Democratic Forest Trusts (PDF)in Watson, Alan; Dean, Liese; Sproull, Janet, comps. 2006. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Eighth World Wilderness Congress Symposium; 2005 September 30-October 6; Anchorage, AK.Democratic trusts with leadership elected by citizen-members promise to solve many of the problems afflicting both traditional government and corporate ownership of forestlands.Â This article explores these issues in some depth.Complexity and the Dream of Human Control of Eco-Systems (PDF)in Watson, Alan; Dean, Liese; Sproull, Janet, comps. 2006. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Eighth World Wilderness Congress Symposium; 2005 September 30-October 6; Anchorage, AK.The title captures it.Â I then explore the kinds of institutions compatible with both nature and the modern world that are implied from this analysis.Rethinking the Obvious: Modernity and Living Respectfully With Nature (PDF)The Trumpeter: Journal of Ecosophy, Winter, 1997.Modernity is usually considered a wrong turn in terms of respect for and sustaining the environment.Â I argue the reality is more complex, for modernity has freed us from personal dependence on agriculture, ended the economic value of children, radically reduced the likelihood of large scale wat, and shifted much production to intellectual rather than material capital.Â This partially decouples society from nature, which gives us important opportunities as well as problems.Towards an Ecocentric Political Economy (PDF)The Trumpeter, Fall, 1996.This paper begins my effort at showing how liberal modernity can be harmonized with an ecocentric perspective on our relationship with the natural world.Â It is a corrective to much “free market environmental” literature that sacrifices Nature to money as well as to anti-liberal attacks by well-meaning but economically naÃ¯ve environmentalists.Unexpected Harmonies: Self-Organization in Liberal Modernity and Ecology (PDF)The Trumpeter, Journal of Ecosophy, 10:1, Winter 1993This is my initial paper exploring how what I term ‘evolutionary liberal’ thought can be an important means by which society and nature can be brought into greater harmony.Â The other Trumpeter papers build on it.Deep Ecology and Liberalism: The Greener Implications of Evolutionary Liberalism (PDF)Review of Politics, Fall, 1996.Liberal thought and deep ecology are usually regarded as mutually exclusive. But the “evolutionary” tradition offers a way to integrate the two through commonalties in the work of David Hume, Michael Polanyi, Arne Naess, and Aldo Leopold, providing a stronger foundation for liberalism while strengthening the case for an ecocentric ethic.(Related subjects: Ecology)Saving Western Towns: A Jeffersonian Green Proposal (PDF)in Writers on the Range, Karl Hess and John Baden, eds., University Press of Colorado, 1998.Developmental pressures in the rural and small town West involve three groups: long term residents, new arrivals, and environmentalists. Today their interests often conflict. This conflict is in part the outcome of institutions which prevent harmonizing competing interests. The concept of developmental trusts, both for rural regions and for small communities offers a means whereby these interests can be harmonized for the benefit of all concerned.(Related subjects: Politics)Social Ecology, Deep Ecology, and Liberalism (PDF)Critical Review, 6: 2-3, 1992.Murray Bookchin is considered a leading radical environmental theorist. However, his analysis is incapable of leading humankind towards a more respectful and sustainable relationship with the natural world. Criticisms of Bookchin from both the deep ecology and evolutionary liberal perspective complement one another, pointing the way towards a better understanding of how modernity relates to the environment.The paper as a whole offers an early discussion of issues that are more clearly addressed in later papers, particularly Deep Ecology and Liberalism (1996) and the three Trumpeter articles in 1997, 1996, and 1993. However, there are other ideas in the article which have not been developed more thoroughly elsewhere.
I have not been doing much political posting for many months, ever since I finally gave up hope that the Democrats, with a few exceptions, amounted to anything more than a somewhat more humane version of the moral filth that the Republicans now represent. Of course I will vote Democratic in November, for the same reason I’d vote for a robber against a serial killer. But nothing more. There is no very positive reason to vote for an almost wholly owned subsidiary of Wall Street except that the alternative is a sadistic representative of Wall Street and the oil industry.
But that decision has left me with a problem for this blog. What should it be about? I am a political scientist by training. But I don’t want to play “aint it awful?” and fill each week with atrocity stories and who is behind them.
But to concentrate on traditional theological issues is difficult. Our traditions are based on personal experience, small groups, and generally have no sacred texts to argue over. (Even us Gardnerians do not as a rule treat the Book Of Shadows as the kind of thing the Bible is supposed to be.) Many groups are secretive. We do not have corrupt church hierarchies or passionate disagreements about scripture or as to who is or is not a ‘real’ Pagan. That is good for us but bad for blog posts.
And I really have little use for Pagan gossip. Plus I doubt anyone could do a better job covering the most important news in our broader community than does Jason Pitzi-Waters and his blog, the Wild Hunt.
I am also a very private person and my personal life doesn’t seem very interesting to others anyway. It’s not bad, don’t get me wrong. At a personal level 2011 was the best year of my life. But it doesn’t seem newsworthy, particularly to people I don’t know. So what should my blog emphasize? Coming to a new vision for my blog was hampered by the efforts I was putting into finishing a manuscript, Faultlines: the 60s, the culture war, and the return of the Divine Feminine, on which I have worked for some years.
January 1 I finished it. I explore the current American cultural, religious, and political crisis and the rise of nihilism throughout our elites and particularly on the right as part of the collapse in a almost three century long effort to base the modern world on concepts inherited from agricultural societies and the religions that were shaped by them. This, even most modern secularists have searched for a secular version of the Christian God handing down moral commandments from on high. And those efforts have failed.
It is not much better in much American religion. The Christian church in particular seems mired in turning its back on the mind and heart by embracing a cold and angry Fundamentalism, or in seeking to break free from these assumptions about deity and the idolatry of scripture and explore as much as it is able the feminine side of God and how the sacred is immanent as well as transcendent. I wish the latter well for these approaches are in harmony with the world we have created over the past two and a fraction centuries and I think they are in harmony with spirituality as actually experienced by people. While the jury is out as to whether the Christian church will succeed in this effort at renewal, it is quite clear that failing to do so leads to irrationality and what I call religious nihilism: the theology of Will transcendent and the worship of Power.
Interestingly, in doing my research I saw that the efforts by Christians, Buddhists and those within other traditions to emphasize nature, ecology, the feminine, and immanence are gravitating to themes that have long been central to NeoPaganism. Often women within these other traditions who are exploring these themes mentioned Starhawk as an inspiration.
Here is something positive to explore, free from repeated immersion in the moral sewers of Republican and most Democratic politics. In 2010 I hope increasingly to explore how the entire world looks different when seen from a Pagan perspective. We Pagans are just learning this for ourselves, for we have grown up in societies shaped by 1500 years of monopolistic monotheism, with a deity often modeled after an omnipotent and omniscient despot. Alternative views were wiped out violently for most of that time if the church and its henchmen could do so. Much has been forgotten and even what has continued takes on a different form within the context of post agricultural modern society.
Yes, we are an Old People, as the song goes, an expression of some of humanity’s most basic spiritual insights and experiences. But as it says, we are also a New People, curiously harmonious with a world of science, cities, and technology. We are Deeper than before. Or at least we can be. I plan on concentrating on various dimensions of these themes in much that will appear over the next year or more.