Posted by on 26 November 2007 at 8:30 am  Environmentalism, Religion
Nov 262007

Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is probably the most prominent political advocate of Christian environmentalism today. He’ll be joined by more people in short order, however — particularly as younger Christian fundamentalists raised on the environmentalist propaganda taught in schools rise to power and influence.

Huckabee is interviewed on environmental and energy issues in Salon: Huckabee: God wants us to fight global warming. Here’s the introduction:

“The first thing I will do as president is send Congress my comprehensive plan for energy independence,” [Huckabee] proclaims on his Web site. “We will achieve energy independence by the end of my second term.” The goal may sound admirable, but even if it’s achievable — and many experts doubt that it is — Huckabee’s plan for getting there is light on specifics. Rather than spell out what steps he would take, he talks of creating a market environment that encourages innovation, and he praises just about every energy source you can think of — nuclear, “clean coal,” wind, solar, hydrogen, biomass, biodiesel, corn-based ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, oil from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other untapped domestic areas, and, yes, conservation too.

A conservative Republican and devout Christian, Huckabee believes he has a biblical responsibility to protect God’s planet from climate change, even though he’s not convinced that climate change is largely human-caused. But mandatory limits on greenhouse-gas emissions make him squeamish.

Here’s the only philosophic exchange in the ensuing interview:

What makes you the strongest Republican candidate on the issues of energy and the environment?

For one thing, I’m one of the few people who’s actually talked about the fact that as Republicans we have done a lousy job of presenting the case for conservation. We ought to be the leaders, but unfortunately we’ve been the last people speaking out on conservation.

Not only as a Republican, but as a Christian it’s important to me to say to my fellow believers, “Look, if anybody ought to be leading on this issue, it ought to be us.” We can’t justify destroying a planet that doesn’t belong to us, and if we believe that God did create this world for our pleasure and wants us to enjoy it, then all the more reason that we should take care of it.

Christian “stewardship” environmentalism seems particularly dangerous to me. The reason isn’t just that Republicans are adopting bad Democratic policies. They’ve done that so often, including on environmentalism, that another instance hardly newsworthy.

My major concern lies in the philosophic differences between Christian environmentalism and leftist environmentalism. Leftist environmentalism is nihilistic in its essence: it’s hatred and destruction of humanity for its own sake. While its intellectual leaders are often genuine nihilists, its mass appeal largely depends on the wish of preserving nature for ultimately human ends. That’s misguided in various ways, but it’s not wholly philosophically corrupt.

In contrast, Christan environmentalism is not based on nihilistic hatred of humanity. Instead, it envisions humans as the exalted steward of God’s creation. That difference could give it tremendous staying power and mass appeal, even in its most pure form. That’s because it appeals to positive values, however mangled by supernaturalism. In the classification scheme of Leonard Peikoff’s DIM Hypothesis, Christian environmentalism seems to be a form of “Misintegration” rather than “Disintegration.” That’s a significant shift.

Of course, that difference won’t make this new form environmentalism kindler or gentler in practice. Whether of a supernatural or nihilistic variety, environmentalism will require the sacrifice of actual human values and human lives.

That doesn’t bode well for those of us who value human life.

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