-Michael Soule and Gary Lease
Most of us are familiar with rightist attacks on environmentalism. For a long time, many people on the right have faulted environmentalists for wanting to curtail free enterprise, limit private property, and abridge individual freedom in the service of environmental well-being. We are less familiar with leftist criticism. Over the past decade or so, however, some parts of the left have launched their own attacks on environmentalism, and, although these are more philosophical in character, they threaten the movement every bit as much as those coming from the right.
Leftist environmental criticism is the work of a group of postmodern intellectuals and professors. Postmodernists expose the constructed quality of those things we take for granted. They unmask the given and show that “what is” is not necessarily “meant to be,” but rather is a consequence of particular decisions and socio-historical conditions. Postmodernism is a natural ally of the left in that it deconstructs existing conditions and shows that, although they may appear natural or necessary, they are really contingent; they can be changed. This is a doctrine that has helped people look criti...
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