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The greens and the fascists

Taking a few days off from the blog has at least given me a chance to finish reading Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. This book (buy here) was a bit of an eye-opener for me, setting out in mind-boggling detail the links - both historical and philosophical - between fascism and the ideas espoused by modern day liberals and progressives. The sheer weight of evidence is extraordinary - from welfare, to land reform, to greenery, to the worship of the state it's hard to find any other areas of public policy in which the two  have so much in common. (Goldberg points out that anti-semitism was part of the Nazi creed, but not that of the Italian or Spanish fascists, and was therefore a policy of Hitlerism, but not really of fascism.)

But what struck me about the book was how often I noticed that there are also clear parallels between fascism and environmentalism. At a high level, both are alt-religions, which their adherents seek to impose on society with Jesuit fervour, spurred on by fear of impending disaster. Both are openly totalitarian, in the original sense of the word: in other words the creed is supposed to apply in every aspect of life, in every area of policy, and in the private sphere as much as in the public.

The methods are often the same too. Where fascists tried to generate an almost permanent sense of crisis in order to unite their country (Mussolini) or their volk (Hitler) around a share sense of national purpose, environmentalists try to create a permanent sense of ecological breakdown in order to unite society around their programme.

But at a detailed policy level too, the parallels are remarkable. From attempts to change diets, to the hijacking of the education system, it's the same thing. And the methods have remarkable similarities too, with guilt used as a tool, the language abused in service of political ends and the use of cod-psychologists to target dissenters. And even more sinister are the common history of fascism, environmentalism, population concerns and eugenics.

Goldberg is keen to point out that the liberal and progressive left of today do not share the violent tendencies of their fascist forebears: theirs is a gentler totalitarianism (again in the original sense of the word). The same case can be made for the greens. At least for now; it is hard to avoid observing that their rhetoric is becoming steadily more violent and the calls for unmistakably fascist policy measures are ever more common.

Watch with care.

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Reader Comments (216)

Environmentalism, fascism and communism all share their historic roots in romanticism, with its adulation for an unspoilt past and its longing for a noble strongman.

Dec 27, 2015 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

"it's hard to find any area of public policy on which the two have much in common. " - Missing a "don't"?

[Ta = fixed]

Dec 27, 2015 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterTim Daw

Google Deep Green Resistance.....

A real bunch of charmers that would feel at home in 1930s Munich. Their Twitter feed is extraordinary.... There have been suggestions that they are spook funded but nothing concrete (perish the thought) has emerged yet.

Global in reach too....

Dec 27, 2015 at 12:01 PM | Registered Commentertomo

The Green Religion as a form of Fascism started its UK development 30 years ago in the Midlands. It sprang from a Coventry organisation set up in 1946 by ex Blackshirts. Sons and daughters of the founders infiltrated local Lib Dems. The replacement for Oswald Mosely was removed from the Parliamentary List in 1999. The same happened in Austria; its Freedom Party which 30 years ago was their equivalent of the Liberals, is now openly Fascist, originally under Jorg Haider.

Dec 27, 2015 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Lessons from anti progress ideology (deep ecology aka ecofascism)

A study of the membership rolls of several mainstream Weimar era Naturschutz (nature pro­tec­tion) organizations revealed that by 1939, fully 60 per­cent of these conservationists had joined the NSDAP (compared to about 10 per­cent of adult men and 25 per­cent of teachers and lawyers).

"We recognize that separating humanity from nature, from the whole of life, leads to humankind’s own destruction and to the death of nations. Only through a re-integration of humanity into the whole of nature can our people be made stronger. That is the fundamental point of the biological tasks of our age. Humankind alone is no longer the focus of thought, but rather life as a whole . . . This striving toward connectedness with the totality of life, with nature itself, a nature into which we are born, this is the deepest meaning and the true essence of National Socialist thought."

