George Walford: Why Not Us Too?

Will we give England back to the oak trees? Probably not, yet until we do we stand on shaky ground when agitating for conservation of the Amazonian rainforest.

Will we give up industry and agriculture, return to scratching the ground with a hoe, use nothing more sophisticated than the bow and arrow? Probably not, yet until we do we stand on shaky ground when agitating for the Amazonian Indians to retain their traditional way of life.

It is not as if they had expressed a strong and unanimous desire to remain as they are. Rather the contrary. The Yanomamo seize every opportunity to get closer to civilised ways of living [see Shotguns in Eden [in] IC63], and after Brazil restricted tree-felling, several hundred Indians staged a protest march in support of their right to sign logging contracts. ‘Indians love technology. To say [Amazonian] Indians should stay as they are, should not have the benefits of white man’s technology, is racism. Of course we will hunt with rifles if we can – it is much easier than bows and arrows.’ (Paiakan, a Kayapo chief, quoted in the Observer 5 June).

Perhaps the Amazonian Indians should move to London while some of our conservationists take their place, putting their beliefs into practice.

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In the Sixties and Seventies [American] liberals promised they could end poverty, crime, and a host of other social blights by tinkering with the system, and they failed. The public watched as liberals ushered in a proliferation of new legislation, government agencies and bureaucratic red tape. After it was over, the sweeping and unrealistic promises went unfulfilled. The American people, in turn, began to equate liberalism with incompetence, naivete and the squandering of public monies on every social problem in sight.

Jeremy Rifkin 1979 The Emerging Order; God in the age of scarcity NY: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 6. Quoted in Kepel, The Revenge of God, 134

from Ideological Commentary 64, June 1994.