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Environmentalism's Dark History

A 79 minute YouTube publication from May 01, 2022 by Ben Bayer, Nikos Sotirakopoulos

YouTube, 2022

Duration 79 mins

Notes none

Primary language: English


The upcoming Earth Day will be a global event, celebrated by governments and opinion-makers around the world.

The almost universal celebration of environmentalism is a testament to the tremendous success of the Green movement, which within just a few decades has become perhaps the most widely-accepted social movement in history.

How and why did this happen? Join Nikos Sotirakopoulos and Ben Bayer to discuss the historical roots of environmentalism and the ominous significance of its triumph in the battle of ideas.

Among the topics covered:

  • Why it is interesting to study the history of environmentalism;
  • The roots of the conservation movement in nineteenth-century romanticism;
  • Why the typical perspective on nature changed from fear to admiration after the Industrial Revolution;
  • The rise of modern environmentalism in the 1960s;
  • How twentieth-century philosophy’s default helped environmentalism gain popular support and political influence;
  • How the misanthropic philosophy of “deep ecology” radicalized the environmental movement;
  • How ecoterrorist groups like Earth First put deep ecology into violent action and received support from mainstream environmentalist groups;
  • The impact of environmentalist doctrines of sustainable development and the precautionary principle;
  • Ayn Rand’s analysis of how the left’s hatred of human ability led it to drop science and technology and adopt a religious view of nature;
  • Whether people will ultimately choose environmentalist ideas or their own well-being;
  • A clue from Atlas Shrugged on how to interpret the positive esthetic response to wilderness after the Industrial Revolution;
  • The environmentalist versus the pro-human response to global warming;
  • How environmentalist tribalism results from the quasi-religious nature of the movement.

Mentioned in this podcast are Ayn Rand’s essays “The Left: Old and New” and “The Anti-Industrial Revolution.”

0:00:00 Introduction
0:01:21 Why study environmentalism's history
0:05:57 Roots in romanticism
0:10:09 From fear to admiration
0:19:22 Rise in the 1960s
0:24:29 Philosophical default
0:32:27 Radical "deep ecology"
0:40:45 Support for ecoterrorism
0:46:43 Two doctrines
0:50:41 Religious view of nature
0:57:00 Well-being vs. environmentalism
0:59:48 A clue from Atlas Shrugged
1:03:09 Responses to global warming
1:07:35 Quasi-religious tribalism

not applicable

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