Eco Fascism

To what lengths would you go to save the environment? Would you take up veganism? Would you only buy second-hand clothes? Well, Eco Fascists would argue that they would be willing to forcibly reduce the Earth's population through violent and authoritarian means to prevent overconsumption and environmental damage. This article will discuss what Eco Fascism is, what they believe, and who developed the ideas. 

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    Eco Fascism definition

    Eco Fascism is a political ideology which combines the principles of ecologism with the tactics of fascism. Ecologists focus on the relationship of humans with the natural environment. They argue that current consumption and economic practices must be altered to become environmentally sustainable. Eco Fascism is rooted in a particular type of ecologism called deep ecology. This type of ecologism advocates radical forms of environmental preservation, such as population control, as opposed to the more moderate ideas of shallow ecology, on the grounds that humans and nature are equals.

    Fascism, on the other hand, can be summarised as an authoritarian far-right ideology which views individual rights as insignificant to the authority and doctrine of the state; all must obey the state, and those who resist will be eliminated by any means necessary. Ultranationalism is also an essential element of fascist ideology. Fascist tactics are often radical and range from state violence to military-style civilian structures. This Eco Fascism definition, therefore, takes the principles of ecological and applies them to Fascist tactics.

    Eco Fascism: A form of fascism which focuses on deep ecology ideals surrounding environmental preservation of 'the land' and the return of society to a more 'organic' state of being. Eco Fascists identify overpopulation as the underlying cause of environmental damage and advocate using radical fascist tactics to combat this threat.

    An 'organic' state of being refers to the return of all people to their place of birth, for example, minorities in Western societies returning to their ancestral lands. This can be done through relatively moderate policies such as suspension of all forms of migration or more radical policies such as mass extermination of ethnic, class or religious minorities.

    Eco Fascism characteristics

    Characteristics such as the reorganisation of modern society, rejection of multiculturalism, a race's connection to the Earth, and the rejection of industrialisation are key Eco Fasicm characteristics.

    Reorganisation of modern society

    Eco Fascists believe that in order to save the planet from environmental destruction, societal structures must change radically. Although they would advocate for a return to a simpler life that focuses on the preservation of the Earth, the means by which they would achieve this is a totalitarian government which would use military force to enact required policies, regardless of the rights of its citizens.

    This is in contrast to other ecological ideologies like Shallow Ecology and Social Ecology, which believe that our current governments can enact changes in a way that can take human rights into account.

    Rejection of multiculturalism

    Eco Fascists believe multiculturalism is a leading cause of environmental destruction. Having so-called 'displaced populations' living in foreign societies means that there are too many people competing for land. Therefore Eco Fascists reject migration and believe it is morally justifiable to forcibly expel 'displaced populations'. This element of the ideology shows why a totalitarian regime is needed for Eco Fascist policies to be enacted.

    Modern Eco Fascists routinely reference Nazi Germany's ideas of 'living space', or Lebensraum in German, as an admirable policy that needs to be enforced within modern society. Current governments in the Western world adamantly reject such hostile concepts. Thus radical change would be needed to enact them.

    A race's connection to the Earth

    The idea of 'living space', which Eco Fascists advocate, is rooted in the belief that humans share a spiritual connection with the land they are born on. Modern-day Eco Fascists look strongly to Norse Mythology. As journalist Sarah Manavis describes, Norse Mythology shares many of the 'aesthetics' that Eco Fascists identify with. These aesthetics include a pure white race or culture, a desire to return to nature, and old tales of strong men fighting for their homeland.

    Rejection of industrialisation

    Eco Fascists have an underlying rejection of industrialisation, as it is attributed as a leading cause of ecological destruction. Eco Fascists often cite emerging nations such as China and India as examples of cultures that oppose their own, using their emissions output as proof of a need to return to racial purity at home.

    However, this ignores the long history of growth and industrialisation in the Western world, and critics of Eco Fascism would point to this as a hypocritical stance, given the history of colonialism in the emerging world.

    Eco Fascism key thinkers

    Eco Fascist key thinkers are credited with developing and guiding the ideology's historical discourse. In the West, early ecologism in the 1900s was most effectively advocated by individuals who were also white supremacists. As a result, racist ideologies paired with fascist methods of policy execution became entrenched within environmental policies.

    Roosevelt, Muir, and Pinchot

    Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, was a vigorous advocate of environmental conservation. Alongside naturalist John Muir and forester and politician Gifford Pinchot, they collectively became known as the environmental movement's forefathers. Together they established 150 national forests, five national parks and countless federal bird reserves. They also worked to establish policies which would protect animals. However, their conservation acts were often grounded in racist ideals and authoritarian solutions.

    Eco fascism, Eco fascism Key Thinkers, StudySmarter President Theodore Roosevelt (left) John Muir (right) in Yosemite National Park, Wikimedia Commons

    In fact, the very first preservation act, which established a wilderness area in Yosemite National Park by Muir and Roosevelt, forcefully evicted indigenous Americans from their native land. Pinchot was Roosevelt's head of the US Forest Service and endorsed scientific conservation. He was also a dedicated eugenicist who believed in the genetic superiority of the white race. He was on the advisory council for the American Eugenics society from 1825 to 1835. He believed that the sterilisation or elimination of minority races was the solution to preserving 'superior genetics' and resources to maintain the natural world.

