From “politically correct” to “ecologically correct”
Contemporary culture is dominated by a new form of ideological dictatorship to which everything is adapted and sacrificed: the “politically correct”. This is well described in a recent book titled Politicamente corretto. Storia di una ideologia (“Politically Correct: The History of an Ideology”) (Editrice Marsilio, Venice 2018), written by Prof. Eugenio Capozzi, professor of contemporary history at the prestigious Sister Orsola Benincasa University Institute in Naples.
In it, the author ironically defines “politically correct” as “the homage that lie renders truth” (op. cit., p. 9), because it enables its followers to have these hypocritical attitudes: pretending to be non-conformists while imposing rigorous conformism; claiming to be an alternative to ideologies while propagating a recycled ideology; praising themselves as the “new inclusive humanists” while depriving real people from their essential dignity; claiming to be moralists while rejecting any objective morality. Indeed, they are “the extreme embodiment of progressivism, founded on a radical ethical relativism and on an equally radical idea of a subject’s self-determination” (op. cit., p. 13).
“Politically correct” is an ad hoc application of what is said to be “ideologically correct,” which is the program of the main postmodern ideology. It is a colorful galaxy endowed with an ecological version and branch intended to establish what is or is not “ecologically correct,” respectful of nature and the ecosystem or biosphere. Professor Capozzi devotes the fourth chapter of his book to it.
Since this chapter was written before the Preparatory Document for the Synod on the Amazon proposed by the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops had been released, it does not delve into it. However, this document fits perfectly into the general framework as a specifically ecclesial version and concrete application of the “ecologically correct.” Here it is not a question of adapting environmental programs to the needs of the common good, the moral order and above all the salvation of souls, but rather one of adapting Church thinking and pastoral care to the claims of the new ecological sect.
It seems useful to make a few clarifications about Prof. Capozzi’s well-documented in-depth analysis.
The three levels of environmentalism
Ecology, like many other questions, is diversified in several levels, each of which acts as a bridge to lift its adepts to the higher level. For the sake of convenience, here I distinguish three.
The first, initial level of ecology is not strictly ideological because it simply consists in committing oneself to the preservation of nature understood as creation, considered in its orderly and hierarchical coexistence and collaboration between the mineral, vegetable and animal worlds. Man is at the summit of creation. Since he is the apex, end and lord of the cosmos, man received from the Creator the task of guarding and governing it not only by exploiting it, but also by restoring and protecting it from his own messy desires. The Catholic Church has always admitted this ecology because it respects the hierarchy of created beings established by God and therefore submits the cosmos to the lordship of man. Today, this ecology must be encouraged to counteract the secularizing humanism that reduces nature to a mere field to exercise human abilities.
A second level of ecology is characterized by that which – using a theological term – we can call ecodulia or “veneration for nature.” Here the environmentalist elevates nature from an instrument to a value in itself for an autonomous purpose, and sentimentalism pushes him to anthropomorphize animal species (why not also vegetal and mineral ones?) by considering them, in an egalitarian way, as if they had a dignity equal to human dignity. This excessive and pathological attachment to natural beauty translates into an environmental commitment that makes people prefer living beings to humans.
Among the numerous and serious practical consequences, we have, for example, vegetarianism, a refusal to feed on animals, and vegetalism, a refusal to eat even vegetables (why not also refuse mineral products?). The Catholic Church has always rejected these aberrations as ridiculous and unworthy of man’s superior dignity over that of other creatures. Furthermore, by raising animals to the level of man, he is lowered to the level of animals by praising abortion and euthanasia, for example.
What we would call ecolatry or “idolatry of nature” (still using a theological term) characterizes a third level of ecology. At this level, an ecologist considers the cosmos (sometimes called Gaea or Gaia) as a living entity – unique, infinite, eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, in short, divine – that we must prefer and to which we must submit and sacrifice everything, including human life, because the emergence of humanity from the cosmos is considered as the “original sin” of nature (it is not clear whether nature committed it or suffered it).
Man is therefore condemned as an oppressor of the cosmos and a “cancer of the Earth,” and thus the ultimate egalitarian revolution will have to break down the last inequality that separates man from plants and minerals, as well as the “human imperialism” that prevents the fusion of all beings in the One (hen kai pan) desired by ancient pagan occultism. The environmental motto could be, “Fiat aequalitas, pereat homo!” [“Let Equality be Made, Let Man Perish!”].
