I Have a Bone to Pick with You!

I just read Ishmael and found it thought provoking in many ways. The central tenet seems to be that Taker culture, in its present course, has harmed and will eventually destroy the environment. I am familiar with much of the literature that supports this apocalyptic vision. However, I find Bjorn Lomborg’s book “Skeptical Environmentalist,” in which he discredits much of this premise, to be quite credible. My own research and observations put me in varying degrees of agreement with Lomborg. Do you have any comment on Lomborg’s research and have you considered the possibility that your assertions of imminent environmental destruction are exaggerated or simply false?

Even if we live tribally (in the sense you use the word in Beyond Civilization), aren’t we still going to crash just as fast as if we work for a hierarchical corporation? We’re still dependent on agriculture. What is to stop the new tribalism from damaging the planet just as much as civilization, provided that we’re still dependent on growing all of our own food?

While I understand the theory that vegetarianism tends to aggravate the population explosion, I find it morally reprehensible to consume the product of a cruel and unnatural factory farming system. My reasons for vegetarianism are not because I value a cow’s life over a carrot’s, and I know that both the meat and vegetable industries practice totalitarian agriculture. Both industries kill, but this is a “natural” way to get food. The problem, in my eyes, is that it is clear that cows are vastly mistreated during life, whereas carrots are not. My vegetarianism is a boycott of an industry that treats life as no more than capital. I want this industry to change. Are my morals unfounded in your opinion? Do you think vegetarianism is an ineffective way to bring about change in the meat industry? If so, what would be more effective, or what should I do instead?

I may be confused about the inclusion of Michael Time in your website…..Is it a belief that changes for survival will come from the bungled searching of the roots of society – from the revolutionaries who don’t understand what they seek but only know they have to find it? I would hope that some more vital upwelling could provide a wave of change….It just seems so far off when the Michaels of the world lead the way. He has so many personal issues, he seems far removed from an unselfish cause.

While I think you point out some legitimate examples from history of people “walking away,” you also acknowledge that the “jungle option” no longer exists. If history is any indication, people do not act to change circumstances in civilized societies until those circumstances have become intolerable. I fear your books amount to shouting for the driver to hit the brakes after the car has go off the cliff.

I just read your speech Technology & the Other War. I’m still confused over your meaning of “natural” and “unnatural.” You’re saying that buildings and airplanes are just as natural as a bird’s nest and a beaver cutting down a tree for a dam. Correct? Does this mean that pollution from airplanes is natural as well? It seems that the pollution that we’re pouring into the world is making the world very uninhabitable very quickly. Is this natural?