Some, looking at the same questions of mystery, looked at the way of things from a non-mysterious viewpoint, and they became philosophers some of them. In turn, some philosophers became scientists, relying not on revelation and authority but on observation, empiricism, informal logic, deduction, induction, evidence, testing for reproducibility and falsifiability: Reason, rationality. Religion they left behind.
And in leaving behind religion, what did this new and strange lot of thinkers leave the world's people? Not much, according to those who found themselves facing a world and life therein as a cold and empty experience of banality and cosmic worthlessness. Science did people no favours by making life materially more comfortable when with the other hand it took away the meaning of life itself.
Here are two words that mean binding: religion and fascis.
Without religion one is not bound to God. Without being bound to a group one is an individual, at best. When one is bound to neither God nor man one is an animal, perhaps. Or a scientist.
For those geniuses who reject revelation and reason there is Romance. For those who have no ties to Life and Man there is the unfettered phantasies of the mind to give meaning to existence, and the Romantic goes for it full tilt. Ecology is Romance gone crazy. Forget God, forget reason, and reify Mother Nature. Be one with the universe if you have no ties that bind. Those for whom there is no open electric paradise let them celebrate diversity and sustainability and the organic. Let them eat Romance.
Romance is a fascism for the atheist. The group is the tie, the volk, the land, the great leader who knows all, the genius who is in touch with his feelings, in harmony with the universe, our guru, the noble savage who lives in a state of nature, the Palestinians. Ecologists. Left dhimmi fascists who fight for the rights of the People and the Land. It's no mistake that Nazis are ecologists. It's mistaken ecologists who become Nazis. No hyperbole here.
Ecologists are not Nazis just because they're ecologists, and ecologists aren't bad just because they're ecologists. We have some deep concerns about the very concept of ecology, but not because we hate rabbits and chickens and like chopping down old trees for the sake of making a wasteland. Ecology makes some sense from a rational point of view. In many ways it's what we might term a good thing. But it's not the only thing, or even important over all. It's about dirt and water and air and material stuff that simply is. It's about animals and birds, none of whom are our friends, though some are pets. Ecology. It's about us.
There has to be some reasonableness in our approach to material conservation of nature and also to its aesthetic appeal. And reason means in this case attitude. We have to step back from ourselves momentarily to ask why we hold the ecological opinions we do, most being based on nothing more than attitude. Our attitude is that nature is a good thing. But what's objective about that? Nary a thing. We look at nature sentimentally, liking it from a distance so long as it doesn't mean cancer-- also a very natural thing. We sentimentalize nature because.... Who knows why? Why? Because everybody else does. Because it looks good depicted in oil paint on velvet. Who knows why? It's irrational and stupid. Loving nature is silly and reserved for pampered suburbanites in the West, and then again for fascists full-blown. Ecology is a German fascist invention, as we've shown here previously. But that doesn't mean that just because we enjoy hiking or camping in the wilderness or that we wish to preserve some old growth forests or what have you that we are Nazis. No, it doesn't mean that. But it means something to be an environmentalist, and ecologist, a nature lover. It doesn't mean necessarily what we might like to think it means. We, in our innocence, can have some very unhealthy ideas, not realizing that what we hold as attitudes are at base disturbing, violent, and hateful.
We begin this essay with a look at the man who coined the term "ecology." What we miss there is that he was an insane anti-Semite. We'll cover that later, this already being roughly eight typed pages.
Below also is the second installment of the Janet Biehl essay on ecofascism. We pay special attention to the slippery slope of irrationality and the manipulative side of ecologism to show that what we take as a pretty surface can lead to falling into a dark pit in the end.
We ended our look at ecofascism last post with Horst Mahler joining the NPD. Below we'll look closer at the party he's joined. We'll see that ecology is a fascist epistemology, though again we say that not all environmentalists are Nazis, though all Nazis are environmentalists.
Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel ( February 16, 1834 — August 8, 1919), also written von Haeckel, was a German biologist and philosopher who popularized Charles Darwin's work in Germany. Haeckel was a physician, an accomplished artist and illustrator, and later a professor of comparative anatomy. He was one of the first to consider psychology as a branch of physiology. He also proposed many now ubiquitous terms including " phylum" and " ecology." His chief interests lay in evolution and life development processes in general, including development of nonrandom form, which culminated in the beautifully illustrated Kunstformen der Natur (Art forms of nature).
Haeckel advanced the "recapitulation theory" which proposed a link between ontogeny (development of form) and phylogeny (evolutionary descent), summed up in the phrase "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny". He supported the theory with embryo drawings that have been shown to be inaccurate and the theory has been largely discredited.