    Madison Grant

    Madison Grant is another key thinker in the Eco Fascist discourse. He was a lawyer and zoologist, who promoted scientific racism and conservation. Although his environmental pursuits led some to call him the "greatest conservationist that ever lived" 1, Grant's ideology was rooted in eugenics and white superiority. He expressed this in his book titled The Passing of The Great Race (1916).

    The Passing of The Great Race (1916) presents a theory of the Nordic race's inherent superiority, with Grant arguing that 'new' immigrants, meaning those who could not trace their ancestry in the US back to colonial times, were of an inferior race who were threatening the survival of the Nordic race, and by extension, the US as they know it.

    Eco Fascism overpopulation

    Two thinkers notably contributed to the spread of the ideas of overpopulation in Eco Fascism in the 1970s and 80s. These are Paul Ehrlich and Garret Hardin.

    Paul Ehrlich

    Eco Fascism, Eco Fascism Overpopulation, StudySmarter Paul Ehrlich, Circa 1910, Eduard Blum, CC-BY-4.0, Wikimedia Commons

    In 1968, Nobel Prize recipient and scientist Paul Ehrlich published a book titled The Population Bomb. The book prophesied the environmental and societal demise of the US in the near future due to overpopulation. He suggested sterilisation as a solution. the book popularised overpopulation as a serious issue during the 1970s and 80s.

    Critics suggest that what Ehrlich saw as an overpopulation problem was actually the result of capitalist inequality.

    Garret Hardin

    In 1974, ecologist Garret Hardin published his theory of 'lifeboat ethics'. He suggested that if states were to be seen as lifeboats, the rich states were 'full' lifeboats, and the poorer states were 'overcrowded' lifeboats. He argues that immigration is a process by which someone from a poor, overcrowded lifeboat jumps and tries to get into a rich lifeboat.

    However, if the rich lifeboats keep allowing people to get on and reproduce, they will eventually all sink and die due to overpopulation. Hardin's writing also supported eugenics and encouraged sterilisation and anti-immigrant policies, and for the richer nations to conserve their land by preventing overpopulation.

    Modern Eco Fascism

    Modern Eco Fascism can be distinctly identified in Nazism. Hitler's leader of agricultural policy, Richard Walther Darre popularised the nationalist slogan 'Blood and soil', which referred to his belief of nations having a spiritual connection to their land of birth and that they should preserve and protect their land. German geographer Friedrich Ratzel developed this further and coined the concept of 'Lebensraum' (living space), where people have a deep connection with the land they live in and move away from modern industrialisation. He believed that if people were more spread out and in touch with nature, we could reduce the polluting effects of modern life and solve many societal problems of the day.

    This idea was also coupled with ideas surrounding racial purity and nationalism. It would go on to influence Adolf Hitler and his manifestos, arguably justifying invasions to the East to provide 'living space' for his citizens. As a result, modern Eco Fascists commonly reference racial purity, the return of racial minorities to their homelands, and authoritarian and even violent radicalism in response to environmental issues.

    In March 2019, a 28-year-old man carried out a terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing fifty-one people worshipping in two mosques. He was a self-described Eco Fascist and, in his written manifesto, declared

    Continued immigration... is environmental warfare and ultimately destructive to nature itself.

    He believed that Muslims in the West could be considered 'invaders' and believed in the expulsion of all invaders.

    Eco Fascism - Key takeaways

    • Eco Fascism is a political ideology which combines the principles and tactics of ecologism and fascism.

    • It is a form of fascism which focuses on deep ecologist ideals surrounding environmental preservation of 'the land' and the return of society to a more 'organic' state of being.

    • Eco Fascism characteristics include the reorganisation of modern society, rejection of multiculturalism, rejection of industrialisation and the belief in the connection between a race and the Earth.

    • Eco Fascists identify overpopulation as the underlying cause of environmental damage and advocate using radical fascist tactics to combat this threat.
    • Concerns regarding overpopulation were popularised by thinkers such as Paul Ehrlich and Garret Hardin.
    • Modern Eco Fascism can be linked directly to Nazism.

    References

    1. Nieuwenhuis, Paul; Touboulic, Anne (2021). Sustainable Consumption, Production and Supply Chain Management: Advancing Sustainable Economic Systems. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 126
    Frequently Asked Questions about Eco Fascism

    What is Eco Fascism?

    Eco Fascism is an ideology which combines the principles of Ecologism with the tactics of Fascism with the goal of environmental preservation.

    What are the characteristics of Eco Fascism?

    The main characteristics of Eco Fascism are the reorganisation of modern society, rejection of multiculturalism, a race's connection to the Earth, and the rejection of industrialisation.

    What is the difference between Fascism and Eco Fascism?

    The main difference between Fascism and Eco Fascism is that Eco Fascists just use the tactics of Fascism in order to preserve the environment, while Fascism is not concerned with environmental issues. 

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