Ernst Lehmann, Biologischer Wille. Wege und Ziele biologischer Arbeit im neuen Reich, München, 1934

Dec 27, 2015 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

[Snip - the thread is specifically not about antisemitism]

Dec 27, 2015 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

No dictator has ever come to power ,without claiming what they are doing is for 'the good of the people ' the fact it is seldom good and not for 'the people' is the side point, the original claim has been that they are doing it for 'others' becasue they cannot or 'will not ' do it for themselves.

Indeed when you hear the words 'for the good of the people ' that is always a good time to start to worry.

The Greens share the very same outlook, with the added factor that their massive egos mean they claim they are doing it for 'the good of the planet ' In reality at the heart of this is their knowledge that when the people actually get a choice when will reject the 'ideals and ideas ' of the greens nine times out of time , so they only way they have of getting these ideas imposed 'for the good of the people ' is to not give people the choice in the first place through one means or another.

THE CAGW bandwagon is one of those means, so even if it makes no sense and is poor science,or in others words what makes up a lot of climate 'science', as long as its 'useful' for the ideology it will be supported while other wise rejected out of hand.
You can see this with nuclear power , if CO2 was the major concern it would be supported , but becasue 'nuclear is bad' is part of the green ideology it is rejected .

Dec 27, 2015 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

The Green movement grew from Nazi fascism. There's a detailed account of it here.

Fascist Ecology: The "Green Wing" of the Nazi Party and its Historical Antecedents - Peter Staudenmaier

Dec 27, 2015 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Western values are under a greater and more potent attack than at any time in history. The potency of the current attack is that it is insidious by nature with many of the people who enjoy the freedoms that democracy and the western way of life give them being either oblivious to the threat or welcoming the enemy with open arms. I speak of course not only of the totalitarianism of the the green movement but also of the political movement that hides behind the name of the religion that cannot be named.

PS apologies for the flooding problems that I have caused in some parts of our beautiful country. I am afraid this is one of the problems of living on waterworld where the politicians are more interested in spending money on a non-existent problem for future generations rather than building flood defences for the people who live here now. We need better politicians.

Dec 27, 2015 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterH2O: the miracle molecule

If there was a warming crisis, the logical solution would be a massive CO2 tax - with some sort of exemption or reduced rates for home fuels and/or low-income households. I'm far from the first to point this out.

For example: if meat diets require more emissions than vegetarian diets, then a CO2 tax (levied on the fuels burned) will translate that difference into a relatively higher price for the former. There is no need for study after study purporting to 'estimate' the 'real' emissions from meat consumption. Just tax CO2, strongly, and the CO2-intensive product will be at a disadvantage. This applies to meat vs lettuce, but also to SUVs vs sedans, cars vs mass-transit, diesel trains vs electric trains, local vs imported products, coal vs gas vs nuclear vs wind electricity, propane driers vs waiting for the corn to dry, and so on.

Just tax the fuel and you're done.

The fact that such an obvious solution has not yet been implemented*, after 21 COPs decades of 'awareness' about the climate issue, speaks bemols. Why does the global warming movement refuse to simply tax CO2 and let the market do the rest? Why do they want to micro-manage everything?

On the one hand, corruption is a strong incentive for complex regulation over simple taxation. A CO2 tax leaves very little room for fake ethanol credits, fraudulent zero-emission vehicle credits, dubious claims of 'emission reductions' based on tree-planting or landfill-improvement or similarly unverifiable stuff, etc. Likewise, a simple CO2 tax would make UNEP, UNFCCC, and the countless parasite consultancies/agencies stoking climate alarm redundant. It's likely that even the IPCC would face cuts: the 'science' portion is only one of the three working groups, with the other two working on adaptation and mitigation - much of their ink is spent wondering how emissions can be reduced without bringing the economy to a halt.

On the other hand, the myriad regulations related to the global warming issue are a far stronger enemy, politically speaking, than a single tax. If a discovery tomorrow reveals that climate sensitivity is only 1ºC and there is no crisis to speak of, you can quickly ratchet down the tax. The same goes if it turns out that carbon models are wrong and the fraction of CO2 that stays in the atmosphere continues its two-decade decline (which nobody predicted). A carbon tax offers an easily identifiable enemy to rally against, but try and rally against refrigerator efficiency standards.