Haeckel was also known for his "biogenic theory", in which he suggested that the development of races paralleled the development of individuals. He advocated the idea that "primitive" races were in their infancies and needed the "supervision" and "protection" of more "mature" societies. He extrapolated a new religion or philosophy called Monism from evolutionary science. In Monism, all economics, politics, and ethics are reduced to "applied biology." His writings and lectures on Monism provided scientific (or quasi-scientific) justifications for racism, nationalism and social darwinism. It has even been argued that monism thus became the de facto religion of Nazi Germany. Some scholars disagree, arguing that Nazi ideology was not comfortable with evolutionary theory, which argues for a common descent of all human races.
Ecology is warped for mystical-nationalist ends by a whole series of neofascist groups and parties. Indeed, so multifarious are the ecofascist parties that have arisen, and so much do their memberships overlap, that they form what antifascist researcher Volkmar Wölk calls an "ecofascist network." 8 Their programmatic literature often combines ecology and nationalism in ways that are designed to appeal to people who do not consider themselves fascists, while at the same time they ideologically support neo-Nazi street-fighting skinheads who commit acts of violence against foreigners.
The National Revolutionaries (NRs) manipulatively mix themes of left and right in their uses of nationalism and ecology, in an attempt to cross ideological lines. They draw on an old tenet of right-wing dissent in Germany -- the belief that a 'Third Way' between capitalism and socialism is necessary and that Germany is predestined to lead humankind toward it. 10 The NRs' 'Third Way' is based on nationalism, a socialism "of the specific national way" 11 -- in short, a 'national socialism.' A wing of the NRs today, called the Solidaristen, identifies itself with the Strasser brothers, two 1920s Nazi Party members who took the 'Socialism' in 'National Socialism' seriously and represented the 'left' anticapitalist wing of the Nazis. Today, the Solidaristen and other NRs regard Otto Strasser in particular as the 'Trotsky of National Socialism' because of his 1920s intraparty power struggle with Hitler; Hitler's ejection of this fascist in 1930 was, for them, a betrayal of National Socialism.
Today's leading NR ideologist, Henning Eichberg, calls for the assertion of "national identity" and a "liberation nationalism." Seeking to appeal to left and right, NR publications have supported national liberation movements from across the traditional political spectrum, including the Irish, Basques, Ukrainians, and Afghans, as well as Sandinistas. 12 They regarded divided Germany as an occupied country, "the result of the imperialist politics of the occupation forces," and they sought to "liberate" it -- including Austria. Now that Germany has been freed from this "occupation," the National Revolutionaries are free to concentrate on "reunifying" with Austria.
Eichberg regards Judeo-Christianity as the ultimate root of all present evils, since it is overly intellectual and alienates humanity both from itself and from the divine; it neglects the emotions and the body. Tied in as it is with the logic of productivism, Christianity, Eichberg writes, is the "religion of growth" that must be fought at all costs. To help cultivate 'national identity,' he proposes instead a new religion that mixes together neopagan Germanic, Celtic, and Indian religions with old völkisch-nationalistic ideas. It is to be based on "the sensuality-physicality of dance and ritual, ceremony and taboo, meditation, prayer, and ecstasy. In essence, [this religion] constitutes itself as a form of praxis" against the "religion of growth" since its "sensuous counter-experiences" can restore humanity to closer contact with nature. Sounding like many New Agers in the United States, Eichberg calls for a return to pristine nature, to the alleged primordial sources of people's lives, psyches, and authentic cultures, and for people to heal themselves within as part of healing the ecological crisis, overcoming their own alienation, and rediscovering themselves. 13
National Revolutionaries exploit ecological themes not only to construct primitivistic New Age religions but for political activity as well. During the 1970s they organized around opposition to nuclear energy at about the same time as the citizens' initiative movement did. "With their ecological and antinuclear enthusiasm," observes Walter Laqueur:their cultural anti-Americanism and their support for movements of national liberation in many parts of the world, the "national revolutionaries" tried, in fact, to outflank their left-wing contemporaries. Some regarded Sinn Fein as a model for the German national revolutionaries, others suggested "political Balkanization" in Germany and Europe as a solution to all outstanding questions. 14
Other National Revolutionaries took a different political approach: at the end of the 1970s, they joined the newly emerging Greens, where some of their number succeeded in holding office for a time. In October 1980, the Alternative List of West Berlin, for one, decided they could not work with National Revolutionaries, whom they considered even more dangerous than overt neo-Nazis because they hid their true intentions behind a veil of grassroots democratic and ecological programs. They were mostly driven out of the Greens, at least as far as observers seem aware today. 15
The Freedom German Workers Party 16
Like the National Revolutionaries, the Freedom German Workers Party (Freiheitliche Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or FAP) calls for a 'national socialism,' albeit one based on "a sense of community instead of class struggle." The FAP seeks no rapprochement with leftists; it openly and militantly proclaims its support for Nazi ideas, celebrates race and nation, and is pro-Hitler rather than Strasserite. It praises German soldiers, whose "achievements" in two world wars will "still be admired in a thousand years." The FAP is largely controlled by The Movement (Die Bewegung), which seeks to reestablish the NSDAP (the Nazi Party) in the Federal Republic and unite all fascist groups under its aegis. 17
The FAP recruits from among skinheads and soccer fans, and its activities include acts of violence, arson, and racial attacks on foreigners. It advances the crudest 'Germany for Germans -- foreigners out' slogans. 18 When it engages in electoral activity, its programmatic demands have included "German jobs for German workers," "repatriation for foreigners," "no franchise for foreigners," and an end to the "crazy enthusiasm for integration." 19 Germans today must not ruin the "legacy of our fathers," the "cultural landscape"; Alsace-Lorraine, the South Tyrol, and Austria should all be returned to Germany.
