Re: SOC: Kirkpatrick Sale's "Bioregionalism"

From: Michael Lorrey (
Date: Wed Mar 28 2001 - 08:20:07 MST wrote:
> [This essay is well worth reading as one of the deeper and more thoughtful
> expositions of what might be called "entropianism", and points to the
> outlines of what could come to be the political and ethical heart of the
> "anti" movement I study and write about so often.]
> Could 'bioregionalism' be the way out of our environmental crisis?
> Kirkpatrick Sale puts the case for the political philosophy he helped to
> develop.
> IN A few years ago, writing a biography of Christopher Columbus for the
> quincentenary of his discoveries, I came across a wonderful Spanish term -
> querencia - usually translated as 'love of home'.
> But it is useful to look at
> Columbus for a bit, for he is a part of the problem (as well as carrier of
> the problem) for which querencia - and bioregionalism itself - is the
> solution.

Ah, they've rediscovered Nationalism (talk about Looking Backward!!!)

> Columbus never knew a home in all his travels, never experienced a love of
> place, much less a deep fellowship with any particular part of land or sea.
> He was in that sense tragically symbolic of the culture from which he sprang,
> the culture he was to implant in the New World. Europe was a society of
> restless and rootless people, ...
> And nowhere more so than in the Americas, especially the part settled by
> successive waves of European immigrants, ...
> today 20 per cent of its population changes residence every year (as against
> 8 per cent in the UK, for example), where social cohesion is so thin that its
> murder and incarceration rates are the highest in the world, and the barest
> minimum of civic participation (ie voting) engages less than half the
> population at best, and then but once every four years, that is the
> inevitable result of being what historian Samuel Morison has called a
> 'tenacious but restless race' - never knowing, except in rarest incidences,
> the comfort of querencia.

Despite the fact that this social decohesion and mobility existed long
before the contemporary problems of voter apathy and high crime and
incarceration rates. The 'problems' of our society are strictly a matter
of our diverse demographics. For example, based on the crime and
incarceration rates of Australia's aboriginal peoples, relative to their
numbers, if they existed in Australia in similar ratios as the US's own
african american minority, Australia would have violence and
incarceration rates even higher than the US currently has. Britain's
relatively low murder rates, and its growth this past century in crime
has gone hand in hand with growth in minority populations.

This is not due to a lack of love for place, but a lack of love for a
social ethic, a common basis of liberty and freedom. Minorities, due to
the discrimination, prejudice, and past injustices, do not feel a
similar trust in the institutional social ethic embodied in things like
our Constitution, our trust inherent in the social contract between
fellow individual citizens.

> Surely that is why this nation, and the industrialised system it has spawned,
> has so little regard for the natural world. We don't live on any one part of
> the land long enough to know very much about it, and it enters our
> consciousness mostly only when we wish to exploit it. In that sense Americans
> today are the true inheritors of the early settlers whom Alexis de
> Tocqueville described as 'insensible to the wonders of inanimate nature' and
> 'unable to perceive the mighty forests that surround them till they fall
> beneath the hatchet'. And for all our efforts here in America to establish a
> huge park system and protect wilderness areas, our truest character is
> revealed in our unabated urbansuburban sprawl, a paving over of three million
> acres of US farmland by 1995 and now gobbling up more than twice as much land
> as just 15 years ago.

Despite the fact that more of our land is preserved in parkland than
almost any other nation on earth.... but lets not be confused by the

> Given the consequences today of living in a system devoted to the rapidest
> exploitation of the natural world for the rapidest accumulation of junk,
> surely it is not fanciful to feel that some such identification with place as
> querencia implies is a necessary antidote; and the sooner the better. Surely
> it makes sense to imagine a society divided into territories and communities
> where love of place is an inevitable byproduct of a life mindful of natural
> systems and patterns experienced daily - however far removed this may seem
> just now for the gigantic, destructive society around us.
> First, an economy guided by what Edward Goldsmith has called the 'laws of
> ecodynamics' - principally conservation as the 'basic goal of behaviour' and
> stability as the optimum norm in nature, but including also economic
> interactions based on cooperation rather than competition, and enterprises
> governed by regardful selfsufficiency rather than imperialism or globalism.
> It would have to be careful about drawing down resources, processing, using,
> and recycling them, and it would follow the general rule of nature that all
> processes are circular. The goals would be potlatch distribution rather than
> private accumulation (both within and between communities) and general
> apportionment of resources rather than individual ownership.

Ah, now we are seeing them bringing in Socialism under a new name of
'potlatch distribution'. What do you get when you combine Nationalism
with Socialism?

> Given coherent and limited populations, some forms of democracy would be
> possible, and even consensus might be a goal, but neither would be necessary
> as long as political arrangements were voluntary and placespecific.

In other words, "We don' need no steenking democracy!" (I seem to recall
Lenin saying such things, that since the Party represented the will of
the people, that other parties were counterrevolutionary.)

> Third, a society following such ecological principles as symbiosis and
> division,

Resurrecting social parasitism.

> the first directing cooperation among groups and communities within
> a bioregion - between countryside and town, for example - and the second
> assuring that none became too large or overbearing. The optimum population of
> community and region would be easy to determine, knowing that the human
> community could not grow so large as to harm or dislodge any other floral or
> faunal community or the air and water shared among them, and groups would
> need to limit their size or break off and form new settlements if they grew
> too big.

Ah, meaning, "We decide where you can live and work, and how many
kiddies you can have." Yes, they did that both in the Soviet Union AND
in Nazi Germany.... everyone gets internal passports and the state
controls where you can work, where you can build, what you can own, and
who you can marry....

Lets call a spade a spade: They are simply Nazis without the

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