Home environmentalism A Worse Life is Waiting for You
Home environmentalism A Worse Life is Waiting for You

A Worse Life is Waiting for You

Prince Charles recently visited a Mumbai shantytown and praised its "sustainability" in which residents recycle their waste and build their own homes out of whatever materials come to hand. There is of course a word for this form of "sustainability", it's called grinding poverty.

Charles is of course not the first rich European to romanticize poverty as some sort of higher spiritual principle. But it's easier to apply that brand of orientalism to India, to assume that people with brown skin who live in terrible poverty are more spiritual, rather than poor. Had Prince Charles gone back in time, he could have seen that same form of "sustainability" in London. But people do not recycle their wastes and use found objects as building materials because they are environmentalists, but because they have no choice. When posturing hipsters in the United States dig through trash cans for food, they're Freegans. But when people who have to dig through garbage cans for food do it, we call them impoverished.

But Charles' attitude is typical of the dementia of the left, which confuses poverty with moral superiority. But the idealization of poverty is the liberalism of fools. The left started out by claiming that materialism provided a saner perspective on human existence, yet the left is abandoning even that in the pursuit of some New Age notion about moral superiority emerging from misery and deprivation. The left once denounced such thinking as cruel and superstitious. Now it is embracing it wholesale, and urging Westerners to use the Third World as a model for how to live.

The left has gone past the idea that their campaign is to improve the lives of the poor, by reorganizing the mechanisms of wealth distribution, to a call to keep the poor in their place, and for everyone else who isn't an entitled environmental activist with a busy schedule of promoting cardboard housing, to join them in that state. Going from materialism to anti-materialism, the left is reaching a pitch of inhuman insanity that even the most radical socialists would not have recognized.    

In 1984, Orwell depicted the rise of the ultimate totalitarian state as being organized by socialists determined to end class warfare by permanently removing all social mobility. The society of Oceania is characterized by a ruthless hostility toward the remnants of the Middle Class or the Outer Party, who exist only to be cogs in the bureaucratic machinery of terror, constantly spied on and at risk of torture and death. The vast majority of the population are Proles, lower class workers who are denied education or any chance at advancement. They exist to serve as worker or soldiers. That is the vision that the repressive left has had for too long. A small elite ruling over a vast impoverished working class. Orwell saw the danger of that vision being translated into an actual system, creating another tyranny with a vast gap between the upper and lower classes.

Under the influence of that philosophy, the left has gone from talking about making lives better for workers, to actually openly championing making lives worse for them. Environmentalist agitation has become a repressive mechanism for promoting poverty, inflating the cost of products and destroying manufacturing. Push the cost of products high enough, kill enough jobs, and you destroy the middle class and push down the working class into outright squalid poverty in "sustainable slums". It almost seems as if environmentalism is the missing link in Oceania. A name that could have been taken from another environmental ad warning us that a polar bear dies every time we buy a new pair of sneakers.

Even the Communists promised to improve basic living conditions through more efficient production, though they failed miserably because they decoupled individual initiative from economics. But they at least paid lip service to the idea that they were trying to improve the standard of living through industry. In the sway of environmentalist mania, the left has gone them one better, by fighting to make manufacturing less efficient and therefore products much more expensive. Over the long run this can't help but lead to poverty and impoverished living conditions. If everything from food staples to vehicles to children's toys is more expensive to make and harder to come by, our standard of living will drop even further.

Environmentalists already helped outsource countless jobs to China, where environmental standards are far worse. Witness the air quality in Beijing. And China has no intention of signing on to any initiatives that will handicap its industry in any way. If environmentalists genuinely cared about the environment, they would be working to reverse the flow of manufacturing jobs back to the United States by compromising on realistic standards and regulations that would protect against pollution that endangers humans and permanently destroys natural environments, without enabling businesses to still be competitive. Instead environmentalists have doubled down on a fraudulent global warming threat, and are treating "carbon" as a pollutant. It's hard to envision this as anything more than a bullet in the head for the last remains of what was once a great manufacturing sector.

