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Liriodendron Tulipifera

Definitions Of Environmentalism

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And like I said, you've been nothing but rude to her, making assumptions she's in this hostile camp or that. My view is that you should apologize to her, but of course what you choose to do is entirely up to you.

I've just re-read every post of mine in this thread. Unless I've missed something, I've never been rude to her or made an assumption that she herself was in the hostile camp. I did see a post where she got a bit snippy at me and I made a crack about sherman-williams (the paint company). But the rest was simple disagreement with the statements she has made. That, in and of itself, is not rude.

Now I might have simply missed something...

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Free capitalist, judging from Inspector's presumptuous and patronizing treatment of others on this forum, in addition to myself, I don't think an apology is to be expected. After reading some of his statements in other threads, I no longer take the comments personally. :P

On mountaineer man: I actually watched the film Alone in the Wilderness again last night. Proenneke states in the beginning of the video, his reasons for doing this. He wanted to challenge himself physically and mentally, to see whether his knowledge and skills in the wilderness would be enough to survive, to see whether his own company would be sufficient to sustain him. He wanted to see if he could live the life of his dreams, not just dream the life. He also said that in the production of items in society, men worked on little pieces at a time in assembly line fashion, and that this was not satisfying to himself personally. "Doing a job to completion satisfies me."

He did use tin buckets, cement, axes, saws, canned food products, tarpaper, polyethylene, and a shotgun, to name a few. The reason seems obvious. He can't make those items himself apart from assembly line production. If he could have, I suspect he would have tried, in order to perform a job from start to finish, to completion. This is different from a wholesale rejection of mechanized technology such as the Amish do. Their rejection of certain technologies (such as cameras, etc.) stems from the mysticism that such items are inherently bad. from what I can see, Proenneke's rejection of certain advanced mechanized technologies stem from the fact that using them wouldn't be challenge enough for him. But rejection of someof the technologies (such as a gun) clearly would have been pushing it too far in that landscape.

Inspector, you said stagnation is death. I agree, but we all have a different concept of stagnation. Clearly, this man's idea of stagnation was spending the rest of his days driving back and forth to the grocery store when he was physically and mentally capable and up to the challenge of growing and hunting most of his own food. I suspect that is why people risk their lives climbing Mt. Everest and other high peaks over and over again, until they die, with increasing levels of challenge each time. The thrill alone is worth it, and they value it more than they value everything else. That doesn't mean they must use the climbing tools that Sir Edmund Hillary did. There's lots of cool modern climbing gear available now. Of course, if someone DID want to get all decked out in Hillary's original gear and try climbing Everest without an oxygen mask, well.... more power to him or her.

This is no different from me cooking Thanksgiving dinner instead of going out and eating it at a restaurant. Some folks might even take this a bit further than me and "grow" their own turkey, if they live on a farm. Mightn't it be cool to imagine your entire Thanksgiving dinner being produced as a direct result of your own labor, just like the first Thanksgiving? The grocery store is great because it's convenient. But if we sometimes value something else over convenience, there's no conflict.

on deserts: Anyone who thinks deserts can't be beautiful has never been to Utah, New Mexico, or Arizona. This is no different from enjoying the moon, the sun, or the stars, which are also untouched by the hand of man.

on the theme that industry has been more helpful than harmful: Again, Inspector, you love to drop context. I don't disagree with the overall theme, as I specifically stated the first time I ever used that phrase in this thread. As for the rest of your judgments, I'll leave to the rest of the readers to judge for themselves whether you are correct. :worry:

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On mountaineer man: I actually watched the film Alone in the Wilderness again last night. Proenneke states in the beginning of the video, his reasons for doing this.

Okay, then. I can now tell you, since we have the facts, that my initial judgment of Proenneke was wrong. He is not an Amish or Luddite or similar. If he were here, I would apologize to him.

Now, I do still think that there is something strange about him. I think that him and people like him have an essential misunderstanding of the point of technology and of where to seek their challenges in life. I'd say that what he was doing is more similar to what some "gamers" do when they let their games consume too much of their life. Yes, I realize that he was actually working for his survival. But he was doing so by imposing "rules" in the same way that games do.