(Of course, if the discoveries in fact pointed towards alarm you could also ratchet the tax UP - another reason why anyone actually concerned about a 'warming crisis' should support such a tax).

But there has to be something more. First, some of these micro-managing regulations do ellicit strong popular opposition, precisely because they focus on small, mundane aspects of life. And there is corruption all over the world, but despots usually don't want to dictate the meat content of the average diet. That seems to be a pretty recent thing, and one that is largely confined to the West-focused environmental movement.

That 'something more' is a desire to tell others what to do. Let me offer an example.

It's a well-known fact that here in Europe we tax the hell out of transportation fuels. Currently about 60% of the retail cost of gasoline and diesel is tax. This expense is far bigger than anything a CO2 tax could bring. And yet, while this has certainly spurred people to move in tighter cities (at least compared to the US) and buy smaller cars, it hasn't led to the demise of the internal combustion engine. We still drive a lot.

Furthermore, and most critically for global warming activists, the way emissions have been reduced is NOT through the pet projects enviros prefer (cycling, electric cars). So if you're an anti-car ideologue, or an entrepreneur trying to sell electric vehicles, the idea of a CO2 tax replacing all other warming-related regulations should give you the chills.

I haven't read this book, and my (as of now uninformed) first impression would be that the author is jumping the shark with his fascist-enviro comparison. But yes, there is an authoritarian streak in the enviro movement - one that, for many people, overrules any actual concern for the environment.

*A handful of countries have tried CO2 taxes, but these invariably applied only to a share of emissions (such as manufacturing and electricity generation in Australia) rather than to all emissions. Furthermore, these taxes were intended not as a solution to the emissions issue, but as an addition to other regulations - for bureaucrats, more is more.

Dec 27, 2015 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlberto Zaragoza Comendador

Godwin's Law says the first person to lose an argument online is the one who invokes a Hitler comparison. It is difficult to talk about a book about fascists in a blog post without talking about Hitler, so it is actually aTTP on whom the law should be invoked.

More seriously, such parallels are important because as much as we would like to imagine away German Nazism and Italian fascism as products of a different age and mindset, the differences (between them and present-day totalitarian ideologies) have more to do with the variables thrown into the mixture than the basic underlying strains of thought. In historical context totalitarians then had the possibility of militarizing and subsequently attempting destructive mechanised war open to them so they went for it. The people at the other end (i.e, us) were handed the results of such thinking so the totalitarians today would not go to war because the knowledge and distaste for its destructiveness is still acute. The option has been used up for a few generations.

Dec 27, 2015 at 1:34 PM | Registered Commentershub

Teddy Goldsmith, was a champion of conservation and organic farming, the elder brother of the billionaire Sir James Goldsmith, and founder of The Ecologist magazine and the Ecology Party, which later became the Green Party.

Even Monbiot implied Goldsmith was a Nazi.

"Black Shirts in Green Trousers

The far right is moving in, and greens and globalisation campaigners must do more to shut it out.

The BNP is not the only force on the far right which now describes itself as “the true green party”. Similar claims have been made by members of Le Pen’s Front National, by the Vlaams Blok in Belgium and, in Britain, by a tiny offshoot of the National Front which calls itself Third Way. This is the group which most clearly articulates the way in which the politics of the hard right are shifting.

The previous editorial team split with its founder Teddy Goldsmith after he addressed a meeting of the hard right Groupement de Recherche et d’Etudes pour la Civilisation Europeene. Goldsmith, whose politics are a curious mixture of radical and reactionary, has advocated the enforced separation of Tutsis and Hutus in Rwanda and Protestants and Catholics in Ulster, on the grounds that they constitute “distinct ethnic groups” and are thus culturally incapable of co-habitation.

