Ecofascism / Fascist Ideology: The Green Wing of the Nazi Party and its Historical Antecedents by Peter Staudenmaier
environmentalism mention him as the earliest example of 'ecological'thinking in the modern sense.
His remarkable 1815 article
On theCare and Conservation of Forests,
written at the dawn of industrialization in Central Europe, rails against shortsightedexploitation of woodlands and soil, condemning deforestation and itseconomic causes. At times he wrote in terms strikingly similar tothose of contemporary biocentrism: "When one sees nature in anecessary connectedness and interrelationship, then all things areequally important -- shrub, worm, plant, human, stone, nothing first orlast, but all one single unity."
Arndt's environmentalism, however, was inextricably bound up withvirulently xenophobic nationalism. His eloquent and prescient appealsfor ecological sensitivity were couched always in terms of the well-being of the
soil and the
people, and his repeatedlunatic polemics against miscegenation, demands for teutonic racialpurity, and epithets against the French, Slavs, and Jews marked everyaspect of his thought. At the very outset of the nineteenth century thedeadly connection between love of land and militant racist nationalismwas firmly set in place.Riehl, a student of Arndt, further developed this sinister tradition. Insome respects his 'green' streak went significantly deeper than Arndt's;presaging certain tendencies in recent environmental activism, his1853 essay
Field and Forest
ended with a call to fight for "the rightsof wilderness." But even here nationalist pathos set the tone: "Wemust save the forest, not only so that our ovens do not become cold inwinter, but also so that the pulse of life of the people continues to beatwarm and joyfully, so that Germany remains German."
Riehl was animplacable opponent of the rise of industrialism and urbanization; hisovertly antisemitic glorification of rural peasant values andundifferentiated condemnation of modernity established him as the"founder of agrarian romanticism and anti-urbanism."
These latter two fixations matured in the second half of the nineteenthcentury in the context of the
movement, a powerful culturaldisposition and social tendency which united ethnocentric populismwith nature mysticism. At the heart of the
temptation was apathological response to modernity. In the face of the very realdislocations brought on by the triumph of industrial capitalism andnational unification,
thinkers preached a return to the land, tothe simplicity and wholeness of a life attuned to nature's purity. The
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