I think a healthier way of fulfilling the need to be challenged would be to go somewhere or do something that is genuinely challenging, even with technology. What he did is really no different in my mind than the rich men of the British Empire who went on safari. The difference is that they generally CAME BACK from safari. To devote so many years of one's life to what is essentially a game is something that I just can't bring myself to look up to, no matter how challenging or "manly" it must have been.

Clearly, this man's idea of stagnation was spending the rest of his days driving back and forth to the grocery store when he was physically and mentally capable and up to the challenge of growing and hunting most of his own food.
I think this is a legitimate point, but as I have illustrated above, I don't think his solution was the right one.

I guess he could be considered a kind of athlete in a sport of his own invention. He could be looked up to in that way. If that's all that you see him as, then I can just say that that particular sport is not my cup of tea. (just like NASCAR isn't my cup of tea. I'm sure the drivers of that are very skilled, but what they are doing is so bogged down by artificial "rules" that I just don't see the point)

on the theme that industry has been more helpful than harmful: Again, Inspector, you love to drop context. I don't disagree with the overall theme, as I specifically stated the first time I ever used that phrase in this thread. As for the rest of your judgments, I'll leave to the rest of the readers to judge for themselves whether you are correct. :(

For the second time, I'm not dropping context. I know you SAID you agree with it, but if you agree with it, then what exactly is there to take issue with? You said that you think it's a "collectivist" statement, and I countered that it was a generalization made in the same way that Ayn Rand used the term "society." She came out and said that when she uses that word, she doesn't mean it as if "society" were an entity onto itself, but rather that she was speaking generally.

Originally, you brought up the point about the division-of-labor society. (Proenneke was used as an example of someone who could, in part, live without the division-of-labor society.) I'd like to note that he was not capable of living without it completely.

What was the point that you wanted to make about the division-of-labor versus total self-sufficiency? Were you saying that one was objectively better than the other? Were you saying that one or the other offered virtues or advantages that the other did not? I don't know where you were going with that...

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I guess he could be considered a kind of athlete in a sport of his own invention. He could be looked up to in that way. If that's all that you see him as, then I can just say that that particular sport is not my cup of tea. (just like NASCAR isn't my cup of tea. I'm sure the drivers of that are very skilled, but what they are doing is so bogged down by artificial "rules" that I just don't see the point)

Then we have no quarrel, and it's not my cup of tea, either. The longest I've ever been out in the middle of nowhere it is about a week, and then I'm ready to get back to running water! I do very much enjoy being out there. There's a physical exhilaration that I get that I don't get from living here in the suburbs and certainly did not get in the high rise I once lived in. I don't expect that everyone can experience it, only that they accept that I do. And actually, it makes me appreciate modern conveniences even more once I get back. I think I would really like to do such a thing for a few months to a year, perhaps eventually. Not with as few tools as he had, not as far out as he was, not with the self-imposed isolation. Generally, I like people and don't want to isolate myself THAT much from them. :( But, I think it would be a lot of fun to build a house from scratch. In fact, this would be similar to building one's own car or boat from a kit. And then there are the folks that probably can build their own cars from scratch. I'm sure the cars would not rival anything produced by a mechanized process, but you could certainly say of the person that did it that he or she was talented!

For the second time, I'm not dropping context. I know you SAID you agree with it, but if you agree with it, then what exactly is there to take issue with? You said that you think it's a "collectivist" statement, and I countered that it was a generalization made in the same way that Ayn Rand used the term "society." She came out and said that when she uses that word, she doesn't mean it as if "society" were an entity onto itself, but rather that she was speaking generally.

Perhaps I can be clearer here. The reason I agree with the overall theme is because it's true. It's self-evident. But when we start breaking industry down to categories and looking at the effects of those industries on individuals, it gets messy. Example: A few years back, there was a guy who died from eating genetically modified corn. (He had some unpexpected allergic reaction to it or something.) This wasn't anyone's fault, just an unforeseen mistake. So, while we can all agree that the genetic engineering industry has been far more helpful than harmful to society overall because it creates massive quantities of food, and often better quality food, that doesn't mean that the guy who died needs to value the genetic engineering of corn, just because genetic engineering is an industrial activity and he is part of society. See what I mean? Likewise, I don't value those little Palm Pilot thingies anymore than a pad of paper and pencil, because a few years ago when my battery died I lost all kinds of information. So while I understand that they are useful to some people, I do not value them. That doesn't mean I don't value OTHER industries.

