Opinion

Column defending eco-left proves exactly the opposite

One recent response by a Hurricane reader does wonders to support my thesis in an earlier column on eco-fundamentalism. Even UM’S ‘green’ environmental activists doggedly adhere to debate techniques contrary to achieving rational discourse in presenting a clear and concise viewpoint for a specific issue.

The respondent, Ms. Pitts, seems to be consumed by ideals to which many succumb in not having been exposed to knowledge and information that directly challenges paradigms prevalent in popular culture, the press or in the modern academy. This is usually the result of a steady diet of presumed moral superiority endemic in fundamentalist environmentalism, which she alludes to as the ‘nobility of our cause.’ This is no small foible committed by persons who seek to establish a superior moral position in social and environmental issues. And it hinders rational economic choices and freedom in grappling with such problems. Perhaps use of the word ‘zealot’ is what ignited her. But her agitated off-topic response is exactly the reason to use such words when describing the ideological eco-left.

Ms. Pitts uses words and phrases directly from my column so I will assume she is referring to me when she levels ad hominum attacks in an attempt to reduce the legitimacy of my position. Her attempt to connect an ‘ethnocentricism of benighted individuals’ to my statements is a veiled and slanderous charge of racism, meant to question the moral standing of any idea that challenges the ideological eco-left dogma and, in effect, denigrates free intellectual inquiry. Nowhere, in my column do I try to establish a purported superfluous connection between environmental issues and racial constructs. This accusation is far removed from legitimate debate that uses relevant examples leavened with descriptive words to specifically support a position.

Ms. Pitts further establishes her progressive credentials by cavalierly ignoring the argument I used to support my position found in Bjorn Lomborg’s Skeptical Environmentalist’s specifically faulty models of data analysis. This ministration is typical of the self-styled anointed and falls along the same lines as the skewed analysis techniques Lomborg cites, which she ignores and fails to address. For her to state that ‘criticism has stalled short of raising sensible compelling arguments,’ displays an unwillingness to devote minimal effort to hear and study the position on the issue I specifically present. In the column I also clearly state the importance of pressing environmental problems and the necessity of creating rational workable solutions to solve them.

Perhaps those like Ms. Pitts who are ‘transcending boundaries and empowering ordinary people to live extraordinary lives’ should first ask we ordinary people if we really want their ‘noble’ and purported ‘towering feats of altruism’ to represent our interests. This is hyperbole and obfuscation and is the real modus operandi of the eco-left, which seeks to dictate which public policies are best for humankind.

Ms. Pitts seems stridently conscientious and environmentally engaged. She may claim to be one who doesn’t want to ‘sink markets’, but by embracing the deceptively coded language of racial conflict, victimization, class warfare and irrational dogma of the totalitarian eco-left, she is allying herself with those who do. She is also profoundly incorrect when she dutifully restates the old canard that posits environmental issues have nothing to do with green ‘dead presidents’. Perhaps she would prefer an eco-friendly but incentive-destroying-and heavily taxed-income in ‘non-green’ sucres or rupees.

Steven Stanley is a graduate student in the School of International Studies.

April 23, 2002

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Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.