Monday, March 28, 2022

Exploit it! (But at what cost?)

Both those now commonly designated “liberals” and those designated “conservatives” have roots in a historical, encompassing liberalism. As such, attitudes toward nature—or what I would prefer to call creation—are widely shared across today’s partisan political lines. “Liberals” and “conservatives” alike have a heritage of humanity separated from the rest of nature and the reduction of nature to a mere source of “natural resources” to be reaped for human gain.

Karl Polanyi, writing in the mid-twentieth century, warned against the liberal propensity to reduce land to a commodity. Land, he protested, becomes “only another name for nature, which is not produced by man.” Such a reduction is in fact “entirely fictitious” But this fiction determined a world picture that set up liberal humanity to exploit land and nature—now, we see in an age of climate crisis—to our own detriment.— Naming Neoliberalism: Exposing the Spirit of Our Age, 147–48

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