What was the point that you wanted to make about the division-of-labor versus total self-sufficiency? Were you saying that one was objectively better than the other? Were you saying that one or the other offered virtues or advantages that the other did not? I don't know where you were going with that...

I wasn't going anywhere with it, except to say that we can all make our own decisions with regard to where we sit on the continuum of self-sufficiency vs. total division of labor. Personally, I can't imagine wanting to eat Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant. This, my personal decision, would be half-way between growing all my own food vs. buying it all AND the preparation. But I know that there are plenty of people that do eat in restaurants for Thanksgiving every year, and enjoy it very much! I honestly can't fully understand how convenience can trump the taste of a home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner, but that's okay (it probably has something to do with too much leftover turkey or too many nasty cooking pans... eeeewwww). But, anyway, I digress! I don't NEED to understand. I just accept that that's the way they like it. That's my only point. As long as a person's decisions do not infringe others' rights, to each his own! :)

Some people find great satisfaction in performing tasks to completion without division of labor. For instance, I like to knit. I find it relaxing and rewarding to make something nice with my hands. So I would prefer to wear a hat I knit myself to one I could buy in a store, because the quality is actually better. What I mean is, I can get good quality wool at a fairly reasonable price, so the time involved is worth the quality of the product, vs. something cheap made by an automized machine from acrylic yarn. I can't afford good quality wool products made by a mechanized process. Anyway, I would certainly not take it so far as to spin the wool into yarn or sheer the sheep all by myself. But in fact, I am sure there are knitting freaks out there who do just that... and that's fine!

Edited by Liriodendron Tulipifera

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I'm sure the cars would not rival anything produced by a mechanized process, but you could certainly say of the person that did it that he or she was talented!

That depends on the kit car. Some of them will outperform Ferraris if you stick the right motor in them. :D

Perhaps I can be clearer here. The reason I agree with the overall theme is because it's true. It's self-evident. But when we start breaking industry down to categories and looking at the effects of those industries on individuals, it gets messy. Example: A few years back, there was a guy who died from eating genetically modified corn.
Okay, that is clearer. A LOT clearer. But I would say that that man could still value genetic engineering in general, even if that specific instance of it happened to get him killed. I'm a "car guy" and will remain one even if I am crippled in a car accident. Even though technology can fail, it is still man's means of survival: the application of his reason to reality. A failure of technology doesn't change the theme "industry has been more helpful than harmful." For instance, how old was the fellow who died from eating the corn? If he was older than 30, then he most likely had industry to thank for his being alive long enough to eat the corn and die. I'm not saying it's good he died, but do you get where I'm going with this?

I wasn't going anywhere with it, except to say that we can all make our own decisions with regard to where we sit on the continuum of self-sufficiency vs. total division of labor.

I think I see what you mean, but I don't know yet if I agree. I think that the division-of-labor society is so completely essential to our survival that nobody can "sit" on the other side of the "continuum" and still be pro-man and pro-life. The very ability to be able to engage in "survival games" is dependant upon the division-of-labor society that such games avoid. A division of labor society doesn't mean that a person does nothing for themself, only that they do some things for themself and trade for other things that they can't do so well/don't have the time for.

I think the choice of which things to do oneself and which things to trade for is a personal choice. I think that valuing a division-of-labor society as such is NOT, because 99.999% of the population would simply be dead without it.

Personally, I can't imagine wanting to eat Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant.
Then you're either a REALLY good cook or you've never been to a good enough restaurant. I had some turkey one year at a country club (that no longer is in business) called Nordic Hills, and it was the best turkey I've EVER eaten, hands down.

I honestly can't fully understand how convenience can trump the taste of a home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner, but that's okay (it probably has something to do with too much leftover turkey or too many nasty cooking pans... eeeewwww).

