Ecologist Magazine: Using Machines Is “Morally Comparable” With Slavery.

‘The Ecologist’, widely considered to be the most influential environmental magazine, has published an article which asserts that using machines that require “fossil fuels” (for example, petrol in your car, or gas for your stove) is “morally comparable” with owning slaves.

The article, entitled “Climate Change: We Are Like Slave Owners” bases its case on two separate but linked arguments:

First, slaves and fossil-fuelled machines play(ed) similar economic and social roles: ‘energy slaves’ (machines powered by fossil fuels) now do the work in our homes, fields and factories, which used to be carried out by slaves and servants in the past . . .

Second, in differing ways, suffering resulting (directly) from slavery and (indirectly, through Climate Change) from the excessive burning of fossil fuels are now morally comparable. When we burn oil or gas at a rate that exceeds what the ecosystem can absorb, we contribute to global warming, which in turn contributes to droughts, floods or hurricanes. These climatic events cause suffering to other human beings, today and in the future. They contribute to crop failures and put some people at risk of falling into debt bondage, a condition similar to traditional slavery.

The Ecologist, 29th Dec. 2010. Climate Change: We Are Like Slave Owners

This condemnation of machinery, on what are extremely tenuous grounds is a favourite topic for The Ecologist magazine, which has been arguing for the abolition of labour-saving devices since it was first published.

An article in 1977 by its founding editor, Edward Goldsmith (brother of the noted corporate raider and industrialist, Sir James Goldsmith, who financed the magazine) discussed phasing out machines and how it could be done. Goldsmith argued that “The consumer goods we wish to phase out must simply be removed from the market“. The new ecologically-oriented society Goldsmith envisioned would not need such things:

To suggest that dish-washing machines and other domestic appliances should be phased out would meet with instant opposition. These [machines] are undoubtedly needed in a family of but two or three people and in which both husband and wife must go out to work. They would become quite unnecessary, however, once the family had become re-established and eight to ten people once more inhabited the same house

The Ecologist, Vol. 7, No. 4, May 1977, De-industrialising Society

Goldsmith fantasized that environmental disasters and general alienation would lead to a general disenchantment with modern society and that would provide the opportunity to put these plans into action:

At this point panic will set in and people will grope about frantically for an alternative social philosophy with an alternative set of solutions. The most attractive is likely to be the most radical – the one which provides the best vehicle for expressing the reaction to the value of industrialism.

De-Industrialising Society.

This phasing out of machinery was seen by The Ecologist as part of a “rural revolution” for society, and they were particular excited by the example of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

In an 1975 article Robert Allen (later Head of Publications and a Senior Policy Advisor for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the IUCN) defended the Khmer Rouge against the “distortions” that had been appearing about them in the media, arguing that the Khmer Rouge had to force the sick out of the hospitals and into the fields otherwise there would be too many “exceptions” to their program of agrarian communism. The Ecologist saw in the ‘Year Zero’ program of the Khmer Rouge an exciting possibility that could be copied in the West as well. Of course, people in Western society had been so brainwashed by consumerism that they would have to be ‘forced to be free’:

If Cambodia succeeds in forging a rural economy, it will force us to appraise the prison of industrialism. Most men and women today are slaves who if offered their freedom would reject it, refusing to spend the time that freedom requires.

The Ecologist, Vol. 5, No. 6, July 1975. The City is Dead

The article ended with The Ecologist congratulating the Khmer Rouge and the people of Cambodia on their approach:

They deserve our best wishes, our sympathy, and our attention. We might learn something.

The Ecologist, Vol. 5, No. 6, July 1975. The City is Dead.

The Ecologist magazine was founded in the late 1960s by Edward Goldsmith and funded by his brother, Sir James Goldsmith the noted corporate raider, industrialist and financier. The editorial staff came from the Soil Association’s Mother Earth magazine following the death of its editor in 1963, the well known fascist Jorian Jenks, formerly Oswald Moseley’s Secretary of Agriculture for the British Union of Fascists (1).

1) Graham Macklin, Very Deeply Dyed in Black: Sir Oswald Moseley and the Resurrection of British Fascism After 1945 . (I.B. Taurus & Co: London, 2007) P. 65.


17 responses to “Ecologist Magazine: Using Machines Is “Morally Comparable” With Slavery.

  1. Without affordable energy and without machines we become the slaves that is what the proponents of the global warming myth want.