This extreme ecologism is not content to take away man’s his primacy over creation or to reduce mankind to one of many species present in nature, but seeks to dissolve the human race in the cosmic cauldron of the goddess Gaea (or Gaia), eliminating man as the summit of creation.
Among its practical consequences, we have the project to reduce the number of people present on Earth as much as possible, for example, by eliminating all those considered as useless or harmful to nature, as they cannot be integrated into it, and turning them into animal feed or recycling material for the next phase of cosmic evolution. Propaganda for contraceptives, abortion and euthanasia, spread by environmentalists through well-known international bodies, favors this nihilistic project.
A new secular religion
These abominable and dangerous absurdities are not fantasies of a few mental patients. They have been proclaimed for centuries by acclaimed intellectuals, bioethicists, sociologists and politicians, ranging all the way from the Marquis of Sade to Pier Paolo Pasolini, Michel Foucault and Peter Singer. Pseudo-scientific movements such as the “complexity theory” or environmentalist movements such as Deep Ecology and the Gaia Movement, or animal rights activists like Greenpeace, are close to these theses and hope for their practical realization; the same happens with movements considered moderate, such as the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, the Club of Rome, and even powerful international institutions such as the World Health Organization, the UN, UNESCO, and the European Union.
Supported by mass media propaganda and by some cultural and political circles, radical ecologists now seek to regulate the daily life not only of nations but also of families and individuals by placing bans, extorting fines, issuing sentences, and imposing incarcerations. Today, abusing a dog is considered much more serious than killing an unborn child by abortion; tomorrow, eating a lamb at Easter will be a far more serious crime than cannibalism, now re-evaluated by anthropologists and theologians who praise the pagan tribes of Amazonia; the day after tomorrow, picking a potato will be a far more serious crime than removing the heart of a handicapped person to recycle it in the vital circuit of nature.
Ecological ideology intends to move from anthropocentrism to ecocentrism. For example, the common good of humanity is replaced by the “common good of the ecosystem” and therefore the old UN declaration on “human rights” is superseded by a new globalist declaration on the “rights of the Earth.” In this perspective, the old “social rights,” which protected individuals and weaker classes, will be supplanted by new “ecological rights” that will replace work with idleness, production with “happy degrowth,” progress with regression, wealth with scarcity, freedom from need with the slavery of necessity.
As Prof. Capozzi sees it, “all forms of radical environmentalism agree that the only way to guarantee environmental protection is to “rewind the tape” of history, stop development, return to a previous stage of civilization not out of nostalgia for an era or a form of traditionalism, but on the contrary, out of an aspiration to eradicate oppression and violence in order restore the innocence and purity of Eden even at the cost of extinguishing homo sapiens…. In the name of a cathartic aspiration to a sustainable life, in the name of redemption from the sin of existing, consuming, exploiting the Earth, the environmental Church … translates the secularization of the sense guilt and awareness of original sin, typical of all doctrines, into a most comprehensible form” (op. cit., pp. 160, 166).
Ecologism can therefore be considered as a translation of ancient anti-Christian Gnosis into forms of typically modern irreligiousness. However, it is presented to people with the seductive appearance of “a new secular religion” (op. cit., p. 155). It acts through preachers, prophets, saints, martyrs (and especially inquisitors) who celebrate rites, proclaim dogmas, impose moral codes, pass laws, and inspire international agreements and protocols to the detriment of the common good of their peoples and of humanity.
This new religion is nourished by fanaticism and false mysticism, necessary to impose ideas and practices otherwise unjustifiable by the common sense of humanity. Using a kind of apocalyptic prophetism, ecologists instill irrational fears that serve to create typical emergency situations that have always been the pretext of evildoers to impose on society guidelines, legislation and pacts that would otherwise be unacceptable under the rule of law.
The current prevalence of the “integral ecology” project demonstrates the failure of “integral humanism” proposed not only by communism, which claimed to overcome the historic contradiction between man and nature by “humanizing nature and naturalizing humanity” (Marx), but also of a pseudo-Christian personalism that claimed to overcome the historic contradiction between medieval theocentrism and modern anthropocentrism by building a “secular society.”
At any rate, if it is true that “history is the cemetery of ideologies,” soon it will also welcome the corpse of the environmentalist ideology, and ecology will become once again what it must be by definition: studying the conditions of the environment which man understands as “home” (oikos).