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Pentti Linkola’s Can Life Prevail?

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Pentti Linkola
Can Life Prevail? A Radical Approach to the Environmental Crisis
Trans. Eetu Rautio and Olli S.
London: Arktos, 2009

Little known outside of Scandinavia, Pentti Linkola is a voice that deserves a wide audience. He is revered amongst radical environmentalists for his uncompromising stance on a variety of issues and for his works that show the breadth of his vision.

Linkola shows that “progressive” and humanistic dogma in collaboration with aggressive capitalism is leading the whole planet toward inevitable destruction. Greed and consumerism, the opiates that (for many) mask the sheer banality of much of what constitutes modern life, are leading us into the abyss. There has to be another way. Rather than obsessing on “the Rights of Man,” Linkola underscores the duty that man has to Life in its entirety. In doing so, he offers pointers to a more authentic and fulfilling mode of existence – one in harmony with the whole biosphere and, therefore, the natural order of things.

Thus, we are treated to original and rigorous critiques of modern society’s obsession with soulless technics, the acquisition of non-essential consumer goods, uncontrolled human fecundity and population growth, and other activities ruinous not only to the environment as a whole but also to the actual quality of human life itself.

To those effectively brainwashed by the contemporary “Cultural Dictatorship of the Left” (ironically sponsored by big business and the mass media) which virtually deifies the freedom of humans to do anything they wish regardless of the long-term consequences, much of his thinking is likely to be considered “offensive.” However, when one considers what is at stake, to leave these things unsaid is more offensive still.

Even left-wing conservationists (an obvious contradiction of terms when one comes down to it) may not like Linkola’s conclusions as he eschews most of the inanities of Political Correctness – implicitly demonstrating the dangers of this modern day pseudo-religion. Indeed, Linkola once famously said “The composition of the Greens seems to be the same as that of the population in general — mainly pieces of drifting wood, people who never think.”

Perhaps Linkola is not always right, but he most usually is. Nevertheless, because of the gravity of the issues which he addresses, his thoughts (and those of others like him) certainly deserve more attention. We ignore them at our peril.

Ideas and Quotations:

Pentti Linkola

“What to do, when a ship carrying a hundred passengers suddenly capsizes and there is only one lifeboat? When the lifeboat is full, those who hate life will try to load it with more people and sink the lot. Those who love and respect life will take the ship’s axe and sever the extra hands that cling to the sides.”

“A minority can never have any other effective means to influence the course of matters but through the use of violence.”

“Any dictatorship would be better than modern democracy. There cannot be so incompetent dictator, that he would show more stupidity than a majority of the people. Best dictatorship would be one where lots of heads would roll and government would prevent any economical growth.”

“The most central and irrational faith among people is the faith in technology and economical growth. Its priests believe until their death that material prosperity bring enjoyment and happiness – even though all the proofs in history have shown that only need and striving cause a life worth living, that .material prosperity doesn’t bring anything but despair. These priests will still believe in technology when they choke in their gas masks.”

“That there are billions of people over 60kg weight on this planet is recklessness.”

“Alternative movements and groups are a welcome relief and a present for the society of economic growth.”

“We will have to . . . learn from the history of revolutionary movements — the National Socialists, the Finnish Stalinists, from the many stages of the Russian revolution, from the methods of the Red Brigades — and forget our narcissistic selves.”

“A fundamental, devastating error is to set up a political system based on desire. Society and life are been organized on basis of what an individual wants, not on what is good for him or her. . . . Just as only one out of 100,000 has the talent to be an engineer or an acrobat, only a few are those truly capable of managing the matters of a nation or mankind as a whole. . . . In this time and this part of the World we are heedlessly hanging on democracy and parliamentary system, even though these are the most mindless and desperate experiments of mankind. . . . In democratic countries the destruction of nature and sum of ecological disasters has accumulated most. . . . Our only hope lies in strong central government and uncompromising control of the individual citizen.”

“If the present amount of Earth’s population is preserved and is reduced only by the means of birth control, then:
– Birthgiving must be licensed. To enhance population quality, genetically or socially unfit homes will be denied offspring, so that several birth licenses can be allowed to families of quality.
– Energy production must be drastically reduced. Electricity is allowed only for the most necessary lighting and communications.
– Food: Hunting must be made more efficient. Human diet will include rats and invertebrate animals. Agriculture moves to small un-mechanized units. All human manure is used as fertilizer.
– Traffic is mostly done with bicycles and rowing boats. Private cars are confiscated. Long-distance travel is done with sparse mass transport. Trees will be planted on most roads.
– Foreign affairs: All mass immigration and most of import-export trade must stop. Cross-border travel is allowed only for small numbers of diplomats and correspondents.
– Business will mostly end. Manufacture is allowed only for well-established needs. All major manufacturing capacity is state owned. Products will be durable and last for generations.
– Science and schooling: Education will concentrate on practical skills. All competition is rooted out. Technological research is reduced to the extreme minimum. But every child will learn how to clean a fish in a way that only the big shiny bones are left over.”

From Ireland First, August 6, 2010,

For a very droll video interview with Pentti Linkola, click here.

paperback: $20

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  1. Turiano
    Posted August 9, 2010 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Please tell me this is a joke.

  2. Stronza
    Posted August 9, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    It’s because life was so hard for so long that all human beings desperately longed for a bit of industrially produced comfort. The only way large numbers of people will end up living like P.L. would be the result of a Pol Pot style attempt to de-urbanize and get everyone scraping the soil. We know what happened there.

    Personally, I work pretty damn hard gathering fuel, growing food and putting by what I can and so on. 99% of the addicted-to-ease population would not do what I do, and yet I am no Pentti, either. I should not be here at the computer; there are a dozen chores that need doing, some unpleasant.

    Nobody is going to go for this. Maybe if we lived in semi-communes that would be a good start, but in any case I can’t imagine why anyone would want their fertility controlled. Pentti wants to let people fall by the wayside yet he takes medicine for his diabetes. Why would anyone listen to him?

    I am sad to report that over the years I have read copious Pentti-type literature and now I can’t even recall their names. There are countless deep ecologists around but they don’t tell us how to get from A to B. If it happens, it will be spontaneous, as all early societies developed in the first place. But it is refreshing to hear him badmouth democracy.

  3. Justin Huber
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    This guy makes a few good points, but he seems to be a bit of a crank as well. To me, it almost seems like a step backward to go back to only riding bikes and rowing boats when we have automobiles, motor boats and even jet planes. Especially when whites were responsible for bringing much of these advances about. Where we screwed up was trying to spread our technology to the rest of the world. Now, they have these things and are competing with us for the resources (fossil fuels) to run them.

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