The Wilderness Obsession

The American Spectator - 5/11/2010

The environmental movement in America began as a defense of nature against man. But what we call "nature" is a human construct, and when Thoreau and John Muir set out to protect the unspoiled wilderness, they were really trying to create the unspoilt human being who would walk in it.

All the most vigorous environmental initiatives in America, from the national parks movement and the Sierra Club to Earth Day and the Wilderness Society, have been dedicated to the wilderness idea. The motive has seldom been to protect or improve the human habitat, but to make trails into the pristine hinterland, where the American people can breathe the pure air of Eden, and cast off the burden of original sin, which is the sin of the city.

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