Re "The church of green," Opinion, May 20
Jonah Goldberg gets it backward. Environmentalists do not "view economics as the enemy because cost-benefit analysis is thoroughly unromantic"; economists view the environment as invisible because their cost-benefit analysis is fatally flawed. A full cost accounting of industrial practices reveals how much the natural services of the ecosystems threatened or destroyed by development and industrial pollution are actually worth, in addition to the real value of natural resources consumed and wasted.
Goldberg is clearly in thrall to the church of neoclassical economics and the priests of predatory capitalism, who are spending our principal and deferring environmental debt like there's no tomorrow. May they soon see the (green) light.
San Luis Obispo
As someone who grew up in the San Gabriel Valley in the 1960s, I can assure you that environmentalism is not a religion. During that time, there were plenty of "smog days" when we could not play outside because heavy breathing was impossible. As for the grocery bags, the best thing to do is charge for them so people will bring their own. As for the polar bears, hunting kills individual bears, which can be reversed at any time by regulation. Habitat destruction causes extinction, which is forever.
Environmentalism is based on science. Because Goldberg is a member of the neocon religion, whose acolytes create their own reality, I am not surprised that he can't tell the difference between science and religion. Too bad for him that the scientific method works better to predict how the real world works.
Environmentalism is a growing movement for change, and like many such movements in American history, including abolition, women's suffrage and civil rights, it has a deep but conflicted relationship to organized religion and religious language.
Goldberg's favored metaphor of "stewardship" is an oversimplification of a faith-based ethic for environmentalism. A more nuanced understanding finds an ethic of joy in creation as well as of personal and social restraint in use of its resources, of sharing rather than hoarding and of justice rather than exploitation.
Environmentalism has been divided against itself as particular organizations pursue individual goals, which may militate against or distract from other, equally important goals.
A faith-based perspective is, above all, a holistic perspective, which can help to bring together and energize the conflicting arenas of environmental activism. And as environmentalism grows and becomes more holistic, it can provide models both theological and action-oriented to people pursuing a "green faith."
Goldberg ends by saying, "But now it's time to save the environment from the environmentalists."
I believe it's time to save The Times from Goldberg.
Nick Di Croce