In response to this environmentalists prattle on about "Green Jobs". Cap and Trade is touted as promoting jobs, which it will, mainly on Wall Street, as brokers laugh themselves silly and stuff their pockets with cash looted from productive businesses and ordinary hardworking Americans, and the brothers of congressmen who can pull off a 100 million dollar earmark to make windmills. This brand of sustainability is the radical extreme away from the "self-organization" touted by Prince Charles, but it's what environmentalism looks like under the hood, whether it's in the US or the EU. It's not self-organization, it's government regulation in cooperation with radical groups in order to destroy jobs and funnel money to those who are in a position to take advantage of the situation.

Green Jobs are a myth, but the countless jobs lost through the hard work of environmental activism are unfortunately not. While environmental activists show off the foam houses that they build, the underlying message is that we need to be ready to live that way too. And when they champion Do It Yourself over Wal-Mart. But what they utterly ignore is that the lifestyle of sustainability that they're pushing is a privilege, an entitlement that their class allows them to indulge in. That's the difference between hipsters who look through the garbage for food, in order to champion sustainability, and people who look through the garbage for food, because it's better than starving to death.

Environmental activists posture as anti-materialists by using the props of poverty, without the substance. But poverty is not a trendy lifestyle. It's not a choice that Harvard graduates can make, before going to work at an environmental initiatives thinktank which is tasked with drawing up recommendations for the Federal Government through a grant in a stimulus program. Real poverty is a poverty of choices. Capitalism has helped fight poverty by creating choices and in the process has empowered the poor, far more than the trash eating hipsters and their thinktanks ever could or will. Environmentalism on the other hand, represents poverty and the end of choices. The left has used environmentalism to make war on capitalism and the middle class, and their ability to make choices that will empower them. Instead the left treats poverty as virtue and economic empowerment as an evil.

It's a twisted road from socialism to anti-materialism, from inveighing against capitalism for denying workers a chance to enjoy the products of their labor, to denying workers the chance to even labor, let alone enjoy those products. Prince Charles, like so many environmentalists, is enraptured with primitive standards of living, fancying them as being more moral than those of his own country. But this worship of poverty shows a pronounced distaste for his own country's working class, which has managed to cross the line into the middle class. He would much rather see his countrymen spending their free time trying to turn salvaged materials into roofing, than sitting at the local pub. 

This contempt for the middle-class is widespread among the left, which would rather see them as "proles" and kept in their place. The rise of the middle-class tends to betoken more democracy and undermines the ability of a political elite to maintain its monopoly on power. Reversing democracy requires destroying the middle-class. But how do you destroy a political class that represents the majority? It helps to have a crisis at your disposal. A global crisis. With the welfare of the earth itself at stake. Moral authority doesn't come any bigger than that. But by transitioning from fighting for the rights of people, to fighting for the rights of polar bears, the left has become posthuman and inhuman, concerned not with people's rights, but with an imaginary mandate to determine the fate of the entire planet.

And what the planet needs in their view, is less people. Charles' father, Prince Philip, famously declared that he would like to be reincarnated "as a deadly virus, to contribute something to solving overpopulation". In lieu of a deadly virus, you can do something about overpopulation by socializing medicine and cultivating slum conditions. The slums of Mumbai that Charles suggests as a model for the West have a cholera problem. Force enough Londoners into a situation where they similarly have to recycle wastes in their own home, and there will be a cholera problem in London too. Force American families to live by digging through the trash for things to sell, the way Egyptian Copts do, and there will be no shortage of "deadly viruses" back in circulation. And that is arguably the point.

The left is no longer pretending that it wants to make life better for people. Now it's actively trying to make life worse for them. The environmentalist perspective places people as biological organisms, endowed with no more rights than capuchin monkeys or three-toed slots or the brown rat. Humans are just another organism who are consuming too much. Cut down on the consumption, reduce humanity back to a standard of living in which they are more vulnerable to disease and premature death, and you have made the world a better place. Prince Philip or Prince Charles style.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. 

Thank you for reading.


