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Bad Ideas and Bad People

By Seth Nicholls

Fascism is a political philosophy which exalts a nation or race over the individual person. Fascism is defined by its dictatorial governmental power, the regimentation and control of both economy and society, and the brutal oppression of all opposition. I want to call particular attention to fascists' focus on dividing a society, thus creating a hierarchy of the exalted over the oppressed.

Ecofascism is a term that’s been used by many people across the political spectrum with a variety of meanings, often as an insult towards all environmental activists or to describe a totalitarian government which forces citizens to sacrifice themselves for the good of nature.

My bro Eddy (shout-out to my man) refers to ecofascism as “fascism with trees.”

I want to use ecofascism relatively little during this piece because I feel it’s uncertainty of use makes it more difficult to discuss. I do not wish to use the term in any way that would misrepresent the problems and people I am discussing today.

Regardless, I am discussing the intersection between fascism and environmentalism, particularly about how fascists make use of environmental issues to justify their violent and oppressive actions. A prime target of such violence and such environmentalist justifications is the migrant population, who fascists blame for contributing to overpopulation and therefore damaging the environment. This blame inevitably leads to the regimentation and oppression of migrants, best shown through “Lifeboat Ethics.”

Lifeboat ethics refers to an analogy that equates immigrants entering a country to drowning people sinking a boat. The Finnish writer Pentti Linkola explains the analogy in his 2009 book Can Life Prevail: “What to do, when a ship carrying a hundred passengers suddenly capsizes and there is only one lifeboat? When the lifeboat is full, those who hate life will try to load it with more people and sink the lot. Those who love and respect life will take the ship’s axe and sever the extra hands that cling to the sides.”

Linkola’s statement here condones and even encourages institutionalised violence against the immigrant population, regarding murder as an act that would love and respect life if it is used to cull the undesirable overflow of our population. Lifeboat ethics attempts to shift the blame for murderous and oppressive action onto the victim by framing them as a villain who wishes to “sink the boat.” Not only does this condone the breach of human rights and abject violence towards the disenfranchised migrant population, it downplays other sources of damage to the environment. The analogy also supports a nationalist narrative where your country becomes the position of safety, a lifeboat floating away unharmed as the ship burns down in the distance, which is threatened by those who wish to find refuge aboard your lifeboat. This mindset alienates us from the global community and reinforces a competitive and isolationist approach to a problem that threatens the entire world, a problem that requires cooperation across the world to achieve.

I want to show how facism blends with environmentalism within the context of modern New Zealand by lending undeserved attention to the nationalist movement “Action Zealandia.” Action Zealandia demonstrate their fascist views through their demand for racial segregation as far as the establishment of ethnostates, their ultranationalist beliefs justified by a racial connection to the land of Aotearoa, and the fact that one of their own plotted to start an armed fucking terrorist cell. Action Zealandia claims to value a sustainable Aotearoa and have strong opinions about what causes such an environment to be disrupted - mainly the migrant workforce for causing “overpopulation” and the globalised market for hiring such a workforce.

It is important that as we continue towards the devastating economic and environmental consequences of climate change that we keep a straight head about the solutions provided to us.

It is important that as we continue towards the devastating economic and environmental consequences of climate change that we keep a straight head about the solutions provided to us and those who provide us with questionable means towards environmental health. The real and deserved fear that you have towards the health of Mother Nature is used by these fascist thinkers to push you towards racist, authoritarian, and violent methods that benefit their narratives of social hierarchy and ethnonationalism. Your eye is drawn from the companies that continuously pollute our environment and the systems that financially incentivise those companies to continue.

  • When engaging with environmentalist discourse and forming your views on what we should do for a society, I ask you keep several questions in mind:

  • What peer-reviewed studies support the claims and solutions that someone is making?

  • How many human rights violations may result from the solutions they provide?

  • Are there any factors that the writer does not take into account or that they downplay the importance of?

  • How much do they focus on the damage caused to their race’s community? Kind of weird they’re focusing on that, hmm?

All in all, I wish you well in these coming months. Maybe the rest of 2020 will be a touch more gentle with us. Have a good day.


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