  2. If anyone from Ecotard magazine happens to be reading this then may I suggest that you stop talking the talk and instead actually do something to prove how sincere you are.

    Throw away your computers and start chiselling your magazine on slabs of stone. Of course, delivering all those heavy tomes via donkey-sled (no wheels allowed) may prove to be a bit of a problem – oh, sorry, can’t enslave any donkeys either. I guess you’ll just have to put on your boots and get out and… oops, boots are made by machines so it will have to be bare feet… dang, you might drop page three on your big toe and you won’t be able to call an ambulance because your bit of string and two tin-cans won’t reach the cave that houses the hospital… bugger, no ambulances anyway….

    Yes, it really is a stupid argument, isn’t it?

  3. Gob. Smacked. I can see where their starting point and eventual return is – Victorian stratified society. The same era which gave birth to Fabianism. Regression as a means of ‘progress’. How Orwellian.

    They’re talking about doing away with dishwasher machines, in 1977? I only got one last year and it was second hand. Even then the State had set about breaking families by incentivising smaller family units. Things would move in the direction the likes of Goldsmith was advocating if the State *stopped what it was doing* rather than requiring it from doing something in the other direction.

    Why is the ‘solution’ never for a plurality of communities operating as the population of those communities have consented to do rather than using mob rule? Where does this fetish for bossing people around come from?

    “These climatic events …”

    Could someone remind The Ecologist that “droughts, floods [&] hurricanes” are weather not climate. An area that has little rain is already a desert. A drought is a weather event. Places that flood regularly are river deltas and flood plains. Irregular floods are weather events. Hurricanes are weather systems. A slight warming of the world, on average and with little credible historical record to compare it to, will be handsomely drowned out by the natural variability of the weather and seasons, and changes in land use.

  4. What does ‘The Ecologist’ think powers their computers? Watemills? What do they use to chop down the trees that produce their crap magazine? Solar powered chainsaws? I say get off the grid and stop harranging the rest of us if you eco-nuts want to make a difference.

    The Ecologist is the green equivalent of a sensationalist tabloid such as the National Enquirer [USA] or the Sun [UK].

  5. Wow. That bit about the Khmer Rouge is news to me. Just wow.

    It’s becoming painfully clear that the mass media has been in the habit of supporting/promoting these green activists/thinkers and yet has never actually read the material they produce.

    It appears we’ve now got a lot of history to catch up on.

  6. Pingback: Fossil Fuels Morally Equivalent To Slavery | Real Science

  7. HuntingTheLibrary,
    You can’t make this s*it up!
    Summary: cold water kills crabs in uk, someone blamed warm sea.

  8. Pingback: BlackPride » Blog Archive » Fossil Fuels Morally Equivalent To Slavery | Real Science

  9. Brent Hargreaves

    I just discovered the Haunting The Library site. Seems to me that it is focussing beautifully on the ecofascists’ agenda. Darn good selection of topics, I say.

    This item on the Ecologist magazine is in line with the anti-development, anti-democracy, anti-energy worldview. The Luddites want to take all the benefit from our advanced civilization, yet advocate that everybody else should return to some preindustrial paradise. Hypocrites, they are.

    I hope that HauntingTheLibrary gains a wide readership.

  10. TIP
    Carbon Monoxide:

    “CO Levels At 2000 Year Low, Humans Credited”
    “Reconstruct past CO variability and its causes have come up with a shocking fact: CO levels are at a 2,000 year low. Apparently, humans actually prevent wildfire, reducing the release of carbon monoxide and, consequently, CO2.”


  11. Pingback: Ecologist Magazine: Using Machines Is “Morally Comparable” With Slavery. «

  12. Far out.

    The Kmher Rouge offed the “intellectuals” by which they meant those with high school educations or better, and wore glasses.

    Obviously these deranged types don’t see themselves as intellectuals which is OK by me, but who are they writing for?

    • I think such people earnestly believe that they will be valued and honoured members of the new regime when it comes into power.

      In reality, they are usually the first to be taken outside and shot, as they have served their purpose.

  13. Pingback: Eye on Britain (2)

  14. This just shows that ‘sustainability’ is just a weasel-word for subsistence. The thought of slavery is uppermost in their minds because that is what they really want. Perhaps they are too tight to want to pay their employees (nothing new).

  15. You’ve got a real talent for spotting the deranged, HTL. Congrats; a wonderful specimen!

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