  1. Oh, my! Great lead paragraph!! Also, "posthuman" is a great word....though it's sad, isn't it?

  2. posthuman is where their morality ends up when it's detached from human values

  3. Juanita18/10/10

    Nice, very nice. Grinding poverty indeed. Your article has me grinding my teeth. But I must admit they have been grinding pretty hard the last few years while the Left has been empowered here in U.S. All I have left are stumpies. Plan to do my share at the ballot box shortly. Thanks for your writings!

  4. Posthumanism is a very real agenda of some very freaky people.
    To create a new super race of people who transcend(so they think) humans through biological and genetic manipulation. Sick stuff

  5. mindRider18/10/10

    Overpopulation IS a problem to any solution of mainly the third, but in principal the entire world's problems as it just outgrows any initiative to alleviate poverty or change conditions for the better in general.
    God's mathematical command to go forth and multiply should have gotten a limitation appendix.

  6. Márcia Leal18/10/10

    Brilliant article as usual. Extreme poverty, even as an idea, is extremely hazardous to my sense of humor. There is extreme poverty in the country where i live. I've seen it, smell it, heard it -- and it's hateful. It's sordid. That anyone finds anything to praise about this poverty is highly offensive.

  7. Márcia Leal18/10/10

    ...Clearly the left is trying the shorter road to (our) destruction. Why such a hurry now, thou think? It can't be the UN's Millenium only, can it?

  8. Shakespearan writers always used Jews as caricatures for the sponging rich who didn't care for the poor and stole from them. Jews who are successful are seen as "money grubbing" thieves by people like this. The Russian oligarchs who are Jewish are hated by the mainly Orthodox Christian who think they're materialistic and crooked.

    So don't be surprised people.

  9. Some timely observations here, but it is best to be more careful in confronting the issues of standards of living and human survival at the same time.

    First, the basic concerns of human welfare remain primitive. Food, clothing and shelter are basic necessities for human existence. Since prehistory, we have broken loose from our animal quest for such things and have achieved the ability to synthesize behavior to these ends. Our basic needs are animal needs, but our way of achieving them is unique to the animal world.

    Of course it is ridiculous to praise the "sustainability" of primitive cultures who may have been existing the same way long before anyone could imagine the industrial age. And in the same absurdity we imagine that somehow affecting primitive lifestyles in industrial societies promotes the sustainability of our own rate of growth in advancing industrialized societies. We could just as easily observed how many of the things we do in industrialized societies are not that much different than what is done in primitive societies and one extends most naturally from the other.

    One of the basic problems confronting industrialized society is the problem of effluents that are the result of mass produced communities and mass production. Smog, human waste, chemical byproducts or industrial production, all these things have to be dealt with. And also the source of our animal need for fresh food is increasingly an issue. Even primitive societies based on agriculture -- that other revolutinary innovation in human societies -- have seen disasters because of limitations on "sustainability".

    We in the industrialized world should proceed with caution in imagining we have nothing to worry about in the years ahead. It is just as absurd to really believe that we are immune from disaster as it is to believe that we can ward off disaster by affecting primitive lifestyles.

  10. Posthumanism...sounds like newspeak for the phrase NHI (no human involved), a term some cops typically apply to crime victims they see has having no value to society (the homeless, prostitutes).

    I'd like to give Prince Charles a tour of the rail road tracks in my community where a homeless man was almost burned alive and have him explain why I was so haunted by the smell of the fire when I went up their with a homeless advocate.

    Let Charlie explain why I had nightmares of the Holocaust after that.

    You're right. At least the Communists pretended that everyone would have a fair share in life. This moral superiority and spiritual transcendance crap is a polite way of sustaining a caste system and stamping it with NHI behind closed doors.

    Great article. People should know where these left of left wing liberals are trying to lead us.

  11. What is a "think tank" anyway?

  12. Anonymous18/10/10

    Appropos of this article is the 1941 movie "Sullivan's Travels".

    Here, Sullivan , a successful Hollywood director of comedies, decides that he needs to make a serious movie with social impact- one that will put mark him as a great director.

    Sullivan has no idea what poverty is, as he comes from a wealthy background. To get some reality into his forthcoming film, he decides to experience it first hand - to the consternation of all, including his butler.

