Physics, Geology, Meteorology, Statistics, etc. In summa,ry, if someone is doing research and finding out information about the world, and wants to call it "environmentalism", one might tell him to use better terminology, but the rest of it is just fine.

Properly understood, environmentalism is an ideology. Think of it as a bunch of "shoulds".

If we have a bunch of "shoulds", we should ask why we should, shouldn't we? And, what answer does environmentalism give? Essentially, all the common answers come down to asking man to sacrifice himself rather than telling him to exploit the environment for his benefit. That's an assertion on my part, but if you search for "environmentalism" on the forum, you will find threads that go into details.

The typical counter-response is that environmentalists just want to follow ways to better exploit the earth for man's benefit. If this were true, it would be a good starting point, but it is not true. It is only their way of getting reasonable people to join their cause. There are a whole lot of threads that go into this. So, use the search function and you will find the details.

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Thanks!

Kat

If you haven't already, give a read to the essays in the post above yours. Especially The Return of the Primitive.

As to the question of science, the environmentalists are lying about that. Ayn Rand called it 30+ years ago and it remains true today because they are doing it for philosophical reasons (which she also called).

And no I don't know what you mean by the "ism" thing. Too used to seeing BS out there that you won't accept truth when you see it? Or so befuddled by BS that you don't believe something can be true? Whatever your reasons, you had better take it to the debate forum if you wish to discuss it, because it's against the rules here. (I mean that; my questions in this paragraph are rhetorical) It's enough to make the statement, which is appreciated for clarity.

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On the other hand, I also consider myself an environmentalist.

So despite your disclaimer about "ists", you are an "ist".

Aside from sNerd's response, the issue of whether you choose to value the environment (as well as how you personally choose to do it) is one matter. If you choose to do so privately, in your own way and letting it guide your own actions, then I don't think most Objectivists would have any significant problems with you, though they may not invite you to dinner. However, if you lobby to use the force of government to enact laws that help enforce your value of the environment on other people, I think you would find Objectivists lining up to oppose you.

With regards to Inspector's debate comment, if you came here simply to inquire about the Objectivist's objections to environmentalism, that's fine. There's plenty of material on this site for you to explore that inquiry by using the search function. If however you are here to argue for or support environmentalism, he is correct that you should take that to the Debate forums. If you do not, you risk having posts deleted and other potential moderator action.

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From a philosophical perspective (that is through observation and reasoning rather than experimentation), animals do not have volition or reasoning. I have yet to find a philosophical counter-argument to this except for giving it the benifit of the doubt.

If a scientific case has to be made, it should be made for a particular species. A case for chimpanzees, for example, would be more reasonable than for chickens. Some primates can distinguish themselves from others and their environment, recognize themselves in a mirror, choose from objects in a room to get to a bunch of bananas and some have been known to use tools made from sticks and stones. There was a point in evolution when volition was developed and some primates today could have it.

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If you haven't already, give a read to the essays in the post above yours. Especially The Return of the Primitive.

As to the question of science, the environmentalists are lying about that. Ayn Rand called it 30+ years ago and it remains true today because they are doing it for philosophical reasons (which she also called).

And no I don't know what you mean by the "ism" thing. Too used to seeing BS out there that you won't accept truth when you see it? Or so befuddled by BS that you don't believe something can be true? Whatever your reasons, you had better take it to the debate forum if you wish to discuss it, because it's against the rules here. (I mean that; my questions in this paragraph are rhetorical) It's enough to make the statement, which is appreciated for clarity.

I actually did take a look at Return of the Primitive, enough at least to know that that's the work in which she makes her main arguments against environmentalism. But I feel like she misunderstands some environmentalist positions and incorrectly posits a dichotomy of "technological society exactly as it is now with all the inherent environmental problems it causes" and "everyone living in a stinking hovel with no modern conveniences". I don't think that questioning the cost-benefit analysis of some of our modern systems is the same as wishing we were forest-dwelling hunter-gatherers. I mean, hey, industrial society is great. I love my internet, my computer, the fact that I don't have to die of a simple infection, the fact that I can talk to people all over the world, the fact that I can travel all over the world without serious bodily peril (most of the time), the fact that generally food is available and cheap, all those things. Best of all I love the feedback loop between advances in science and advances in technology, with one reinforcing and making possible the other (personal note: I am a scientist by trade, or at least I will be).

