Sustainability as Conservative Ideology

Mitchell Langbert

  • Article
  • January 18, 2011

Environmentalist ideology in the guise of sustainability is everywhere. It is pap. The words sustainability, conservation and conservatism are linked. They suggest protection of the status quo. Until the Progressive era Americans were not concerned with conservation because they assumed that progress would make life better. Sustaining the status quo paled beside a glowing manifest destiny. Perhaps today's progressive interest in sustainability is an admission that the left is not progressive but conservative. We ought to dissect the claims of the sustainability ideologues. Malthus made the argument for the inevitability of scarcity at the beginning of the 19th century. The explosion of technological innovation in Jacksonian, laissez faire America proved Malthus wrong. After nearly two centuries of economic progress, the 20th century's Progressivism stalled progress and reduced Americans' expectations to the point where the claim that sustainability is progressive is made with a straight face.

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