The First Amendment
A debate rages in this country about the anti-religious values that have been introduced successfully into the public school systems over the past fifty years. This controversy is a sign of a larger confrontation between traditional American values, which have a common thread, and an evolving system of values which exclude traditional western civil and religious principles. The new world-view does not recognize human freedom as a natural, or divine, right and seems to be hostile to the assumptions of inherent natural rights specifically guaranteed in the Constitution.
It is no wonder that people are angry at the U.N., for instance, and fear infringements on the sovereignty of this country. The human rights in the U.N. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights are narrowly construed. Ownership of private property is not clearly considered a right. "Freedom" of speech and religion are subject to the laws of each nation. In other documents, the U.N. embodies different sorts of rights than the American tradition of equality of opportunity or equality before the law. The U.N. "rights" are the same style "rights" that yield redistributionists taxes, infringements on property rights, and intrusion in the family, for instance.
The columnist Alston Chase, the author of a new book In a Dark Wood, points out that the issue of prayer in school is of far less significance than a much-ignored First Amendment issue, the takeover of several important sectors of government by a new-age theology of the earth.
This new-age earth theology, sometimes called "Gaia," places the earth, its organisms, even its rocks divinely together in an organic whole, that leaves to humankind the status as just one animal which happens to have populated the earth far too vigorously.
The First Amendment implications are staggering. The amendment states:
"Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."
In his book In a Dark Wood, Chase weaves together philosophy, environmental policy and the battle over the "ancient" forests in the Northwest. He exposes the lack of science to back "biocentrism" and its alter ego, "ecosystem management."
Chase points out that the basis for biocentrism is not science but religion, and argues, as have other researchers, that this religion, not credible concern for public welfare, is the basis more and more for public policy related to the wildlife conservation.
Recently, Chase quoted a speech that Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt delivered in Boston on November 11, 1995 to a joint meeting of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment and the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science. The talk was entitled, "Our covenant: to protect the whole of creation," and dealt with "the religious values manifest in the 1973 Endangered Species Act." Babbitt said, "I always had a nagging instinct that the vast landscape was somehow sacred and holy."
The venom with which U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, US EPA and many state environmental agencies pursue real and imagined violators of environmental laws does smack of the unholy, religious fervor of intolerant church-states.
Holy Pristine Nature
The environmentalists in America, rooted in Thoreau's eloquent imaginings and the European romantics, search in the primitive for a new sense of the sacred, according to Wallace Kaufman's withering indictment of the environmental movement, No Turning Back. This classic explains how "primitive people everywhere have become the saints of the environmental movement." Primitives were re-created in an environmentalists' mythology of idealized "noble savages" in "harmony" with nature. The mythology includes the tenets that land is sacred, resources are not commodities, and primitives are the true ecologists.
Unlike the mythical first man and woman in Judaic-Christian mythology, who tended a garden, the environmentalists harken back to an imagined pre-colonial American Indian "savage." To perpetuate their myth of American "savages," the environmentalists neglect to note the extensive agriculture to feed approximately 45 million in structured societies before the "Great Dying" between 1500 and 1700 which wiped out mid-western population centers, or the massive extinctions of large mammals at the hands of crude hunters millennia earlier.
But every religion, it is said, must have its scripture and mythology to rationalize its world-view. Environmentalism idealizes the primitive, the irrationality of the far East, and has as its tenets the evil of civilization, which must be re-wilded, and disdain for science.
The American nation was born out of centuries of a great flowering of reason, commerce, artistic, moral and civil culture, and religion of western society. The world-view that determined the Constitution still sustains America. But the world-view of environmentalists is very different.
So the threat of environmentalism is deeper than a battle over whether this or that bill passes or fails in the U.S. Congress.
Environmentalism's Threat to the Constitution
A recent special edition of the Wildlands Projects' Wild Earth, "Plotting a North American Wilderness Recovery Strategy," offered "A Proposal for an Adirondack Forest primeval" with a typical "biocentric" proposal, to eliminate roads, and most automobile travel "gradually lessening the permanent human impact in the park," restoration of predators, a large buffer zone around the park, a corridor to neighboring scenic wild area in Vermont, and so on. But the venom reserved for the residents of the Adirondacks is too revealing:
"I would argue that the Adirondacks represent an instance where traditional, antiquated English law has no standing. Existing land ownership in the Adirondacks is built on a legacy of lies, hate and greed."
There follows a historically outlandish diatribe attacking the recent residents for the "blood-soaked" treatment of the "true" residents.
The editors of Wildlands include three of the nation's most extreme environmentalists, the noted David Foreman, John Davis and Reed Noss, who have gained the credibility of working in concert with major environmental groups and the Clinton Administration, and being funded by major foundations.
The message should be clear. The drumbeat of the environmentalists and their cohorts who want to suck dry and beat down the productive, lawful sectors of society that feed them and make it possible for them to live in security and peace is nothing but remorseless guilt-mongering.
They love another god. One of its faces is Gaia, another is socialism, another is the State. Their values would never have brought forth the Constitution, and the Constitution is what our nation and our flag stand for.
Therefore, we need not apologize for our principles, but instead do all in our power to preserve whole the Constitution and its guarantees of all our inalienable rights.