And I'll agree Rand made some great points. A lot of irrationality needs to be discarded. I found the argument against the worship of Nature as an intrinsic value particularly strong. I'm not exactly sure how you can even classify Nature as a giant monolith like that, to be worshipped or not. The truth is that even when you are "despoiling Nature" in the worst possible ways, you're actually helping some organism or other, and those are "nature" too. So the whole unassailable Nature-value has absolutely got to go, since not only is it wrongheaded it really doesn't even make sense. And when people are extremely irrational you tend to get things like PETA killing animals...in the name of saving animals. For anyone who doesn't already know, PETA actually kills far more animals than it saves (I think this is widely known by now, though).

Kat

Oh, also: editing post to add that I know truth is real, and that the truth is something I deeply love. One could possibly say that the truth is the only thing I really find sacred. One thing I wholeheartedly agree with Objectivists on is that the truth must never be compromised, no matter what the consequences.

Edited by themadkat

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So despite your disclaimer about "ists", you are an "ist".

Aside from sNerd's response, the issue of whether you choose to value the environment (as well as how you personally choose to do it) is one matter. If you choose to do so privately, in your own way and letting it guide your own actions, then I don't think most Objectivists would have any significant problems with you, though they may not invite you to dinner. However, if you lobby to use the force of government to enact laws that help enforce your value of the environment on other people, I think you would find Objectivists lining up to oppose you.

With regards to Inspector's debate comment, if you came here simply to inquire about the Objectivist's objections to environmentalism, that's fine. There's plenty of material on this site for you to explore that inquiry by using the search function. If however you are here to argue for or support environmentalism, he is correct that you should take that to the Debate forums. If you do not, you risk having posts deleted and other potential moderator action.

I don't consider environmentalism to be a philosophy, certainly not the way Objectivism is a philosophy. Environmentalism is more like something I do. I do confess to being one kind of "ist" in a more fundamental sense, though, as I just realized. I'm a scientIST. So, you've got me on a technicality. Point being, my primary identity is not environmentalist, or Objectivist. My primary identity is me. My impression is that a lot of people say "I'm an Objectivist" as something which primarily defines their identity. Certainly not everyone. But nonetheless, as important as philosophy is to me, it cannot fully represent who I am.

But that's somewhat straying from the topic, so I'll stop talking about that. Yes, I see that the rules here are actually pretty strict about what to post and where. This topic has already been moved once. At this point I still feel like I'm genuinely trying to clarify, not debate, so I think I'm still OK here. But taking a second look at the forum policies it does look like I need to have some care. I also noticed this is specifically an ARI forum, which I hadn't known at first. Does this mean David Kelley and Nathaniel Branden's POV's are verboten? Not trying to be flippant. Really want to know.

Last question for this post, to come back to the subject of government. How clearly do you have to show that people are being harmed before it crosses the line from defending individuals into "environmentalism" (the way Rand means it)? What's the burden of proof? What types of harms (physical harms, spiritual harms, etc) are going to count in the analysis?

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Which single thing do you hold as your ultimate, highest standard of value - the standard which all other values either measure up to, or fall by the wayside of - yourself, active, comfortable, and flourishing over your entire lifespan? or the disease-ridden, mosquito-ridden, predator-ridden, chilly-dampness-ridden, misery-ridden, 20-year life-expectancy-ridden swamp?

You cannot have both, because the two are in stark contradiction. You must choose. Which is it?

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Last question for this post, to come back to the subject of government. How clearly do you have to show that people are being harmed before it crosses the line from defending individuals into "environmentalism" (the way Rand means it)? What's the burden of proof? What types of harms (physical harms, spiritual harms, etc) are going to count in the analysis?

That's actually several questions. :)

One I term need clarified is "spiritual harm". What the heck is that and how do you quantify it? Are you talking about strip mining an area of land that YOU own only to find out there was a ancient indian burial ground on it causing mebers of a local Cherokee community to get really upset?

What "crosses the line" is when you can demonstrate with evidence that a particular person (or company) has violated the rights of a particular person or group of people.

The current civil law system requires the claimant to show a "preponderance of the evidence" (which roughly means having more evidence support one side than the other - >50%) that some harm has occurred in order to get a judgement in his/her favor. DavidOdden and Groovenstein (among others) can flesh this out a lot better than I can. How a court system might work in a Capitalist government under objective law might be different.

No one needs create special laws about the environment and how it can be used if they were to simply use the available civil system when they can demonstrate that their individual rights have been violated in some fashion.

