Why Greens should be Politically Incorrect (Pourquoi les Verts devraient être politiquement incorrects) par Aidan Rankin
Wigwam Montagnais-Naskapi du Québec-Labrador (Innu) en hiver
A disturbing new trend is beginning to emerge in 'First World' cities and indigenous communities alike. It is a trend that challenges education's true meaning. For, around the world, books are disappearing from school shelves.
This is not due to financial cutbacks, but outbreaks of 'political correctness'. Teachers remove from library shelves books about military heroes, explorers, hunters and conquerors, on grounds of 'imperialist', 'racist' or 'sexist' attitudes, thus contributing to the alienation and delinquency of their male pupils, and a wider alienation of their school from the community it serves. By imposing this form of censorship, 'progressive' educators weaken local cultures, rather than supporting them by adding new layers of knowledge. Their work becomes counter-educational. It undermines confident traditions, but puts nothing in their place except a void filled by cynicism, nihilism and a sense of grievance.
One example is a school in Labrador, Canada, where hunting is condemned by modern, Western-educated teachers, despite the fact that the children are Innu, a sub-Arctic people who have long thrived on sustainable hunting, and revere the animals they hunt.
The Innu do not present their society as an ideal one, but it has evolved legitimately. They have developed over centuries of life as nomadic herdsmen their own social system, their own law and their own view of man's place in the universe, which worked very successfully until a larger, more arrogant culture started to impose its will. In the past, the main threat to Innu identity came from missionaries, then from administrators who assumed that it was always better for people to 'settle down' and live in houses, or shop in supermarkets instead of hunting in 'remote' areas better designated for mining or military bases. Now, it comes from 'progressive' western educators, campaigners and, ironically, spokesmen for the values of 'freedom' and 'rights'.
In the supposedly developed world, the desire by liberal, western elites to impose a uniform pattern on society has created new social divisions. It has produced fragmented communities whose troubles are akin to those of conquered 'natives'. Within Innu settlements, alcoholism, family breakdown and domestic violence are now endemic, and suicide rates the highest in the world. Further north, the Inuit, who have recaptured a measure of self-government, have been reduced to welfare dependency by 'environmentalist' attacks on hunting and trapping.
The thinking behind the original forcible settlement of the Innu was inspired by the false belief that history is a straight line of 'progress', moving inevitably forward, riding roughshod over local peculiarities and distinctive cultures, leading us towards ever-larger units of government and an ever more global culture. It is this vision of historical inevitability which ecological politics, to have any meaning, should challenge. Too often, however, ecologists ally themselves with the progressive supremacists. They claim to oppose the globalisation of the economy, yet champion the globalisation of culture.
Green politics should be culturally conservative. This does not mean it should be 'right-wing' in the conventional sense. It means that it should include a critique of the idea of progress, a wish to restore natural equilibrium to economics, social organisation and humanity's relationship with the planet. High Tories and utopian socialists once found common ground in opposing the excesses of the Industrial Revolution. Similarly today, a bond can be forged between small-conservatives who value tradition over change, small business over large corporations, and socialists who value local communities over centralised governments, co-operation over centralised planning.
The true ecologist need not be a political animal at all, for his views should reflect the practical wisdom of ordinary people. He should believe, with Aristotle, that political institutions evolve organically and that there should be limits to the size of states. With Edmund Burke, the French Revolution's critic, he should believe that 'rights' have little meaning without cultural roots, and that the only real social contract is 'a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are dead and those who are yet to be born'.
The mistake made by many modern Greens is to ally themselves less with those who wish to conserve traditional ways of life, and more with those who wish to impose a 'politically correct' fundamentalism that gives economic globalisation its cultural underpinning. PC fundamentalists deny that human communities evolve naturally in different ways. Whether leftists or neo-liberals, they place abstract rights before accumulated wisdom.
Like previous totalitarian movements, modern political correctness thrives on ritual denunciation. Those who reject the idea that male and female roles are interchangeable are 'sexist', those who believe in a strong defence policy are 'militaristic', those who oppose the free movement of labour and capital are 'xenophobic'.
