“Anthropofascism”: The birth of a concept

In April 2008, I was writing a final paper in a graduate school seminar.   Among the various assigned readings had been various theorists from the far academic left that labeled radical environmentalists and even environmental activists in general as “eco-fascists.”  I wasn’t buying the accusation, and concluded my paper as follows:

The problem of freedom will continue for the foreseeable future as the struggle continues between postmodernist projects to defeat any metanaratives and efforts like those of Connie Barlow, Thomas Berry, [Edward] Abbey, and others to see in science a new way to deal with [Max] Weber’s problem of meaning.  Kathleen Dean Moore, in her The Truth of Barnacles, rejects the so-called fact/value distinction and “naturalistic fallacy,” arguing that through a “Sense of Wonder,” we humans can acquire moral directives toward the natural world.  “The same impulse that says, this is wonderful, is the impulse that says, this must continue.  A sense of wonder that allows us to see life as a beautiful mystery forces us to see life as something to which we owe respect and care.”  Theologian John Haught argues in the same vein.   This is anathema to social constructionists.  This might lead someone to restrict human “freedom.”  Ultimately, the postmodern obsession with human liberty, regardless of the cost, is ultimately an even more malignant version of dominion theology than the type criticized by [Lynn] White.  At least that version had some notion of humanity’s fallenness and sinful, selfish tendencies to serve as a counter-balance, a call to restraint.  Postmodernism has jettisoned even these slight constraints, leading to a justification of what I call “Anthropofascism,” turning the social constructionists’ notion of “eco-fascism,” as the term they apply to the alleged excess of regulation that can perhaps flow from a biosphere-centric perspective,  back upon them.  Anthropofascism is the proclivity of [John] Muir’s “Lord Man” [in his essay “Cedar Keys”].  As Paul Wapner has noted, postmodernism threatens efforts to preserve the natural ground upon which any human “social” construction must occur.   We seem to have come full circle back to the Sophists and the Skeptics of early Greece.   How this will play out is still unknown, but it doesn’t look good.  Heaven help us!

 

Since April 2008, I have found many more examples of anthropofascism.  It is distinguished from the Mammonofascism of neoliberal elites running transnational corporations.  For them, it is the fictive commodity of money — that “social contrivance” as the economist Paul Samuelson once called it — around which all human activity must be organized and ultimately subordinated for the extravagant benefit of an elite few.  The anthropofascist represents an extremist form of humanism.  Their manifestations and theorizing will be explored here.

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About HDT 5

biospheric academic, engaged scholar, and activist
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