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The Spotted Owl & the Elephant in the Room

3,308 words

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In 1814, the Russian writer Ivan Krylov wrote a fable entitled “The Inquisitive Man [4]”: a man visits a museum and observes all sorts of exhibits while completely overlooking an elephant on show. This tale is said to have given rise to the expression “the elephant in the room,” an idiom signifying a major and obvious issue which everyone is ignoring. In contemporary debate about the environment and a series of related issues, there has been such an elephant in the room for a long time. There are indirect references to the elephant, and in the seventies for a brief moment it looked as though the elephant would be finally acknowledged, but then the elephant was disregarded again.

I am not referring to the decline of the white race, ignored by the mainline media though it is; that decline is a matter of lively discussion on white survivalist Websites. I am not referring to conspiracies of Jews; conspiracies of every kind are widely discussed subjects on alternative media. The elephant in the room to which I am referring is the fact that throughout the world (no land escapes this truly universal trend), natural land and wilderness are being replaced by concrete or agricultural monoculture, and the principal, but not the only, cause is human population growth. Statistics on the subject tend to be belittled, manipulated, intentionally misinterpreted, and played down. Those concerned with the accelerating decline of the white race will be familiar with the manipulation of statistics and how the promoters of a multi-racial agenda are swift to put a spin on evidence they can no longer hide, with the aim of relativizing the evidence of personal experience. For example, in response to the recent hike in recorded incidents of sexual crime in Sweden, the claim has been made that Swedish authorities are widening their definition of what constitutes a sexual crime and thus have become more efficient in tracking it.

Statistics in the case of the disappearance of the wilderness and the “development” of the land are especially problematic because there is no wide consensus as to what constitutes urban land, developed land, or built-on land. For example, are the grass lines in the middle of a dual carriageway, or a motorway’s grass banks, or verges, or the lawn of a house, to be counted as “green” land or not? What are the criteria for defining a natural forest or a wilderness? The highlands of Scotland are thinly populated and generally considered a “natural wilderness,” so they are included in statistics intended to prove that Britain is not overcrowded; yet the barren landscapes of highland Scotland are not a natural wilderness and are home to little in the way of life. In fact they bear witness to a process of deforestation and destruction in large part caused by human activity.

The reality of shrinking wilderness and declining wildlife applies not just to Borneo or West Africa but to every nation on Earth, the expansion of concrete and the stripping of the landscape likewise. Of all the continents, Asia probably leads the way in land destruction – sorry, “development.” Since independence, the deforestation of Indonesia has reached a pace which means that there is unlikely to be any natural woodland remaining on Sumatra in twenty years. When I was born, in 1954, it had something like seventy percent forest. Indeed, a piece by the environmentalist campaigner John Vidal [5] appeared in The Guardian four years ago in which he stated:

The end is in sight for the great forests of Sumatra and Borneo and the animals and people who depend on them. Thirty years ago the world’s third- and sixth-largest islands were full of tigers, elephants, rhinos, orang-outang and exotic birds and plants but in a frenzy of development they have been trashed in a single generation by global agribusiness and pulp and paper industries.

The same writer recently noted in another piece [6] that perhaps urban sprawl was as much to blame as climate change for the extent of the flooding caused in Texas by Hurricane Harvey. Those with environmental concerns are encouraged to look at climate change, but neither climate change nor even urban sprawl are the primary sources of environmental decline. The primary cause – the cause behind the cause, so to speak – of human-induced climate changes and urban sprawl is runaway human population increase.

Aware that a great debate is showing on the radar screen of public consciousness, the champions of the politics of growth have been busy for many years sowing doubt in the minds of potential critics of land “development.” The German business magazine Capital assured (reassured?) readers twenty years ago that only three percent (!) of German land had been built upon. I recall no authority being offered as the source of this highly questionable statistic, nor the criteria used in arriving at that result. Perhaps all the space taken up by road and rail is included in the percentage of land “not built on”? It was in any case obvious that a magazine promoting growth, profit, and development felt it necessary that its readers should be able to quote this statistic in an argument should the need arise.