1972 Goldsmith devoted an entire issue to a "Blueprint for
Survival", a radical manifesto for change that became an
influential and successful book. It proposed, among other
reforms, the formation of a movement for survival. The following
year this led to the creation of the People Party, later renamed
the Ecology Party and finally the Green Party.

most of the 1970s A Blueprint for Survival, which
eventually sold 750,000 copies, kept The Ecologist solvent,
but sales of the magazine were low. In 1974 Goldsmith stood for
parliament on behalf of the People Party in his father's old
Suffolk constituency. He treasured a picture of himself, smiling
and bearded, leading a group of hippy supporters and a camel
(supplied by his friend John Aspinall) which is carrying a large
sandwich-board reading: "No Deserts in Suffolk. Vote

Dec 27, 2015 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

In the climate change debate (and probably all of the eco fascist/fascist/communist debates also), it is worth asking what makes some people reject these ideologies while others accept them? It is not intelligence or education so what is it?
Where the Bish highlights " Where fascists tried to generate an almost permanent sense of crisis in order to unite their country" is he not also describing the UN?

Dec 27, 2015 at 1:41 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Outstanding book. Detailed but smoothly written.

Dec 27, 2015 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered Commenterbernie1815


It is not intelligence or education so what is it?
I'm afraid I have to take issue with your deduction, Dung. I think it is all to do with intelligence and education - and the latter is what is replacing the former.

Example: The other night, with friends (some of whom being ex-teachers), we were discussing the weather and whether it was down to climate change. I started to offer my two-pennorth about the pause, COP21, the IPCC and so on. No one in the room was aware of any of this and one turned to me is high dudgeon, demanding: "How do you now all this?"

"I read a lot. I inform myself. I immerse myself in the debate." Said I - only to be given some very strange looks. Though, I have to say, I got the feeling that a few points hit home, especially the one where I explained that none of the children they had seen complete school had ever seen AGW.

Dec 27, 2015 at 1:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

tbh to say it's one political philosophy or another is pretty much irrelevant in my opinion;

Extremism in _any_ form is dangerous: religious, political, environmental -- and any extremist that believes being denied his/her/its goals will grasp at ever heavier (or more extreme) means to achieve them ...

Dec 27, 2015 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeroen B.

Sorry....."How do you know all this?"

Dec 27, 2015 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Comments about Godwin's Law and anti-semitism have been removed, along with responses.

Dec 27, 2015 at 2:09 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Harry Passfield,

According to Julia "there'll be no carbon tax under a government I lead" Gillard, it's high dungeon:

Dec 27, 2015 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterDocBud

Nazi philosophy was a conscious revival of pre Christian paganism which survived better in the depths of the German hinterland than anywhere else in Europe. They didn't just resist the Romans, they resisted Christianity too.

"One of the most striking features of private celebration in the Nazi period was the redefinition of Christmas as a neo-pagan, Nordic celebration. Rather on focus on the holiday’s religious origins, the Nazi version celebrated the supposed heritage of the Aryan race, the label Nazis gave to “racially acceptable” members of the German racial state.

According to Nazi intellectuals, cherished holiday traditions drew on winter solstice rituals practiced by “Germanic” tribes before the arrival of Christianity. Lighting candles on the Christmas tree, for example, recalled pagan desires for the “return of light” after the shortest day of the year."

Dec 27, 2015 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

esmiff, by your 'logic' paganism is Nazism? That is ridiculous. The essential element is totalitarianism not a pagan 'love of nature'. All political cultures attempt to incorporate elements of entrenched human culture into their body.

Christmas has much that has little to do with Christianity, everybody knows this. Attempting to portray the Germans as being extra susceptible to evil (because they gave up less of their pre-Christian paganism) is exactly what the book such as this is arguing against. All cultures and countries are equally susceptible.

Dec 27, 2015 at 2:32 PM | Registered Commentershub

"Environmentalism, fascism and communism all share their historic roots in romanticism, with its adulation for an unspoilt past and its longing for a noble strongman."