You've never tasted my father-in-law's turkey. Dryyyyyyyy. :P

As long as a person's decisions do not infringe others' rights, to each his own! :)
While you've been a lot clearer here in what you're saying, I have to stop you at that point. Those words express Libertarian philosophy, not Objectivist. The idea that anything that does not initiate force is morally okay is an idea that Objectivism is very much opposed to. Now if you meant something else, then fine. But that's something you should take care to make clear that you don't mean.

Some people find great satisfaction in performing tasks to completion without division of labor. For instance, I like to knit.

What you describe there is a hobby and I have NO problem with those. :(

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Here is a great article that bears reading:

A good excerpt that supports my point:

The toxic character of the environmental movement implies the observance of a vital principle in connection with any measures which the movement advocates and which might actually promote human life and well-being, such as those calling for the reduction of smog, the cleaning up of rivers, lakes, and beaches, and so forth. The principle is that even here one must not make common cause with the environmental movement in any way. One must be scrupulously careful not to advocate even anything that is genuinely good, under its auspices or banner. To do so is to promote its evil--to become contaminated with its poison and to spread its poison. In the hands of the environmentalists, concern even with such genuine problems as smog and polluted rivers serves as a weapon with which to attack industrial civilization. The environmentalists proceed as though problems of filth emanated from industrial civilization, as though filth were not the all-pervasive condition of human life in pre-industrial societies, and as though industrial civilization represented a decline from more healthful conditions of the past.

And an excerpt detailing what envrionmentalists think about what Liro's said of a "managed world:"

The environmentalists' recent claims about the impending destruction of the "planet" are entirely the result of the influence of the intrinsic value doctrine. What the environmentalists are actually afraid of is not that the planet or its ability to support human life will be destroyed, but that the increase in its ability to support human life will destroy its still extensively existing "wildness." They cannot bear the thought of the earth's becoming fully subject to man's control, with its jungles and deserts replaced by farms, pastures, and forests planted by man, as man wills. They cannot bear the thought of the earth's becoming man's garden. In the words of McKibben, "The problem is that nature, the independent force that has surrounded us since our earliest days, cannot coexist with our numbers and our habits. We may well be able to create a world that can support our numbers and our habits, but it will be an artificial world. . . ."

The environmentalists are the enemy of everyone who is in favor of human life, even those who take interest in "nature-related" careers, hobbies, etc. To associate oneself with such evil is to endorse it; a dire mistake.

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The environmentalists are the enemy of everyone who is in favor of human life....

The other day I stumbled across John Zerzan, who is an "anarcho-primitivist". Zerzan reveals the roots of modern environmentalism when he says: "To me primitivism provides a grounding for environmentalism. It refers, as a touchstone or inspiration, to the couple of million years during which humans lived in harmony with the environment, not as an alien power over it."

He rails against technology, industry, the division of labor, art, language.....you name it. If it's better than what the cavemen had, he's against it. According to Zerzan, the Golden Age of humanity was the Paleolithic period, when "hunter-gatherer life seems to have been marked, in general, by the longest and most successful adaptation to nature ever achieved by humans, a high degree of gender equality, an absence of organized violence, significant leisure time, an egalitarian ethos of sharing, and a disease-free robusticity." For those who can stomach reading an interview with this screwball: http://www.primitivism.com/zerzan.htm

If anyone thought for a moment that the modern environmental movement isn't ultimately anti-life, consider John Zerzan.

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There are environmentalists that think CO2 reduction is more important than nuclear waste issues or dessert wilderness protection, and those that think the reverse. So there's dissent.

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It's essentially anti-man and anti-capitalist, not pro-environment. That is, the thrust and purpose of the movement is to pull man down.

I think that's unfair. There are, of course, hordes of superstitious nutters that seem to be saying that all technological civilisation is bad. But there are many many more who simply enjoy the natural world for what it is, and want to preserve it for the enjoyment of humans today and in the future. Is there anything wrong with that, from an objectivist standpoint?

There are also many scientists who want to preserve natural ecosystems for the scientific discoveries that they may yield in the future - to me, science is the noblest endeavour of humanity, so that line of thought gets my stamp of approval. Who knows what medicines, foods and genetic oddities lurk around the world that could be utilised to improve the human world?

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