In a similar vein in 2012, the broadsheet of London suburbanites and “business as usual” politics, The London Standard, published a piece by its home editor, Mark Easton, in which he argued against environmentalist pessimists who felt that too much of England was being developed, assuring his readers that England was overwhelmingly still a pristine, green land. You only had to look at England from the sky, he claimed, to realize that talk about overpopulation was negative and defeatist.

Easton’s argument was that there was nothing to worry about so far as urban expansion was concerned. This oft-repeated narrative is used today to counter the cry of “the boat is full” which had begun to be heard in Western countries from those disinclined to welcome new migrants or refugees. But “green” is not necessarily natural, still less primal. The green fields of England are for the most part not very natural at all. They are intensively farmed – many would say over-farmed – land.

As for the extent to which England is “developed” (the word alone speaks volumes about the mentality of the pro-growth lobbies), this is notoriously hard to measure given the kind of problem already referred to, but the fact that concrete, and that means dead, land is expanding in England as it is everywhere else in the world, nobody denies. Because that fact cannot be denied, it is resolutely ignored. It is the elephant in the room. Humans, any humans, always come first in the reckoning of the internationalists, and are always more important than the land or wildlife. In Britain, in the wake of massive immigration over the last ten years, all established political parties, including, appallingly, the Green Party, have been committed to massive housing construction programs to accommodate a demand caused by population growth – a growth, incidentally, which is overwhelmingly non-white. In the 2017 general election, the Labour Party committed itself to the building of a million homes over the next five years.

Massive housing programs with no long-term view of the consequences for the environment or the social lives of citizens are nothing new. What is new is that the fiction that “there is always more land” is wearing thin. Coastlines are prime targets of development: already in the 1930s, the great American poet Robinson Jeffers wrote of the despoiling of the Californian coast. Additionally, most of the Spanish coastline was “developed,” that is to say transformed, into concrete and glass, with the blessing of its dictator within a period of only twenty-five years, from the mid-1950s to the beginning of the 1980s.

In the space of twenty years, Ireland, empowered by the European Union, has been transformed from a traditionalist, slow-paced, and overwhelmingly rural society into a modern multicultural playground complete with motorways, skyscrapers, and a high-priced real estate market. Once-beautiful Bavaria has been pummeled in the last forty years by a building frenzy, resulting in motorways leading to small towns and ribbon development abounding.

Paris and Madrid have exploded in size, and their vast high-rise suburbs now encircle and dwarf the original cities. As Konrad Lorenz noted in Civilized Man’s Eight Deadly Sins, the growth of modern cities in the twentieth century bore a remarkable resemblance to the growth of a cancerous cell.

As for Asia or Africa, the statistics beggar belief. The population of Lagos, the capital of Nigeria, was seven hundred sixty-two thousand in 1962, the year it gained independence. As of today (2017), its population is estimated to be somewhere over fourteen million. In ten years’ time, it is expected to grow by another ten million. In 1960, the population of Istanbul was 1.7 million; today, it is 14.5 million. In 1960, the population of Peking was about four million; now, it is around twenty-two million.

Even in the very few countries where there is population decline (all of them white countries except for Japan), development of the land continues. Even after the obvious impact of runaway population growth, rising expectations and so-called “living standards” (that perpetually unquestioned mantra beloved by champions of growth) continue to fuel the demand for more hotels, airports, leisure centers, and shopping malls, all of which play their part in the disappearance of the wilderness and the covering of the world with concrete and monoculture. Where concrete covers the land, or where the land is turned over to monoculture, there is little variety of life. Worldwide growth tends to look similar wherever it occurs. A new Burger King in Costa Rica looks much like a new Burger King in London or San Francisco. The aim is to have the customers all looking the same, too. This universal expansion is quite literally a universal expansion of death.

