The Seen & Unseen Things
Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850) wrote two books that should be mandatory reading for all Americans. The first is entitled simply The Law and the other bears the title That Which is Seen & That Which is Not Seen. As he opens his little work That Which is Seen & That Which is Not Seen, he writes this: “In the department of economy, an act, a habit, an institution, a law, gives birth not only to an effect, but to a series of effects. Of these effects, the first only is immediate; it manifests itself simultaneously with its cause—it is seen. The others unfold in succession—they are not seen: it is well for us if they are foreseen.”
Some might be thinking, “This is all well and good, but I am not an economist and quite frankly find economics boring.” That would be too bad, but Bastiat continues and reminds us that “the true economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil.” Then he adds, “In fact, it is the same in the science of health, arts, and in that of morals. If [sic] often happens, that the sweeter the first fruit of a habit is, the more bitter are the consequences.” In the course of his explanation, Bastiat encourages us by saying, “Let us accustom ourselves, then, to avoid judging of things by what is seen only, but to judge of them by that which is not seen.”
This is a great lesson for us, all the more because we want to take proper care of the earth. Progressive secularists believe that God’s words to man about having dominion over the earth and subduing it give Christians a carte blanche to rape the earth. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The clarion call in Genesis 1:26-28 is that true biblical stewardship and preservation entails doing things God’s way and thinking his thoughts after him. As a matter of information, this mandate continues to be directed to believer and non-believer alike. The only way a secular environmentalist can truly be an environmentalist is to acknowledge God and follow his directives.
In the long run, we want to make wise use of the resources that God has placed at our disposal, but, simultaneously, we must be acutely aware of the ideologies and presuppositions behind the current discussions—the things that are not seen. Everyone has an agenda. The U.N. has one as does the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that is connected to the U.N. Claim 1 of The Evangelical Climate Initiative states that The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the world’s most authoritative body of scientists and policy experts on global warming. The first part of that statement is patently false. 5,000 scientists signed the document, but 32,000 equally authoritative scholars refused to sign it. The phrase “policy experts” frightens me because it smacks of a room full of President Obama’s czars, like Van Jones, Mark Lloyd, and Cass Sunstein, just to mention a few.
Two people who carry no brief for Christianity, Janet Biehl and Peter Staudenmaier, have co-authored a little book called Ecofascism. Lesson from the German Experience. In the Introduction, they point out that “ecologism” has long roots “in nineteenth-century nature mysticism.” This would explain, in part, why the American counterparts to this history are also enamored of animals more than humans, like Cass Sunstein, who has imbibed heavily of the bioethics of Peter Singer. Mr. Sunstein, by the way, is America’s new regulatory czar, which portends of many yet unforeseen things that are not good.
But apart from the nature mysticism in Germany in the nineteenth century, these co-authors make a connection between the seemingly harmless and naïve nature mysticism and the rise of Hitler’s Third Reich. They inform us that “Nazi ‘ecologists’ even made organic farming, vegetarianism, nature worship, and related themes into key elements not only in their ideology but in their governmental policies.” Much of this easily translates into the American phenomenon of environmentalism. Both authors agree “that the ‘ecological scene’ of our time—with its growing mysticism and antihumanism—poses serious problems about the direction in which the ecology movement will go.”
The Green Wing of the Nazi Party
In 1934, Ernst Lehmann penned Biologischer Wille, Wege und Ziele biologischer Arbeit im neuen Reich. That groundbreaking work contained the following thoughts: “We recognize that separating humanity from nature, from the whole of life, leads to humankind’s own destruction and to the death of nations. Only through a reintegration of humanity into the whole of nature can our people be made stronger. That is the fundamental point of the biological tasks of our age. Humankind alone is no longer the focus of thought, but rather life as a whole…. This striving toward connectedness with the totality of life, with nature itself, a nature into which we were born, this is the deepest meaning and the true essence of National Socialist thought.” (Emphasis added.)
