Hall of Shame
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Outside magazine, May 1996
Hall of Shame
Books for a Brown World
Gilgamesh, The oldest literary work in history stars a hero, the Sumerian king Gilgamesh, who achieves glory by killing the forest demon Huwawa. “It is a sorry fact of history,” notes Robert Pogue Harrison in Forests: The Shadow of Civilization, reflecting on this allegorical act of clear-cutting, “that human beings have never ceased reenacting the
Discourse on Method, by Ren‹ Descartes. The father of modern science argues that animals are nothing but automata, incapable of speech, reasoning, or even sensation. His mechanistic view of nature has dominated Western thought ever since.
The Grundrisse, by Karl Marx. Communism’s main man saw eye-to-eye with capitalists when it came to the environment. In this work, Marx argues that the “great civilizing influence of capital” is that it rejects the “deification of nature,” so that “nature becomes for the first time simply an object for mankind, purely a matter of utility.” Sadly,
The Ultimate Resource, by Julian L. Simon. “Natural resources are not finite. Yes, you read that correctly,” writes economist Simon, who argues that human ingenuity will overcome every environmental challenge. Many of his predictions-that energy demands would be eased by the 1990s, for example, thanks to the mining of moon rocks and the use of
The Way Things Ought to Be, by Rush Limbaugh. In chapters such as “Animals Have No Rights-Go Ahead and Lick That Frog” and “Sorry, but the Earth Is Not Fragile,” the duke of dittoheads levels attack after attack at “long-haired maggot-infested” environmentalists. We’d be laughing at his downright silliness-but the book sold more than 2.5 million