I have written, both at Counter-Currents [7] and elsewhere, on the necessity in politics to forge alliances. I have drawn attention to the two unexpected setbacks for internationalism in 2016, namely the British EU referendum and the election of Donald Trump, both only made possible by dint of the cooperation of erstwhile opponents to reach a common goal.

The dire ecological situation in the world cries out for similar cooperation. All over the world there are small groups and organizations, often working on a shoestring, trying to stem the march of progress, facing those who profit from that cancer of the planet which business interests and the politicians in their pay euphemistically term “growth.” Such groups seem not to interest most white identitarians, who indeed like to share the irony and sarcasm of mainline conservatives. I am not sure if it was Charles Krauthammer or Ayn Rand who first made the oft-cited quip that “the spotted owl is more important to environmentalists than humans,” but this remark was picked up by white activists and tweaked into “environmental activists express concern about the decline of the spotted owl, but don’t care about the disappearance of the white race.”

In Capitalism Magazine, Robert Traninski, in the “spotted owl” tradition, wrote in 2002 [8]:

The common element is the belief that trees take precedence over people. In this view, redwoods, owls, and countless other species are sacred and have a right to their unspoiled habitats – but humans don’t have any right to their own property and livelihoods.

His article was entitled “The Return of the Spotted Owl: Earth First means Humans Last.” If confronted with the hypothetical (but less hypothetical than they may perhaps suppose) choice between the survival of, say, the cougar, or even the spotted owl, in the wildness and the accommodation of a million desperate refugees from Syria, which would the reader choose?

In his thriller, The Brigade, H. A. Covington describes a fictional white separatist uprising occurring in the Northwest of the United States. Although this is a tale of separation, written presumably out of love of the land, the writer nevertheless, in the steady and divisive tradition of mocking environmentalists, finds time to denigrate the very notion of planning permission for house building. He scorns organic food as “politically correct,” and he even finds space to mock, yet again, the hapless spotted owl! Environmentalists, notes the writer, fret about the future of a species of owl but not about the future of the white race.

Time and again, white identitarians accept the reasoning, mostly from highly dubious sources, that wanting to protect nature or being environmentally friendly is an indication of false priorities at best, and Left-wing daftness at worst. This is a deeply flawed attitude, a rational absurdity. Protecting one’s race is a commitment to a natural order and a rejection of unnatural impositions based on universalist doctrines of growth, progress, profit, and exploitation. No conservative is credible who is not concerned with conserving the land, the water, and the planet. Conservatives have allowed the Left to hijack the environmentalist movements, which should by definition be radically conservative.

Environmentalists have their own contradiction – their own elephant in the room. They ignore the root cause of environmental destruction, namely population growth. The leaders of prominent environmentalist organizations blame everyone and everything for the decline of wildlife and the shrinking of natural habitats (“human greed” is their favorite catch-all explanation) except the ultimate and prime cause of it all: too many human mouths to feed.

There are hundreds of small activist groups struggling to save what can be saved. Much of their work is unpaid, and their achievements (the cleaning of European rivers is a case in point) have been remarkable, despite receiving scant recognition. However, irrespective of courageous rearguard actions and some spectacular achievements, environmentalists worldwide are still on the retreat. And for that matter, so are white activists. How can it be otherwise, given the relentless rise in human populations and the dismissal of over-development as something even needing to be discussed, let alone recognized as a problem? Instead of seeking at the very least a modus vivendi, environmentalists and white conservatives, with few exceptions, only express their contempt for one another.

The election of Donald Trump highlighted this mutual disregard and dislike. Environmentalist groups are dismayed by Trump and hard-line Republicans for what they perceive – not entirely without reason – as a cavalier disregard for the needs of the natural environment. An example of such disregard was Republican Don Young’s resolution, which was passed by Congress, to make the shooting of hibernating bears and wolf puppies legal again. It also legalized the hunting of bears from the air. This deregulation, small in itself, speaks volumes about the attitude of many Republican politicians toward nature and the ultimate self-contradiction of much so-called conservatism.

