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Environmentalism vs. Human Life

Onkar Ghate, Keith Lockitch

Presented at: New Ideal Live

Date: Apr 22, 2022

When environmentalism was a nascent fringe movement in the early 1970s, Ayn Rand evaluated it from the perspective of her philosophy of Objectivism. She reached a damning assessment: this movement, she argued, exhibits contempt for human life. Far from being concerned with science or progress, it is part of an Anti-Industrial Revolution. In the decades since then, her assessment has been amply borne out.

This Earth Day, Join Onkar Ghate and Keith Lockitch to analyze the philosophic meaning of environmentalism -- from its claims to scientific knowledge and its quasi-religious character, to the moral implications of its political-economic program. While untangling concerns many people have about climate issues, they will discuss the novel arguments and heterodox perspective on climate and energy in Alex Epstein’s upcoming book Fossil Future, a perspective grounded in his understanding of Rand’s philosophy.

Among the topics covered:

  • Ayn Rand’s emphasis on how human beings have improved their environment as a result of the Industrial Revolution;
  • Why, contrary to conventional views, we should celebrate the fossil fuel industry for producing the energy that powers modern life;
  • How fossil fuels enable us to deal with climate-related dangers;
  • The environmental movement as part of a long history of opposition to the Enlightenment, capitalism and industry;
  • The anti-individualist, religious perspective behind this opposition, including environmentalism;
  • The anti-life idea that we should minimize our “footprint” on nature;
  • The religious mentality promoted by environmentalism;
  • How the mass hysteria of environmentalism is an expression of our culture’s abandonment of reason;
  • How Alex Epstein’s book Fossil Future develops a more rational understanding of energy and the environment;
  • The response that would be warranted by real catastrophic climate change;
  • The irreplaceable value of life in an industrial civilization, which environmentalism ignores.

Mentioned in this podcast are Rand’s article “The Anti-Industrial Revolution,” Lockitch’s work on energy and climate, and Epstein’s book Fossil Future.

0:00:00 Introduction
0:00:52 The Industrial Revolution
0:06:59 Celebrating fossil fuels
0:18:16 Climate-related dangers
0:23:44 Historical attacks on industry
0:32:31 Anti-individualism, religion
0:40:06 Minimizing "footprints"
0:44:43 A religious mentality
0:47:22 Irrational mass hysteria
0:53:54 Alex Epstein's book Fossil Future
0:56:21 Catastrophic climate change
1:03:13 Life in industrial civilization


Parts: 1

Handout: none