Says Richard Tol above, and could not be further from the truth.

Communism of the Russian (or even the much diluted Chinese) kind is implemented by a main policy of 5 year plans.
Each 5 year plan had targets of massive further industrial expansion.

The environment was to be transformed in the service of mankind.

Communism (or Marxism) had parallels with the Catholic Church in that both believed in in the essential goodness of mankind and that it is possible to make progressive advances in the condition of humanity.

The Catholic Philosopher Pierre de Chardan was admired by many Marxist philosophers.

Environmental Fascists ( like large sections of the Greens) think that mankind is the main problem.

The planet is grossly overpopulated and industrialisation is a curse they say.

Paul Erlich is a good example of their advocates

Now whichever tendency you think is best is up to you, but don't get them confused.

Dec 27, 2015 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterBRYAN

The extreme right, and the extreme left, have always adopted a zero tolerance attitude towards anyone offering an alternative solution, to any problem, perceived or genuine.

The Green Blob manage to appeal to the extremes, without ever meeting, politically in the middle. Those who do meet in the political middle, can look both left and right, and see what they want to see, and provided they don't look to carefully, they don't see what they don't want to.

Dec 27, 2015 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Bryan, how exactly do your points counter Tol? Communism was/is a form of romanticism and utopianism. Sure it was not environmental in its focus but in its proposed and actual stages of growth communism does not intend to keep man as a worker in the industrial state permanently.

Dec 27, 2015 at 2:48 PM | Registered Commentershub


Nazi philosophy was a revival of paganism which was closer to the surface in Germany than anywhere else. You can clearly see it in Shakespeare (e.g. A Midsummer's Night's Dream) and the witch trials right up to the 17th century in Britain. To me, that is the essential element of Nazism.

Totalitarianism comes from an absolute belief that one is right and that your view must be imposed on others to save the world (planet, human race). You can clearly see it in the writing of Adolf Hitler, Ehrlich, James Hansen, George Monbiot, Jared Diamond etc. Also Lenin, Mao etc.

Dec 27, 2015 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Book ordered.

What I tried to say above, as an Amazon(.com) reviewer says, "...the fascist drive is, to a degree, universal in modern politics."

Dec 27, 2015 at 2:53 PM | Registered Commentershub

I agree with Richard Tol about

'Environmentalism, fascism and communism all share their historic roots in romanticism, with its adulation for an unspoilt past'

Dec 27, 2015 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

esmiff, Nazism the specific strain of political ideology was new. Germany was pagan before its time and the revivalist, race purity romanticism and eugenicism went back attempting to rescue pure elements from society from their 'corrupt' present. In other words the revivalism and re-interpretation is what Nazis did in carving out a distinct identity and vision. Pagan ideas and pagan'ism' are themselves is not a proto form of Nazism.

Dec 27, 2015 at 3:00 PM | Registered Commentershub


Fair enough. It doesn't really matter.

Andrew Montford

The Italian fascists did eventually pass anti-Semitic laws.

"The Manifesto of Race, published in July 1938, declared the Italians to be descendants of the Aryan race. It targeted races that were seen as inferior (i.e. not of Aryan descent). In particular, Jews were banned from many professions and could have their property confiscated. "

Dec 27, 2015 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

The anti - smoking lobby in Ireland is very strong.
Just last week Irish state news was seen training 11year olds to inform on their car smoking mothers.
Nice little future stasi agents.
Back in the day (start of the euro nightmare) I informed people that the banning of smoking in public houses would mean the death of Ireland as we knew it.
I was met with complete bewilderment from people in general as I do not smoke.
I informed them that it was called a public house for a reason.
You must learn to accept people, warts and all.
If not you are free to leave the premises.

PS - The Richard Tol version of orange finance capitalism is little better.
Its roots reside in the seizure of the commons by your regular liberal robber baron.
A wolf in sheep's clothing.
A world in which Irish water was scarce and diesel for monster cars plentiful.
That particular British / Dutch form of finance liberalism drives people into fascist arms by the million.

