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This Land Is Whose Land?

- Abstract

In How to Think Seriously About the Planet, the British philosopher Roger Scruton makes the case for “environmental conservatism.” According to Scruton, true conservatives must be environmentalists, and environmentalists should be conservatives. He also argues that conservative methods can better achieve environmentalist goals than the statist strategies usually embraced by today’s green movements.

Scruton describes himself as a conservative, but if so, he is of a sort all but unknown in the United States. He says that the notorious 1972 Limits to Growth thesis issued by the Club of Rome, which warned of immediate societal collapse in the 1970s caused by unchecked economic growth, was “self-evidently true.” He endorses U.S. Club of Rome member Herman Daly’s concept of a “steady state economy”—that is, one without economic growth—as the proper means of staying within the planet’s limits. He denounces modern agriculture and the worldwide food trade, which together have transformed the age-old specter of famine due to local crop failure into a relic of the past. He is also against the supermarkets that make the world’s variety available to everyone. Instead, we should return to the old days when people depended on the products of the local yeomanry, who used the methods of organic agriculture. To make all this more feasible, people should give up eating non-free-range meat and stop keeping carnivorous pets, such as dogs and cats.

About the Author

Robert Zubrin is president of Pioneer Astronautics, a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy, and the author of Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil. His newest book, Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism has just been published by Encounter Books.