Wilful Blindness: population boosting and other crimes against humanity

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Wilful Blindness: population boosting and other crimes against humanity

Wilful Blindness by Margaret Heffernan: population boosting and other crimes against humanity.

Very interesting book review at href=/comment/7954#comment-7954


One of the most prominent ways in which people justify their harmful practices is by using arguments about money to obscure moral and social issues. Because we can't and won't acknowledge that some of our choices are socially and morally harmful, we distance ourselves from them by claiming they're necessary for wealth creation. Nowhere is this more dangerous, he argues, than in our attitudes to the environment and population growth. The easiest way for those who resist calls to curb population growth, and who oppose environmental controls, is to represent themselves as the good guys because they just want to make everyone better-off.

'To defend their positions, they can't say "Sure, we're the bad guys and we want to rape and pillage the planet",’ Bandura told me. 'They have to vindicate harmful practices that take such a heavy toll on the environment and the quality of human life-they have to make out that what's harmful is, in fact, good. And one way they do that is to use the notion of nature as, in fact, an economic commodity. So they see nature in terms of its market value rather than its inherent value.'

That's why, Bandura argues, those who claim to love nature can also support, for example, drilling for oil in Alaska. They can't see themselves as destroyers, so they position themselves as the rational liberators of natural wealth.

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