Reflections on Earth Day and Environmentalism as Religionby Jonathan DuHamel on Apr. 19, 2012, under Miscellaneous Stories
As we approach another “Earth Day” our thoughts turn to “The Environment,” not “our environment” but “The Environment.” Such emphasis implies to me that “The Environment” has taken on a religious quality: we must do right by “The Environment.”
Do you know the difference between right and wrong? How do you know? Upon what principles do you base your judgment? In this age of politically-correct, moral relativism, many of us think that many others don’t know the difference, or, at the very least, are operating on a different system of moral justification. Does the end justify the means, and is the end itself justifiable? Let’s review, very briefly, the theories of what is right.
There are four general theories used to justify the rules for civil society, one religious and three secular.
All religions, aside from their various creeds and rituals, have two common characteristics. They attempt to explain the origin of the world and man, and they attempt to provide justification for a system of ethics and social mores. The first characteristic has provided many interesting stories; the second has often led to trouble and intolerance. Religious doctrine has been used to justify the “divine right of kings” and to support systems which give little respect to or cognizance of individual rights.
The first of the secular systems, Natural Law theory, supposes that there are certain principles “discovered,” not “invented” by all societies, practical principles which work. In Western civilization, these principles derive from Greek and Roman law; especially the latter, since the Romans had to adjudicate cases in many cultures, and they noticed that disparate societies had some principles in common. Our founding fathers embraced Natural Law theory in the Declaration of Independence, when they wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights ….” Natural Law confers rights to the individual, and individuals form a society with a social contract based on those rights.
Natural Law theory has always had two problems, however. How can you identify a “natural” law? And, how do you make it work in society? The observations of the Romans answered the first: find the common principles which work in a variety of cultures. Our founding fathers found a solution to the second: the U.S. Constitution.
The second secular system, called the “Organic Theory” or “Historicism,” was a rejection of natural law. It was a reaction among European thinkers who thought that events such as the French revolution and breakdown of monarchies were getting too messy. Organic theory attempted to find a unifying doctrine that could conform all of society to some static model of perfection. This theory sought to identify a “collective will” manifested by majority rule, but it essentially ignored individual rights. Organic theory evolved into National Socialism in Germany, and into Communism. The Green Party platform is also a derivative of this philosophy.
The third secular theory is Utilitarianism. This, too, is a product of 18th century Europe and a rejection of natural law. Utilitarians think they can design a system of government to maximize the happiness of the citizens based on scientifically determined principles of governance. They attempt to show how a citizen’s self-interest can be reconciled with social responsibility without resorting to any lofty metaphysical assumptions. To reach this happy state, Utilitarians are loath to compare the values of one person with another. They think that goals, and means toward those goals, are so obvious to the enlightened, that they need not be justified with actual evidence. This theory has led to welfare economics and moral relativism.
In my view, environmentalism is somewhere between a religion and Utilitarianism. More specifically, the anthropogenic theory of global warming is becoming a religious crusade.
This was noted by Dr. Walter E. Williams when he wrote several years ago: “Manmade global warming, for many, is an Earth-worshiping religion. The essential feature of any religion is that its pronouncements are to be accepted on the basis of faith as opposed to hard evidence. Questioning those pronouncements makes one a sinner.”
More recently, Dr. W.A. Beatty, writing at American Thinker, has this to say about global warming as religion:
It is no coincidence that man-made global warming, or climate change, or whatever it’s called this week, got very popular as an issue just as the Soviet Union fell. It is the top-down centralized government’s last best hope of controlling the masses. And like other forms of socialist totalitarian worldviews, it is a religion as well.
Man-made global warming is an earth-worshiping religion. The essential feature of any religion is that its pronouncements are to be accepted on faith, as opposed to hard evidence. And as with most religions, it is susceptible to the earthly temptations of money, power, politics, arrogance, and deceit.
Global warmists have an unshakable faith that man-made carbon emissions will produce a hotter climate, causing natural disasters. Their insistence that we can be absolutely certain that this will come to pass is based not on science, but on faith.
All the trappings of religion are here:
• Original sin: Mankind is responsible for the prophesied disasters, especially those of us who live in suburbs and drive our SUVs to strip malls and chain restaurants.
• The need for atonement and repentance: We must impose a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system, which will raise the cost of everything and stunt economic growth.
• Rituals: We must observe Earth Day, and we must recycle.
• Indulgences: Private jet-fliers like Al Gore and sitcom heiress Laurie David can buy carbon offsets to compensate for their carbon-emitting sins.
• Prophecy and faith in things unseen: Advocates say we must act now before it is too late.
Read the rest of the article here.
So, as we observe the celebration of Earth Day, remember all is not completely warm and fuzzy; it has its more sinister side too engendered in all the regulations and policies designed to control us.