Dec 27, 2015 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Again we should be wary of finance liberals wishing to destroy social cohesion so as to steal the commons.

They typically attack European identity which is......sorry was a hybrid Christian pagan philosophy.
It just was.

In my mind at least European society was a fusion of pagan love for each tree rock and brook , Greek rationalism and Christian forgiveness.

These "liberals" (in reality they are not) typically attack any version of history which espouses a deep love for the land and spirit.
In their projections of reality they attack Daniel Corkery and others for being reality Corkerys romantic Ireland with a fair measure of warts included is a threat to their commons seizure plans.
A Munster Twilight indeed.

Dec 27, 2015 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

BBC censorship policy allows party political broadcasts on behalf of the left and right, but not on behalf of CO2. Green vegetables would not be the same without trace gases.

Dec 27, 2015 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

esmiff and Shub

Marxism sees the evolution of progress as being ......

tribal ignorance then feudalism then capitalism then socialism then ultimately communism

Each stage being marked by in increase in consciousness of the collective.
Communist stage is marked by the 'withering away of the state'

So the environment is not left 'as nature intended', but transformed by conscious intervention by society for the general good of people.

Further link to my post above

A different phenomenon has been the reception of Teilhardism by European Marxists, especially in the Soviet Union. There, Teilhard’s teleological interpretation of evolution has been seen as convergent with dominant concerns of Marxist ideology. The future evolution of the noosphere is to be effected on the basis of the socialization of mankind into ever larger collectivities. Although economic and technological development are indispensable to this movement, both Teilhard and the Marxists believe that “spiritual” (=ideological) factors play a decisive role, particularly a belief in the supreme value of evolution (progress).

Dec 27, 2015 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterBRYAN


"So the environment is not left 'as nature intended', but transformed by conscious intervention by society for the general good of people."

That is the absolute opposite of Hitlerism/Nazism.

The reason I focused on Germany is because that is the only country where totalitarianism was based on radical environmentalism which is the regular subject matter of this blog.

Dec 27, 2015 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

The planet is grossly overpopulated but not for the reasons imagined.

With the introduction of capitalism to agrarian economies there was a tremendous need for money to buy the essentials of life.
Wage slaves have no choice in the matter.
They must continue to reproduce to pay the rent as they hold no equity or land.

What is little understood about the every sperm is sacred mantra is that it is a Catholic manifestation of capitalism.
I agree with some of the enlightened feminists who state the origin of the witch hunts during the proto -capitalist years was most likely a attack on women's reproductive and physical independence.

What always struck me when young was the very different and much less Victorian Christianity of some of the most isolated Irish settlements such as Dingle etc.
It also of course had deep Pagan roots also.

For better or worse the Irish national anthem was taken off television 20 years ago now.
It had very deep pagan / nature worship symbiotic meaning
The sight of the Sun setting over the Blaskets every night was just too dangerous for the euro liberal fascists .
It stirred far too many deep emotions and was obviously not suitable if you want to create a euro dystopia.

Dec 27, 2015 at 3:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

esmiff, and Shub,
At the risk of going off topic, my studies have indicated that the Nazis actually were anti-Semitic.

This stunning insight leads to a clear explanation for why they didn't like worship of a Jewish God incarnate in a Jewish form.
It's obvious that they did promote an alternative means of celebrating the major festivals. Any alternative to Christianity or the other religions of the (Jewish) book was going to be Pagan. Although they did send researchers to Tibet and India.

There's no need to look at Paganism as a source of Nazi ideology. It was always going to be welcomed by them.

Dec 27, 2015 at 3:57 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

The simplest answer to all this is President Trump instead of Hillary or debate nerd Cruz. He outright calls AGW a hoax, and he's right. So where the blazes are you folk promoting Trump on Twitter, going after the audiences of various greenie members there? Don't worry, the #GamerGate kids and blue collar Americans will handle it for you, without any of your help. You are mostly observers of life, early retirees, whatever, low testosterone blues.

