Are you an angry anti-American Marxist displaced by the fall of communism and the end of the cold war? Are you a depressed apocalyptic turtleneck wearer in need of an atheist Armageddon to tout? Are you tired of speaking for the proletariat only to have them tell you to “shove it?”
Well then, the answer to your problems is here! In a remarkable coincidence, this Sunday is not only Vladimir Lenin’s birthday, it’s also Earth Day! And the new “Green” movement is accepting all the debris of Marxism’s collapse NO QUESTIONS ASKED! Enlist now and receive a free “Che Speaks for The Trees!” t-shirt made from 100% organic fair-trade free-range cotton.
Yes, just like a disgraced corporation changing its name and logo and then re-emerging to sell the same old crap under a new trademark, all of Europe and North America’s assorted anti-capitalist, anti-American, anti-Western luddites and looneys have regrouped under a new banner. Furl the red flag and mute the “Internationale,” it’s time to go green and sing “Kumbaya!” instead.
During the period from about 1960 to the fall of the Berlin wall at the end of 1989, the message of the Red left was that Capitalism was exploiting the world, America was destroying the world, and the only solution was for the international intelligentsia to run the world.
Contrast this with the much-improved message of the modern Green left, which is… that Capitalism is exploiting the world, America is destroying the world, and the only solution is for the international intelligentsia to run the world.
We finally consign Marxism to the dustbin of history, and it turns out it’s a recycling bin.
But in many ways, Environmentalism must be a much more gratifying cause for the left than Socialism ever was. Sure Marxism could justify a hatred of one’s own society, but the downside was that the Western movement’s foreign “comrades” were always killing a million people here or there. This could make one’s “Live Simply So That Others May Simply Live” bumper sticker positively red with irony.
Using Mother Earth as one’s sanctimonious justification for self-loathing offers no such moral conundrums. The Earth is a victim, pure and simple, and never hurts anyone. Well, except for earthquakes, floods, famine, drought, wildfires, mudslides, blizzards, hurricanes, and tornados wiping out villages of babies and native tree-worshipers and such. But the idea of anthropogenic climate change has solved that issue. Now even bad weather is the fault of the left’s enemies.
So case closed — nature is a much better excuse for organized misanthropy than claiming to represent something as troublesome as other humans. In fact, Environmentalism is the highest manifestation of what I call a “Third Party” cause. Third Party causes work like this: Suppose you’re a jerk and you act like it for no reason. Why, I and others will all think you’re a jerk. But now, suppose you inform everybody that you are not just a jerk, you are angry for a cause, a good cause — the sort of cause that makes you acting like a jerk entirely understandable, because you’re full of righteous indignation (as opposed to the petty kind.) You’re not a jerk at all; you’re a champion for some helpless Third Party, say, workers and peasants… or darters and pheasants. It doesn’t matter exactly, because you’re just too damn mad/concerned/upset/outraged/caring to piddle about details. My goodness, the Earth is in danger — out of my way, idiot!
Having a non-human Third Party to champion not only saves you from guilt by association with their human excesses (little things like Pol Pot’s killing fields). But there’s also the very real advantage that no chimpanzee ever said “No, thanks.” Claim to represent the working men and women of Appalachia or Albania, and you may be surprised by the vigor with which they correct your delusions of grandeur. But the Lorax can speak for the trees without fear of contradiction by the forest.
Another advantage of Environmentalism over Marxism is sheer scope. Marxism claims it is necessary for a small group of enlightened protectors to have power over all economic and philosophical matters so as to guarantee the masses their freedom from want. Well this is fine, as far as it goes. But Environmentalism claims it is necessary for a small group of enlightened protectors to have power over not just the economy and philosophy of man, but the air, land, sea, trees, rocks, rivers, newts, amoebas, and fungi as well. Also, space is probably part of the environment, since that is where solar power and the ozone layer lives.
This attracts to the Green movement a second formerly Marxist constituency, lovers of order, (or at least lovers of the sense of order) who are uncomfortable with the idea of self-organizing disseminated power structures such as free societies, Smithian capitalism, or unguided nature. Think about how grand the claimed bailiwick of Environmentalism is. What? There’s a two-cycle lawn mower engine running in Manitoba? Nobody asked me first. HOW DARE THEY? Now that’s ambition towards order.
A third “watermelon constituency” (green on the outside, red on the inside) are the “dialectical materialist” types that like to believe in the millenarian inevitability of their claims. Before Marx, these folks were mostly religious fanatics claiming that the end-time was here and that everyone thus needed to listen up to their prophecy so as to be among the elect group that could be saved by obedience. Then Marx arrived and they became economic fanatics claiming that capitalism’s end-time was here. Thus everyone really needed to listen up to their prophecy so as to be among the elect group that could be saved by obedience. Finally Marx’s Marxist inevitability proved quite evitable and so the prophets all became global warming fanatics claiming that the hydrocarbon end-time was here… and thus everyone really needs to listen up to their prophecy so as to be among the elect group that can be saved by obedience. These are important people that arrive just in time to save us from the end.
All in all, it seems entirely appropriate (and again, purely coincidental) that Earth Day is celebrated on Lenin’s birthday. One wonders whether the Greenies simply had to purchase some old mailing lists.
Happy Earth Day, Comrades!