Lehmann’s expressions were already present in the thought of Ernst Arndt. Some of the nature mysticism about which the co-authors wrote is reflected in Arndt’s 1815 article on conservation and his concerns regarding deforestation. In that article, Arndt said this: “When one sees nature in a necessary connectedness and interrelationship, then all things are equally important—shrub, worm, plant, human, stone, nothing first or last, but all one single unity.” (Emphasis added.) In our modern situation, we could mention the fanaticism behind preserving a particular species of field mouse or the smelt fish in California.
If you go to bewaterwise.com, you’ll find statements on that site that emphatically state that California’s water supply is in such grave danger that we must conserve and for those who will not comply, the law will step in and levy fines. What they do not tell us there is that California has a dam that is 95% complete that will supply—more than adequately—the water demands for the entire state. The problem, however, is that greenies have put a stop to the completion of the dam through excessive, bogus litigation because of their inordinate concern about the smelt fish. Never mind that they have been assured that the precious smelt fish (we all enjoy a nice dinner of smelt, don’t we?) is in no harm. The upshot of this litigation is that many farmers in California cannot get adequate water for their crops, so their farms are shutting down. What is clear in what ostensibly concerns the environment is Arndt’s notion that man is no better than a shrub, worm, or tit mouse. Anyone with a modicum of sense ought to see how absurd this is. Every Christian, surely, ought to see and comprehend that being made in God’s image places man on a different scale than a smelt fish.
In the latter half of the nineteenth century, Germany experienced a phenomenon called the völkisch Bewegung. Essentially, this movement was in reaction to the rise of industrialism, capitalism, and urbanization. This movement reveled in the nature mysticism already present and prevalent among some social engineers in Germany. These thinkers “preached a return to the land, to the simplicity and wholeness of a life attuned to nature’s purity.” It was this notion that brought with it a plethora of cultural prejudices and that had a profound impact on twentieth century political discourse in Germany. This led, in time, to the actual coining of the term “ecology” by the German zoologist, Ernst Haeckel. What is interesting about Haeckel is he was “the chief popularizer of Darwin and evolutionary theory for the German-speaking world, and developed a peculiar sort of social Darwinist philosophy he called ‘monism.’”
Regarding the concept of monism, Peter Jones writes, “In the deconstructed postmodern world of fractured beliefs and autonomous, unconnected people, the goddess brings good news. She offers an integrated worldview that addresses the great concerns and hopes of our day: ecological wisdom, economic justice, human rights, women’s liberation, equality and harmony between the sexes, personal significance, global peace, utopian dreams, and deep spirituality.” Clearly, obviously, there is a powerfully strong religion component both to America’s infatuation with environmentalism as well as Germany’s. Jones adds, “the new, global religion seeks to undermine Christianity by presenting itself as cutting edge spirituality that will save the planet, and Christianity as hopelessly and intolerably out of touch. According to this approach, Christianity’s worldview has ‘been slowly dissolving from Western consciousness.’”
Matthew Fox wrote Coming of the Cosmic Christ, with the subtitle, “The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance.” Jones sees through the façade and concludes, “In other words, ecology leads us to this new religion of union with all creatures.” What we call ecology or environmentalism did not just appear on the radar screen. It has a long history and we all would do well to heed just how pagan it is.
 Frederic Bastiat, That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen, (West Valley City, UT: Walking Lion Press, 2006), p. 1.
 Ibid., 8.
 Janet Biehl & Peter Staudenmaier, Ecofascism, (Edinburgh: AK Press, 1995).
 Ibid., 1.
 Ibid., 2.
 Ibid., 7.
 Ibid., 7-8.
 Peter Jones, Capturing the Pagan Mind, (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2003), p. 70.
 Ibid., 80.
 Peter Jones, Spirit Wars, (Escondido, CA: Main Entry Editions, 1997), p. 57.
Labels: Global Warming/Climate Change