My copy of Rupert Darwall’s Green Tyranny (2017) arrived yesterday, and I’ve begun leafing through it. On the cover it says that it is “Exposing the totalitarian toots of the climate industrial complex”, but it might better have said “Exposing the Nazi roots of the Green movement.” For on page 2 it mentions
“the Nazi belief that industrialisation was causing a cancer epidemic.”
And on page 6 it has:
“The Nazis became the first political party in the world to promote wind energy”
And on page 8:
“Why solar? The sun had an important place in Nazi symbolism. The Green’s sunflower logo was designed by a former Nazi: Joseph Beuys.
And on page 30:
“Mankind’s subservience to the commands of nature provides the connecting thread between Nazism and modern-day environmentalism, and represents a radical rejection of the Enlightenment’s belief in progress”
“As an approximation, subtract Nazi race-hate, militarism, and desire for world conquest, then add global warming, and Nazi ideology ends up looking not dissimilar to today’s environmental movement”
“Nazi public health policies incorporated Liek’s view that cancer was a disease of civilisation – that is, caused by lifestyle choices and industrial pollution. Nazi slogans proclaimed. “Your body belongs to the nation”… As Hitler once put it, “Why nationalise industry when you can nationalise the people?” On another occasion, Hitler told an aide that “reforming the human lifestyle” was more important to him than politics.”
“Despite being a militant antismoker – Hitler once attributed giving up cigarettes to his being the salvation of the German people – the regime failed to stop the rise in German tobacco consumption.”
On page 40, however, Darwall reveals that he’s not in favour of smoking either. After connecting Silent Spring author Rachel Carson to Wilhelm Hueper and Erwin Liek, he asks:
“Were Liek, Hueper, and Carson right? Omitted from Carson’s reservoir of carcinogens is the one that has killed far and away the largest number of people – the humble tobacco leaf… Carson’s war on industrial society was, like the Nazis’ before it, motivated by ideological zealotry, not by evidence.”
The book connects up all the Nazi dots: Wind power. Solar energy. Hatred of industry. Public Health. Lifestyle reform. Vegetarianism. Ubiquitous carcinogens in more or less everything. And of course antismoking. Darwall may as well have written (but did not): Modern environmentalism = Nazism. For, coming up on a century later, Nazism remains oddly modern, given that many of its tenets have been adopted into public consciousness, usually as unquestionable truths.
And not even Darwall can bring himself to call into question the Nazi antismoking doctrines which now prevail in Public Health throughout the world. And of course it is difficult to question it in a world in which we are constantly being told that Smoking kills:
Nazism is perhaps just a reflection or expression of a modern mood of deep anxiety – perhaps even panic – about the highly industrialised and monetised human society that has emerged over the past few centuries. It’s a nostalgia for the lost stability of a simple and bucolic life rooted in a landscape of fields and trees and rivers. The Enlightenment dream of Progress is felt to have been a mirage. Life hadn’t got any better: it had got worse. We were all now facing imminent catastrophe, either by nuclear war or global warming or maybe just the ubiquitous carcinogens present in even the breath we exhale. Page 39, quoting Rachel Carson:
“The most determined effort should be made to eliminate these carcinogens that now contaminate our food, our water supplies, and our atmosphere, because these provide the most dangerous type of contact – minute exposures, repeated over and over through the years.”
This is the homeopathic notion that the more minute the exposures, and the longer they are repeated, the more dangerous they are. Fear of secondhand smoke is a modern homeopathic doctrine. Don’t worry about that gun in the gunman’s hand: worry about the cigarette in his mouth. And this is why the WHO’s priority is to stamp out smoking rather than Ebola or Zika or resurgent Black Plague.
The irrationality of this really grows out of our own inability to understand the world in which we live. We don’t understand industry. We don’t understand money. We don’t understand cancer. We don’t understand climate. We don’t even know what’s better and what’s worse. Our misunderstanding is our irrationality. And because we don’t understand much, we are largely irrational in more or less everything we do. And Nazism is the perfect expression of this kind of irrationality.
Some other fragments from the book caught my attention: On page 36, Hitler is quoted:
“What was once accident must become planned. We must do away with accident.”
For this another collision, between a free and spontaneous society and a planned and regimented one. For our modern Nazis in Public Health are busy planning what we will all eat and drink, and how much of it we will be allowed. We won’t be allowed to smoke anything, of course. And our cars will be replaced with electric ones, and the electricity will be generated by windmills. And in that planned world, all freedom will vanish completely. It will be the most perfect green tyranny.