Last night I was watching the local news report about protesters trying to stop logging in the part of Strzelecki Ranges in Gippsland, Victoria. The protest was staged by the group called “Friends of the Gippsland Bush” and supported by “Friends of the Earth”.
I don’t know enough about the situation to comment on the validity of the protesters claims but something else struck me. It was the realisation that these environmentalist groups are essentially bullies whose tactics are typical of moral and intellectual bullying practised by religious zealots, Soviets and Nazis.
Start with their names – “Friends of the Earth”, “Friends of the Trees” or “Friends of Whatever”. Such moral high-ground names basically presume that anyone who argues with them must be the Enemy of Earth, or Bush or whatever else takes their fancy. We can laugh at neocon George W. Bush and his “if you are not with us, you are with the terrorists”, but how are these people different? If you are not the Friend of the Earth you must be the enemy. The names of these groups contain an automatic smear of their opponents.
Just like Nazis and Soviets these people are self-appointed spokesmen on behalf of others. While Nazis and Soviets presumed to speak on behalf of the working classes, the Volk, environmentalist speak on behalf of the Earth, trees, Spotted Owls and so forth. The planet can’t seek anybody’s friendship but these guys have decided that they would befriend it anyway and impose their personal will upon us on the Earth’s behalf. This is a license to bully. Just like the Communists and Nazis claimed that workers couldn’t speak up against against the capitalist machine and needed Communist and Nazi muscle to impose the workers’ will on society, the environmentalists must speak and act on behalf of the planet and its species who cannot speak for themselves.
Have you also noticed how these guys always SAVE something? In yesterday’s protest they were “saving the Strezleki Ranges”. It’s as if the logging company wanted to destroy the whole mountain range, which would require some serious nukes and earth-moving machinery. Or they want to “save the whales”. All of them? Jokes aside, the theme of eco-salvation neatly kicked in where traditional religion left off. While priests may offer us salvation for the soul, environmentalist are offering salvation for the entire planet. Either are a quest for a higher calling and while it’s getting harder to fill the church pews there is no shortage of Gore Tex-clad bright-eyed eco-bullies telling us all what we should all do on the planet’s bahalf.