FAP Nazis especially loathe "humanistically oriented cosmopolitanism." Marxism, liberalism, and Christianity "have torn humanity from its connectedness to the natural cycles of our earth." No "technical environmentalism" will succeed against the "increasingly obvious ecological catastrophe," they believe. Rather, the "disrupted relations between humanity and the rest of nature" require an "ecological revolution" and a "radical revolution in consciousness" that will "lead humanity to a reintegration with the structure of planetary life." We need a new ethics, they maintain, one in which "humanity, animals and nature are regarded as a unity. Animals are not things" but are "life-forms that feel joy and pain and need our protection." Not surprisingly, the FAP regards abortion as a "crime against the laws of a healthy nature and against God."
In a blatant self-contradiction, their concrete environmental demands are in fact friendly to capitalism: They want "continued economic growth," yet less profit-seeking. "Ecological necessities . . . must be brought into accordance with a functioning economy," they believe, while "the cyclical system of nature should . . . be incorporated into the economic realm."
The Republicans 20
The Republicans, a political party founded by former Waffen-SS member Franz Schönhuber in 1983, have made numerous disavowals of any association with the Nazis -- they present themselves as nothing more than a "community of German patriots." Yet this does not stop them from taking explicitly anti-immigrant stances, especially against Turks, or from exploiting discontents about the influx of foreigners generally, or from maintaining that Germany should be "for Germans." The presence of a "tidal wave" of asylum-seekers in the Federal Republic, they believe, causes "the importation of criminals," "social tensions," and "financial burdens."
The Republicans call for the "preservation of the existence of the German Volk, its health and its ecological living-space [Lebensraum] as a priority for domestic policy. This goal," they add, "will also foster environmental protection." Indeed, ecological dislocations are endangering Germans' "health" -- and by 'health' they mean the 'genetic health' of the German people. Such 'health' has "a higher value than short-term profits and striving for a standard of living." Protecting and maintaining a "healthy environment" not only assures the "security of the means of life of our people" but is "a patriotic duty." The Republicans are stringently antiabortion for German women, yet for the Third World, "meaningful family planning" is necessary to end the "population explosion" and its consequent threat to the environment; without it there will be "natural catastrophe and starvation."
The National Democratic Party 21
The National Democratic Party of Germany (Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands, or NPD), founded in 1964 mainly by people who had been active Nazis before 1945, rose to prominence during the 1960s. This aggressively nationalist party long called for German reunification, while its programmatic literature complains that "two wars within one generation . . . have eaten away at the substantive health of the German people." (It does not mention what those wars did to the Jews, as Ditfurth dryly notes.) The NPD laments the destruction of the environment, which "has disadvantageous effects on the Volk-health." Germans should not be exposed to "chemical dyes" and should be protected from "congenital illness," while people with AIDS should be required to "register." The "preservation" of the "German people" requires that German women prolifically give birth, and therefore the NPD is against the "devaluation and destruction of the family." Since abortion threatens "the biological existence of our people," women who have abortions should be punished. The party calls for maternal and housekeeping training for "feminine youth."