What you don't do is pass sweeping laws that say "You must throw your plastic and aluminum cans in this garbage tin, and the rest of trash in this garbage tin." You don't pass sweeping laws that prevent land owners from cutting down the trees on the land they own. You don't tell people they can't develop their own land because it has some swampy areas (the ever precious "wetlands"). You don't pass laws that tell land owners that they can't drill for oil on their own land. You don't let the government dictate acceptable emissions coming out of a car... etc. etc. However, if in using any of those examples one could demonstrate with sufficient evidence that a specific person or group of people have had their rights violated, then you could talk about compensation, court imposed sanctions, etc. etc. against the specific respondent(s) in the case.

Private organizations that wish to try to persuade people to be more "environmentally friendly" without the force of law would be perfectly permissible, assuming they don't violate other peoples rights in the process. You know, spiking trees, sabotaging equipment, forming human chains, tying themselves to trees or bulldozers, etc.

Hope that gives you some idea.

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But I feel like she misunderstands some environmentalist positions and incorrectly posits a dichotomy of "technological society exactly as it is now with all the inherent environmental problems it causes" and "everyone living in a stinking hovel with no modern conveniences".

Then you need to research the facts more, simple as that.

Here, Here, and Here are three blog posts from a scientist who came here believing the propaganda of environmentalism, examined the evidence, and changed her mind. Once you see the evidence, I think you will change yours too.

Second, once you see the evidence, look deeper. If the whole of the "scientific" claims of environmentalists are untrue, then why would they push it? Well, one glance tells you that they are running a massive propaganda campaign to convince us to give them power so that they can "help the environment." What form does this "help" always take? The restriction of industry. Always. Every time. Don't you find that odd?

Could it be that there is a reason for that? An agenda that they have?

Why are they lying? To what purpose? Think about it: they are lying because their goal really is not clean air and water. Their goal really is to wipe out industry in all its forms. Why would they do this? Because it is apart from the Nature that they worship. And if they have a problem with industry, as such, with non-animal means of survival, as such, then they have a problem with man, as such. Following that logically, you can see that their goal really is to harm and destroy mankind. Suddenly, the lies make perfect sense.

Now think on that point: they are not out to protect man's environment; they are out to protect Nature from man (i.e. to sacrifice the latter to the former). Yes, the worship of the non-entity Nature, as you detailed above. This can also be verified with a simple fact check. First, go by their actual statements: What do they have to say about it? There are a bazillion threads here that have quotes from them and first-hand evidence of what the movement is and does.

Here is but a small sample:

Until such time as Homo sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along. (source: "Mother Nature as a hothouse flower," Los Angeles Times Book Review, October 22, 1989, p. 10.)

—David Graber, biologist, National Park Service

From there, it is easy to see that Ayn Rand was in fact right about every last word she wrote about environmentalism.

Edited by Inspector

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...to come back to the subject of government. How clearly do you have to show that people are being harmed before it crosses the line from defending individuals into "environmentalism" (the way Rand means it)? What's the burden of proof? What types of harms (physical harms, spiritual harms, etc) are going to count in the analysis?
Great set of questions, because they name the essence of what political philosophers and legal theorists should focus on, when it comes to "environmentalist" issues.

My only comment about the questions themselves is that they do not include questions about the "other side". For example: to what extent can a person be forced to change prior, well-established, well-known practices, to accomodate the planned actions of someone else? (e.g. nobody wants a sugar mills next door, smelling of mollases; but, can one move next door to a sugar mill and ask them to shut down?)

Another question one needs to ask: in what situations, if any, may one enforce something pre-emptively?

Other than that, the thrust of your questions is correct, because you focus on people. As long as one keeps in mind the people on the other side, and their rights. Most things in life come with some degree of risk: e.g. driving to work, living in a house, etc. So, in principle, it is really important to acept that the law may not hold zero-risk as it's goal: that implies zero-action.

At this point, how does one proceed further without concrete examples? So, this is the point at which things become really contentious (be prepared). For instance, one goes to specific instances and points to the harms caused by environmentalists. E.g., Carson, and her anti-DDT propoganda; the alar-on-apples scare; the global warming scare; the "fuel will run out" scare; the "population bomb" scare; the asbestos scare; the nuclear-power scare; the land-fill aversion; the recycling laws. Moving a little away from environmentalism as such, but still in the same area of laws that allow poor proof to be used to violate people's rights: the breast implant ban and Dow bankruptcy. Each of these resulted in huge violations of rights: the right of some human beings to act.

