chapter  5
35 Pages

Right-wing reactions to the environment and environmental politics

That there cannot be any ‘ideologically’ or value-free interpretations of the relationship between environment and society has been raised throughout this book. As has been argued from Chapter 1 on, the connection between social theory and the environment is not one of ‘facts’ about the natural and social worlds which we read or interpret objectively, but rather the connection is through a particular ideological or value-based lens such that facts and values cannot be separated. As discussed in Chapter 3, while anarchists such as Kropotkin looked into nature and saw a realm of equality and harmony which he then used to justify his egalitarian and libertarian anarchist vision of society, others such as the ‘social Darwinists’ saw nature as ‘red in tooth and claw’, a competitive, hierarchical and individualist struggle of the strongest, and used this reading of nature to justify unfettered non-egalitarian capitalism. Both of these ideological readings of nature differ in what they ‘read into’ nature, but share the commitment to legitimising social relations on the basis of natural relations, what was criticised

in Chapter 1 as the ‘reading-off’ hypothesis. Both offer classic left-and rightwing perspectives on the environment respectively.