Dec 27, 2015 at 3:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterNikFromNYC

The error pointed out by Tim Daw is still not fixed. [redone. TM]

It was inevitable that this discussion would go off the rails, but not that it should be Richard Tol in the very first comment that derailed it.

Romanticism, environmentalism, communism and fascism between them encompass absolutely every political movement for change of the past three centuries. Tol's point comes down to “The Right is always right. Radicalism is always wrong.”

Has anyone else noticed that Islamic State and “Principia Mathematica” have in common the fact that both argue their case from first principles? And that's why Bertrand Russell stood as a Labour candidate. Come on Bishops Hillbillies. You can do better than this. Can't you?

Dec 27, 2015 at 4:11 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

So where the blazes are you folk promoting Trump on Twitter, going after the audiences of various greenie members there?

Speaking for myself,

1) I don't tweet.

2) Even if I did, I - an ardent opponent of fascism - wouldn't tweet in favor of Donald Trump. I think the 20th century would teach everyone the dangers of embracing a strongman who, through reactionary policies, promises to restore his country's historical greatness by neutering the enemy within.

Dec 27, 2015 at 4:15 PM | Unregistered Commentertarran

'"Environmentalism, fascism and communism all share their historic roots in romanticism, with its adulation for an unspoilt past and its longing for a noble strongman." says Richard Tol., and could not be further from the truth.'

No, Bryan, Tol is right. Everything that led to and came out of the French Revolution, from Rousseau's 'noble savage' etc fed into and was in turn fuelled by 'romanticism' into which flowed later the ideology (not the biology) that fed off Evolutionary philosophy: that mankind is ultimately perfectable etc.

Chardin was a theological 'heretic' (sorry, have to use this word here) who tried to synthesise Romanticism with his view of Christianity. "The Phenomenon of Man", which I read many moons ago, supposedly does this; however to achieve it he simply discards most if not all Christian doctrine. I am not a Catholic, but the Pope decided Chardin's ideas were heretical - in my view, correctly.

Dec 27, 2015 at 4:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip Foster

Philip Foster

Good connection to Rousseau. One could also mention Wordsworth, Coleridge, Ramsey in Britain. Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson in America etc. However, it was in Germany that Romanticism had the deepest impact due to the mainstream popularity of Volkish culture.


There is enough 'disparity' in the original article to make derailment inevitable. I saw my opportunity and ran with it. LOL !

If anyone wants to see modern totalitarianism in embryo, read this.

"OPPONENTS of controversial plans to introduce a “state guardian” for every child in Scotland will step up their campaign with a major conference next week.

Dec 27, 2015 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

By their fruits you should know them.

So those Nazis built the the Autobahn system and yet were great nature worshippers.??????..

I am sadly familiar with the Irish road authorities.
The spiritual objective of the euro years was to wipe all memory from the land.
It succeeded .

Let's try to divorce Nazi / Euro dogma from their reality shall we.
The soldier of Orange flavour of liberalism is also a fake.
It requires non liberal extraction of the east Indies to sustain its illusions.

Dec 27, 2015 at 5:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Philip Foster

Tol writes about " adulation for an unspoilt past" but Marxists see the past as being characterised by ignorance, nasty short lives and superstition.

I suppose the Christian 'Garden of Eden'and the 'fall from grace' is what Tol is writing about.

But that's not the Marxist narrative.
The anthem 'The Internationale' puts it rather well......

Arise, ye workers from your slumber,
Arise, ye prisoners of want.
For reason in revolt now thunders,
and at last ends the age of cant!
Away with all your superstitions,
Servile masses, arise, arise!
We'll change henceforth the old conditions,
And spurn the dust to win the prize!

I know that this is pushing it a bit with Sunday the Bishop and all!

Dec 27, 2015 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterBRYAN

Dork of Cork

The Nazis built the the Autobahn system partly to allow German workers to visit the countryside. Many of the early routes were to steep for lorries. It was also an integral part of the creation of the vast war machine required to facilitate Lebensraum.

