The Greening of Conservative America

The Greening of Conservative America – Review

Carl Pope

The Greening of Conservative America by John R. E. Bliese (Westview Press, $27)

Conservative politics and conservation may seem incompatible, but according to Texas Tech communications professor John Bliese, this was not always the case.

Examining the differences between the two principal strains of American conservative thought, libertarianism and traditionalism, Bliese documents how both call for vastly greater respect for the natural and human environment than most modern conservatives accord them. His citations from the fathers of U.S. conservatism–thinkers like Russell Kirk, Richard Weaver, and Frank Meyer–are striking when set against the diatribes of a Tom Delay.

For example, Weaver wrote that nature “is the creation of a Creator. There follows … an important deduction, which is that man has a duty of veneration towards nature and the natural. Nature is not something to be fought, conquered, and changed according to any human whims.” John Muir never said it better.

Bliese also shows how basic conservative principles should be applied to the management of forests, regulation of toxic chemicals, and protection of endangered species. With an eclectic approach, he draws on analysts not thought of as conservative–like Amory Lovins on energy–but applies their scientific and economic findings within a conservative framework.

Bliese’s pioneering work will help conservatives reclaim their movement from the ideologues who have stolen it. He also gives environmentalists some powerful arguments against politicians and lobbyists who claim that their ideas are rooted in conservative philosophy, rather than greed.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Sierra Magazine

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group