It's not easy being green
Actually, Kermit the Frog is probably singing a different song these days. After all, what's easier, more fashionable, more excruciatingly politically correct than "being green"? Longtime readers know that I am fond of Harvey Mansfield's formulation that "environmentalism is school prayer for liberals." Most people chuckle when I quote that (you see what troglodytes I hang about with), but the humor has a sharper edge than I'd originally realized.
Harvey wrote that more than a decade ago in an essay about the baneful influence of the Sixties on -- well, on just about everything. I had thought that the nauseating odor of piety that suffused the Church of the Environment (Al Gore, B.S., Pastor) made it so ridiculous that its claim on the public's attention (to say nothing of its claim on the public's pocketbook) would soon fade.
How wrong I was. I knew in the abstract that being ridiculous is no bar to public prominence. Consider: Al Gore, former Vice-President and Nobel Laureate. Al Sharpton, king maker and presidential candidate. Al Franken, U.S. Senator. And that's just people whose first name is "Al."
But although it is clear that something can easily be both ridiculous and prominent, somehow I underestimated the staying power of environmentalism. I did so partly because I underestimated the mesmerizing power of this version of paganism on the collective consciousness of our secular elites: too sophisticated to subscribe openly to traditional religion but who nonetheless yearned for a token of spiritual uplift with which they could flatter themselves and impress others.
Then there was the immense political advantage of environmentalism. As the "cap-n'-tax" (also known as "Cap and Trade") attack on the coal industry shows, environmentalism offers an essentially limitless opportunity for ambitious politicians. Indeed, its advantages are threefold. Since you can never be green enough, an environmental policy can always be made increasingly stringent in order 1) to increase taxes 2) to make government more intrusive and 3) to enhance the emotion of virtue among the environmentally elect.
A lot more could be said about all this, and perhaps when the U.S. Senate gets around to debating the bill there will be an opportunity to revisit the issue. For now, I wish merely to record my sorrowful realization that the aura of piety that surrounds environmentalism has effectively immunized it against ridicule. This may change someday, but for now I conclude that no amount of preposterous sentimentalized posturing is sufficient to condemn its proponents.
I came to this melancholy conclusion when I stumbled upon this advertisement for "green romance" at Instapundit. Entitled "Eco Ways To Romance Your Partner," it is an emetic little digest of eco-friendly sex tips. Do you and your heartthrob like chocolate? Why not: the "Aztecs believed that chocolate had aphrodisiac qualities." Oh, well then, if the Aztecs thought so, go for it, right? But be sure to procure "organic and sustainable brands." (Didn't the Aztecs also believe in ripping the beating hearts out of young virgins in order to propitiate the sun god? Well, never mind.)
There are 7 great tips for eco-nuts in the list, and the last is the best: Sustainable Lingerie. Think I am making it up? Read on:
If you simply want to stay in bed all day, then you might want to consider modeling some sustainable lingerie for an extra little piece of bedroom drama. It’s ultimately sexy and not even that expensive. Try Enamore’s sexy lingerie made from organic and sustainable materials like cotton, silk, and soy. Or, try the French eco-friendly brand g=9.8 which creates sexy, colorful undergarments made from cultivated pine trees!
Where is Juvenal, Jonathan Swift, Evelyn Waugh when you need 'em? It would all be extremely funny if it weren't in earnest.
Article printed from Roger’s Rules: http://pjmedia.com/rogerkimball
URL to article: http://pjmedia.com/rogerkimball/2009/7/1/its-not-easy-being-green-2