"In December 1942, Himmler released a decree "On the Treatment of the Land in the Eastern Territories," referring to the newly annexed portions of Poland. It read in part:

The peasant of our racial stock has always carefully endeavored to increase the natural powers of the soil, plants, and animals, and to preserve the balance of the whole of nature. For him, respect for divine creation is the measure of all culture. If, therefore, the new Lebensräume (living spaces) are to become a homeland for our settlers, the planned arrangement of the landscape to keep it close to nature is a decisive prerequisite. It is one of the bases for fortifying the German Volk.

Quoted in Heinz Haushofer, Ideengeschichte der Agrarwirtschaft und Agrarpolitik im deutschen Sprachgebiet, Band II, München, 1958, p. 266.

Dec 27, 2015 at 5:23 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Neither the book nor the comments do much to welcome in the New Year.

AGW will start to fade in 2016 due to the acceptance of LENR working (only two months to go before the results of the one year trial of the 1MW plant surfaces) but that is not really the problem.

If liberalism etc. leads to fascism what is the answer to the growing income inequality and the future increase of unemployment due to AI and robotics? The GOP (Guardians Of Privilege) doesn’t have answers. What political party will be able to implement UBI (universal basic income), or is there another solution?

Dec 27, 2015 at 5:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdrian Ashfield

Tol makes a good point about Romanticism. Bertrand Russell in his History of Western Philosophy takes on this battle with a very sharp intellectual sword. Rousseau was perhaps the first environmentalist with his worship of the noble savage.

Dec 27, 2015 at 5:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Young

esmiff daddy Goldsmith made his vast pile of cash, which is why Zac and co have a private jet which they use to fly to their private Island , has a asset stripper . These would go into a company gut it for all it was worth then dump the shell on a front company ,leaving the workers with nothing , and often bills outstanding. In other words the legal version of an old Mafia trick.
I will consider Zac 'a man of the people ' the moment he leaves his multimillion pound property, his privileged and expensive education is already over, which he could never have afforded without daddy's cash. This should occur at the same time the IOC announces that Hell is holding the next winter Olympics

Dec 27, 2015 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

Philip Foster
You're over-simplifying Teilhard de Chardin.
The Holy Office certainly issued a 'reprimand' (after his death) and warned "all Ordinaries (bishops) as well as the superiors of Religious institutes, rectors of seminaries and presidents of universities" about the content of some of his writings and, more, about the way in which some of his followers were interpreting his work.
But none of his books was ever put on the Index Libroroum Prohibitorum and some of his works have been praised by both Benedict XVI and Francis.
So it's not that simple. What he really got his knuckles wrapped for was challenging the Church's doctrine on original sin. One of his best-known quotes, You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience., is a perfectly adequate explanation of humanity as the Church sees it. Probably where he went wrong was in being a bit of a mystic!

All that aside, I find this a bt heavy going for the Sunday after Christmas. I'm still recovering from the mince pies and the Thornton's chocolates. Jan 4 will be time enough for me!

Dec 27, 2015 at 6:00 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

There is a world of difference between communism as preached and as practised.

The "commune" in "communism" is supposed to be a small group living in harmony (with each other and with the environment) in the countryside. In this respect, Mao and Pol Pot tried harder than Lenin and Stalin.

Dec 27, 2015 at 6:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

I do not take Himmler decrees at face value.
This is dogma.
If zee Germans wanted it's people to see the countryside it would have given them credit for rail tickets and famous five push bikes.

Irish nationalist writers in particular Corkery wrote about the destructive character of the road / car in the newly capitalist free state experiment of the 1920s.

The objective of the capitalists is to create a racetrack economy of scarcity.
This is sadly made very visible in Ireland ( the bankers most extreme experiment)

In the Sunday independent today some environmental official began blaming soccer mom's for the increase in emissions rather then the monetary system.
It was a quite absurd little piece, I will try and link it if possible.

Dec 27, 2015 at 6:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

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