Thursday, January 07, 2010

Goddamn Blue Terrists!

WTF Wednesday was postponed due to birthday festivities, but there's plenty of WTF to go around, and today conservative blogger Dr. Richard Swier is serving up a hearty helping.

Dr. Swier, it seemed, didn't enjoy the film Avatar. Not because it was "boring, predictable, and very long," as his moviegoing companions thought, but because it was "pure eco-propaganda." Here, I actually agree with him. Hell, James Cameron agrees with him; he's said in an interview that his goal was to use the emotional appeal of the film to encourage people to internalize a sense of personal responsibility towards the environment. My problem with Sweir's analysis is twofold. First, he equates all environmentalists with violent radicals and seems to suggest that wanting to limit the use of resources is un-American. Chris Tackett of has written a more detailed and better rebuttal to these points than I could hope to do, and here it is.

My other problem (well, my other problem aside from the Youtube video Swier posted making all environmentalists out to be communist/socialist, and the insinuation that socialism is one of those argument-stopping accusations. And his statement that "the enemy of the environmentalist groups is the human race." And... maybe I shouldn't have said my problems were twofold when they are, it seems, manifold.) The other problem I had in mind when I started this entry was his view about the dominion of man over the other creatures. I hear a lot of people quoting scripture to justify this view. And I can, to some extent, see their point. Whether or not humans are the only animals with a sense of the future or of morality, they seem to be the only ones who have willingly disregarded the idea of balanced consumption-- or, at least, the only ones in a position to get away with it. I would argue that this does give us some measure of dominion over the earth.

Where Swier and I differ is that I don't consider the nature of our dominion to be an inborn right to use its resources as we like. He says that "American Conservationism aims to preserve natural resources expressly for their continued sustainable use by humans. That, I believe, is the proper world view when it comes to our planet and its natural resources." I take objection to "expressly" and to "sustainable" in that sentence. First of all, I don't think our use of resources is sustainable by any stretch of the imagination, nor does it appear that sustainability has even historically been a goal until very recently. (Granted, this is my perception-- anyone who cares to dispute this would be welcome.)

He linked in his comment section an article about how buggy 2010 was going to be due to harsher restrictions on pesticides as being counter to our rights to use our environment as we see fit, which brings me to "express human use." I think that by now I can only claim to be a formerly religious person, but still I can't see how anyone could believe that God would condone the loss of biodiversity. There are many scriptural references that say some version of "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it." If you're going to make a religious argument, wouldn't it be more compelling that humans' task to "have dominion over the earth" compels us even more to protect it as it was given to us? Mountaintop removal, clear-cutting the rainforest, and threatening habitats are perhaps all immediately beneficial to humans, but I can't see them as anything other than an affront to a Creator who has made such an astoundingly beautiful, diverse, and well-balanced world.

Aaaaand Scott Adams.

Posted by Silent Five @ 9:54 PM

Read or Post a Comment

I think religions need to look more closely at their ideas of "dominion" and "stewardship" and cosmology. Does it make any sense for God (however you define that)to encourage us to destroy, abuse, exploit or disrespect anything with life in it?
And don't forget bacon and dark chocolate!

Posted by Anonymous scilla @ 10:57 AM #

I regularly abuse, exploit, and disrespect bacon and dark chocolate. Maybe it doesn't want to be eaten, but I don't care because it needs to get in my mouth.

Good thoughts, Susan. I don't understand people who are anti-conservation or eco-unfriendly. How can conserving resources and promoting natural growth and clean air policies be a bad thing? Then again, I also don't understand how a minority group can be denied specific rights (like marriage) when corporations, like Wal-Mart, claim to have constitutional rights.

Go figure.

Posted by Blogger e.clare @ 1:52 PM #

There seems to be even more far-right whining about Avatar then there was about Wall-e. My advice is, don't let it get to you; take it as comedy. Their self-identification with the badguys in these stories is its own argument. The joke is on them if they're offended by anything that criticizes wanton destruction for the sake of a buck. Heck, if I believed what conservative pundits had to say about movies, then I would have to burn my copies of Groundhog Day and Brazil because I'm a Gawdless Librul by their declaration. (Check the top conservative movies list of National Review. Or don't, really, it won't do much for your sanity.)

Posted by Blogger nachoproblem @ 2:21 PM #

I for one have always found the Scriptural argument for conservation more compelling than the argument against. Why would God give such a gift as our Earth to human beings only to sanction the abuse of it?

Posted by Blogger dws @ 9:05 AM #
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Word of the Week

gymnosophy [jim-NAH-so-fee]

n. Philosophical, amusing, or nonsensical insights realized when naked, as in the shower or in bed. (recent coinage: att. S. Galasso, 2010)

Victoria and Albert enjoyed a spot of postprandial concupiscence culminating in a night of gymnosophy and coffee and crumpets at dawn.

The Silent Top Five: Bacon-Flavored Desserts

1) Bacon cheesecake.
2) Bacon gumballs.
3) Bacon ice cream.
4) Bacon-orange bars.
5) Bacon apple pie.

Standard Disclaimer

This is all in no way meant to incur copyright-infringement-related wrath. I'm harmless. I promise. Oh, and if you're offended by anything I may post herein, I guarantee I didn't mean to do so (unless, of course, you are a humorless prig. In which case, go right on and be offended, with my blessings.)