In 1973, the NPD drew up an "Ecological Manifesto" that invoked "the laws of nature" to justify a hierarchically structured, "organic" order that would govern social relationships. 22 It inveighs against "the environment polluted and poisoned by a humanity that lives increasingly isolated in a degraded mass," which "is only the most noticeable symptom of the ruined equilibrium of humanity and nature." In the years since then, the NPD's rhetoric has become increasingly New Age oriented; it now calls for "reachieving . . . an environmental consciousness, so necessary for life." Achieving this consciousness, the 1988 NPD program states, "first requires an inner revolution in human thought. It is not the unlimited accumulation of material goods or boundless consumption that gives meaning to human life and happiness, but the experience of nature, concern for cultural values, and social security in the family and Volk." Indeed, "Volk-consciousness and environmental consciousness are inseparable," since "millions of strangers" threaten "our Volk in its existence."
Fascist didn't hijack ecologism. Fascists founded it and even coined the term. Ecology has been a central concern to German fascism in particular from the beginning of what we refer to as the counter-Enlightenment reactionary times. Thanks to German anti-Semite nature-worshipping mystical loonies we have ecology. No, it doesn't mean that those who donate money to Greenpeace are crypto-fascists. Not really. It does mean, though, that those who support ecology are caught more or less naively in a fascist web. It is this:
Nature is objective or it is not. If it is, then we use the Earth for our Human purposes to the benefit of Man. We do so rationally, not destructively and wantonly. If we take the approach, a matter of uncritical attitude, that Nature is our Mother, then we are irrational, and we are Irrationalist. Take you pick.
The prudent and sensitive person will not destroy the Earth simply to make a fast buck. Neither will he likely be found dancing naked in the moonlight celebrating the summer solstice. We take the attitude that nature is a large clump of stuff swirling around in the universe, and that that clump is for our use to do with the best we can for the sake of Humans and to the least detriment of that which we have no need to meddle with. We allow for aesthetics in nature, landscape appreciation being an essential part of our Human programming, according to, if memory serves, Steven Pinker, because it makes us wish to examine our spaces with an appreciative eye, and therefore to keep our places safe from destruction and invasion. But that is as far as nature goes if one is rational. Nature is an objective Human resource. Or it isn't.
Some, if not many of us are inclined to roll our eyes when another asks: "What is the meaning of life?" We take for granted that there is no meaning, or that whatever meaning there is is what we believe and that's an end of it as far as public dialogue is concerned. But that's most of us. What about those who ask the meaning of life, find that they know, and are determined to make you live according to the discoveries they have? We in the Modern West are immune for the most part from that kind of direct mental and emotional control of our personal opinions. Muslims, of course, are not. And according to the paranoid or obnoxious, Bush and his neo-con conspirators and their Right wing religious bigot allies are determined to force us all int a 1950s parody of their view of reality whether we like it or not, simply so they can continue to dupe us into making money for their international corporations, et cetera. Most of us are able to shrug off the stupidities of our fellows. What do we do though when we share some of those stupidities and don't clearly recognise them for what they are?
When we look at the ecofascist movement as above and see how fascists have created ecology from the ground up and have hooked so many well-meaning people into what on the surface seems to be a motherhood issue of protecting the Earth from wanton destruction for the sake of unrestrained protfit for the few at the expence not only of the many but of the future of the Human race, created ecology not simply for the sake of protecting nature as an invaluable resource but as a fascist and racist violent and genocidal mystical ideology, then we find that motherhood isn't as attractive as we might have originally thought. Our pandering to the sentimental cliches of the day lead us into the pristine valley of death. We find we've been lead astray. We find ourselves tricked into wandering into the bushes with someone who means us harm. We're not getting what we bargained for. All the smiling faces and promises of fun are turning out to be a Nazi-esque house of nightmares. Those people ask what is the meaning of life, and they conclude, seriously and fatally that the meaning of life is a revival of a primitive and violent life of Nature where the strong kill the weak, where the outsider is an enemy to be killed, where death is a good thing because it fits into the meaning of life as they see it, and it is ecologically sound to practice murder and rampage against others if one can.
Ecology is not a pretty day in the park: it is a hatred of Modernity, a hatred of cities and the people who live in them, a hatred of cosmopolitian people, those not mystically joined to the soild of the volk, the people of the wrong ethnicity or race. And they take this meaning of life so seriously that they will actually commit murder to make their visions come true. For the ecologist, murder is nature and nature is murder. That they consider to be a good thing.
We'll continue with part three of this essay from Biehl in a future post. Please return, and feel free to comment on anything you feel is unfair or uninformed. Unlike Muslims, we don't kill those who disagree with us.