Firstly, the question which should be asked here is, are hunters interested in hunting or exterminating? If they are interested primarily in hunting, that is to say if they consider hunting as part of a frontier style and manly way of life which should be cherished and continued, they cannot conceivably welcome a state of affairs whereby an animal species which they hunt is not given the chance to reproduce in sufficient numbers to maintain its population. The measures only make sense if wolves and bears are regarded as vermin to be completely eradicated from the US. And if this is indeed the case, then that aim includes depriving hunters of game. For hunters to support unsustainable over-hunting is patently illogical, but the truth here, as with over-consumption and over-building, is that human activity, especially in our times, is not looking to posterity but only seeking maximum advantage for itself.

My brother-in-law is a keen hunter. He is unhappy because his “bag” is diminishing year after year. This is not because he has become a less skilled hunter, but rather that there has been a steady and rapid decline in the amount of game to be found in the western German countryside where he hunts, especially over the last ten years. This decline is the result of ribbon development, the uprooting of hedgerows, and increasingly intensive farming, leading to what are now too many hunters chasing too few animals.

In my father-in-law’s cellar is a stuffed great bustard which he brought down around 1955. He can no longer hunt great bustards anywhere near his home. This entertaining, and incidentally inedible, bird has been exterminated in most of Germany. Concerted efforts by volunteer groups have brought its numbers up again so that there are about four hundred or so of the birds in the countryside around Berlin. Huge efforts were made to save this bird in Germany, with no thanks from people like my father-in-law, whose behavior reminds me of someone who discards rubbish and then expects other people to clear it up for him so that there will be space for him to discard more.

Is it not exactly this “not looking to posterity,” this “here and now” hedonism, which is the core sickness of modern decadence? Is it not the tunnel vision of caring neither for the past nor future, but only seeking advantage for the present, which constitutes degeneration?

There will not always be more land, and it is time that everyone aware of their ethnic or national identity embraced that salient fact. There is nowhere else to run. If you appeal to your white identity, you are also appealing to the natural world your people inhabit, and it is time whites made their peace with the land, and the flora and fauna of that land. Their identity is an inextricable part of it, and the future of the land and its people are interrelated.

The human population explosion is no more just a threat. It is now a merciless assault on the land. The evidence is all around: the plastering of ever-more land by concrete, more cars, more houses, more people. This pillaging of the planet so that as many human beings as possible may enjoy greater levels of comfort is humanist folly. The cries of “development,” “you can’t stop progress,” and “people before spotted owls” are the cries of those who care little for their environment and less for the white race. Their priorities are material ones and nature for them is an object, just as animals are: nothing more than a source of food and entertainment.

Hunters and treehuggers do not have to like each other, but if they truly care for their natural home, they should abandon internecine sarcasm and hatred and face a common foe: the champions of growth for growth’s sake, progress for progress’s sake, and development for profit, as well as that overriding and unnatural humanist belief that human beings, any human beings, must always take precedence over all other kinds of life.

We should cherish what we have and be ready to throw intruders out, because our resources are limited and our heritage is precious. Global poverty is more a matter of population growth and overexploitation of natural resources than fair resource distribution, however much the champions of international humanism and egalitarianism may insist to the contrary. Helping Africa to increase its population is to collaborate in the destruction of the planet. First spotted owls go, and tomorrow, you go. This point is crucial.

The leading Green movements were long ago hijacked by internationalists (an initiative itself made possible owing to the dearth of conservative-minded people in such movements in the first place) desperate to divert attention from challenge number one: the exploding human population as the single most serious challenge to the entire world and its survival. The question is not, “Which should we preserve, the spotted owl or the logger?” It is rather, “How can we ensure that neither threatens the other with extinction?” And this question can only be answered by finally seeing the elephant in the room. The elephant is over-population and the disappearance of the natural land. Mock the spotted owl at your peril – where minority species disappear, minority races will follow.