You say that the alternative of stinking hovels and tech-society-with-all-its problems is a false one. That's true in way. It is clear that the more technologically advanced a country, the less environmental problems it has -- and not because of government rules. It is just that as people become rich they clean up their homes and neighbourhoods. They do this because they can afford to do so.

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For instance, one goes to specific instances and points to the harms caused by environmentalists. E.g., Carson, and her anti-DDT propoganda; the alar-on-apples scare; the global warming scare; the "fuel will run out" scare; the "population bomb" scare; the asbestos scare; the nuclear-power scare; the land-fill aversion; the recycling laws.
That reminds me of something I said once:
The entire environmentalist movement is a gigantic fraud. They've been systematically lying to us for years and, when you've seen the evidence that I have, it is a very reasonable conclusion to dismiss them out of hand as liars.They lied about DDT. They lied about many of the major "toxic spill" scares (including Erin Brockovich; turns out the evidence didn't support the claims of that lawsuit). They lied about nuclear power and three mile island. They lie about ethanol, genetically modified foods, they lie aboutorganicfoods, they lie about the Amazon rainforest, they lied about “resource depletion,” they lied about “overpopulation,” they lied about recycling, they lied about Alar, and of course they lie about Global Warming.They lie repeatedly, they lie consistently, and they lie on principle. (see Ayn Rand and Peter Schwartz for the philosophical reason for this) There hasn't been a single environmental "cause" that I know of where they *haven't* lied. After a certain point, you'll realize that they are Not To Be Listened To - in the same way and for the same reason that Evangelicals are properly ignored.
I thought this was a good article, too.

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What I don't understand is why it seems some objectivists want to "throw the baby out with the bathwater" when it comes to environmentalism? My friend is an environmetal engineer and he tests soil and ground water before a property can be sold. If petroleum or waste seeps into the ground at high and toxic levels, it is the responsibility of the owners to clean and treat that property and pay fines if necessary.

I don't want some shmoe poisioning water that I have to drink. Does this make me an enviromentalist?

Would any of you drink tap water from India?

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What I don't understand is why it seems some objectivists want to "throw the baby out with the bathwater" when it comes to environmentalism?

I do not know any such Objectivists who engage in this metaphorical practice. If you want to convince us that these Objectivists exist, you need to name names and provide quotes. Making wild accusations such as this is very rude, often dishonest and not welcome. Anyway, I am going to assume that you are requesting clarification and are not intentionally being malicious.

I suspect that you do not know precisely what Objectivists mean by Environmentalism. According to the Objectivist definition as I understand it, Environmentalism is the idea that man should sacrifice values in his long-term rational interest to preserve the environment in some arbitrary state. This would include not building a university so as not to disturb an endangered population of owls, not eating meat because it influences the food chain, not drinking bottled water because it requires the manufacture of a plastic bottle and not clearing land to build new homes or shopping malls.

Being anti-dirt does not make you an Environmentalist. By anti-dirt, I mean that you recognize that man should never sacrifice his values in his rational self-interest for the environment but you understand that in many circumstances it is not in man's rational self-interest to pollute the his own drinking water (or that of his neighbors, friends, loved ones or co-workers) or intoxicate the very air that he wants to breathe. Furthermore, you do not have to be an Environmentalist to be against individuals destroying your property or endangering your health through careless disposal.

To recapitulate, those who are anti-dirt but pro-man would operate on the principles of Rational Selfishness, but would recognize circumstances where it is in man's rational self-interest not to pollute. On the other hand, Environmentalists believe that is man should sacrifice his values for the environment on principle. Does this make sense?

Edited by DarkWaters

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I am going to assume that you are requesting clarification and are not intentionally being malicious.

Good assumption, sorry you took it that way.

To recapitulate, those who are anti-dirt but pro-man would operate on the principles of Rational Selfishness, but would recognize circumstances where it is in man's rational self-interest not to pollute. On the other hand, Environmentalists believe that is man should sacrifice his values for the environment on principle. Does this make sense?

Yes, but i think you're the first one to say anything like this. Most posts on this topic are just anti environmentalists but don't offer an alternative solution. I just want to make sure I know that the contents of my food, air, soil, water and natural resources are safe. If a lot of people or maybe most people are not rational, what (objectivist approved) mechanism is in place to monitor or counter this values problem if we don't trust the agencies/government?

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