    Butler: The poor know all about poverty and only the morbid rich would find the topic glamorous.

    Sullivan: But I'm doing it for the poor. Don't you understand?

    Butler: I doubt if they would appreciate it, sir. They rather resent the invasion of their privacy...I believe quite properly, sir. Also, such excursions can be extremely dangerous, sir...You see, sir, rich people and theorists, who are usually rich people, think of poverty in the negative, as the lack of riches, as disease might be called the lack of health, but it isn't, sir. Poverty is not the lack of anything, but a positive plague, virulent in itself, contagious as cholera, with Filth, Criminality, Vice and Despair as only a few of its symptoms. It is to be stayed away from, even for purposes of study. It is to be shunned.

    Sullivan: Well, you seem to have made quite a study of it.

    Butler: Quite unwillingly, sir. Will that be all, sir?

  13. wanumba19/10/10

    Ugh! Prince Charles should have been allowed to have a real career instead of "place-holder." It's good you've objected to his lazy pronouncements.
    For the Left, death is always the answer. This is a profound religious struggle - for the Left, death is 'natural', so killing or dying at anytime makes no difference. But this is also narcissist - life is the only reality, so the person must experience everything and anything possible on this planet. The rage comes when the person perceives others may be blocking him or her from world experience perfection - using up resources they could have used, and life is to be extended as long as possible - for this is IT. Nothing more. Therefore there is NOTHING that is worth giving up this precious (narcissist) lifespan, and OTHERS can be eliminated to help preserve the narcissist's life.
    Compare with the concept that death is the ENEMY, to be fought at every opportunity. That there is life after death, a higher purpose. Then one is able and willing to give up the here and now for promise of better --- and more critically being able to stand in the face of evil and hold firm. "Death has lost its sting."

    SO the humanists decide there are too many people. They don't like the Third World kids, so they say, 'we need fewer.' The Judeo-Christian culture says children are "wealth" and "a blessing from God." THe answer then is obvious to the supposed teeming hordes of child humanity: build more schools.
    One man's 'pest' is another man's 'good customer'.

    ANd Prince CHuck may remember that not long ago, London was a sordid place of squalid, coal-fired smog, gin-soaked, overworked human misery. WHo would have guessed at that time that 150 years hence, with FAR MORE people, London would be pleasant, safe and clean?

    For a billion Indians there sure is a lot of open space in India. Take a drive thru the countryside. VAST swaths of beautiful open land, game parks, mountains, rivers and streams.
    One of the sly manipulations of the population control crowd is the gimmick of the telephoto lens in photographing street scenes. A hundred people are easily made to look like ten thousand. Huh!

  14. Lemon

    On the one hand they want to be a cut above the rest of humanity, yet at the same time they long to be savage beasts, free from human conscience and one with Gaia (Eco-Vampires?), since like hitler, they too believe in their hearts that "Conscience is a Jewish invention; it is a blemish like circumcision".

    I do not object to the notion of Human Enhancement, though the idea of how people such as prince charles and other leftists / Gaians / VHEMT* types currently in power would make use of Human Enhacment is too horrible to comtemplate.

    * Voluntary Human Extinction Movement - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VHEMT.org

  15. well now it becomes clear why queen lizz hugged michelle obama.when she saw barak hussiens ears she thought it was charlie with a new girlfriend

  16. Trencherbone20/10/10

    Life will soon get very much worse in Britanistan.
    The Continental Europeans are rapidly running out of patience with their unwanted guests. It's only a matter of time before things kick off. When that happens, the evicted Muslims will move out, not back to their impoverished ancestral homelands, but to more 'tolerant' (ie suicidal) EU countries, where they will have a perfectly legal right to settle and vote.

    So when the shi'ite hits the fan in Germany, France, Holland, Belgium and Denmark (it will probably happen in very quick succession in all countries due to a domino effect), Britain can expect to receive tens of millions of jihad-crazed 'EU citizens', with murderous resentments against all kuffars, emerging out of the Channel Tunnel demanding their rights to housing, welfare and votes.

    More at Instant Islamisation: The Tsunami of evicted Euro-Jihadists that could soon hit Britain's shores.


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