Ecologists who accept today's politically correct definitions of 'progress' are acting against the underlying logic of Green politics. For the whole point of being Green is to conserve cultures, to recognise that human diversity is part of 'biodiversity'. Green politics should be proud to be politically incorrect, and to challenge the tyranny of universal progress.
Source: The Ecologist, June 2000.
Aidan Rankin was born in 1966 in Melbourne, Australia, but returned to the UK with his parents in 1972. He spent his childhood in Hampshire and North London (where he served five years imprisonment at boarding school). He has an MA in Modern History from Oxford University and a PhD in Political Science from the London School of Economics. The latter took him to South America, where he was based in Montevideo studying the transition to democracy in Uruguay, with some comparative material from Argentina, Chile and Brazil. He has since worked as press officer for Survival International, the NGO that campaigns for indigenous peoples, lectured and run a research programme at the LSE and worked as News Editor for Jain Spirit.
Aidan has contributed articles and reviews to numerous publications, including The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement, The Times, The New Statesman, Spectator, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, New Vision, Insight (Journal of the Theosophical Society) and Next Future (Sri Aurobindo Society). He is the winner of the Literati Award for Excellence for contributions to the European Business Review. Aidan is a trained stress management consultant and is on the National Council of the Theosophical Society.
Aidan became interested in spiritual issues because he realised that the social sciences, political science in particular, only scratched the surface of the human predicament and that a more rounded approach was needed. His most recent book, Healing Wisdom from India, brings the spiritual and political worlds together and transcends traditional boundaries within both.
Aidan lives in South-West London with his partner Brian.
"Like most people in the Western world, I’d had little or no exposure to Shinto, the ancient, traditional spirituality of Japan. It was never included in my mental list of wisdom traditions and, I am now ashamed to say, if I thought about it at all I’d dismissed it as merely a set of rituals that Japanese people traditionally observed out of habit rather than conviction. How wrong I was.
The author traces the history of this ancient tradition (whose origins date back and astounding 16,000 years) and introduces its key concepts of Kami (creative energy), Kannagara (going with the flow) and Musubi (organic, sustainable growth). But Shinto cannot be reduced to simplistic terms. When you try to put these concepts into rational boxes, as I was doing at first, they jump out again, switch boxes. Eventually I realised they can only be understood properly at an intuitive, ‘aha!’ level. It occurs to me that Shinto is a lot like water. You can drink it, bathe in it and use it for a hundred and one different purposes but you can never actually grasp it. Just when you think you’ve understood it, it shape-shifts again, trickling out through your clutching fingers. And that’s because, like life itself, it never stops growing, moving changing, adapting…which is why it is still alive and well after so many millennia.
I had just finished reading this book when the devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan. People here were marvelling at the way the Japanese people handled this tragedy. Was it stoicism? Far from it. It was Shinto in action: flowing with what happens: staying grounded: staying deeply tuned to Nature, tempestuous aspects and all. Like a rooted tree, bending in the wind. Saying ‘yes’ to life.
As Rankin says, “Shinto is a life-affirming faith that embraces tradition and innovation equally and helps us to reconnect with nature. It is a spiritual pathway for our time.”
Reviewed by Marian Van Eyk McCain http://greenspirit.org.uk/bookreviews/2011/11/shinto-a-celebration-of-life-by-aidan-rankin/
Vidéo d'une entrevue avec Aidan Rankin au sujet de son livre "Shinto, a Celebration of Life": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnaK8r42TiQ
Masala Tour: entrevue du Dr. Atul K. Shah avec Aidan Rankin, auteur des livres: "Shinto, a Celebration of Life", "The Jain Path - Ancient Wisdom for the West" and "Many-Sided Wisdom - A New Politics of the Spirit" : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmcAQTMOSGU
Review of the Jain Path, by Aidan Rankin. By Michael T. Caley, The Trumpeter (Journal of Ecosophy, University of Athabasca, Canada), Vol. 23, N°2 (2007): http://trumpeter.athabascau.ca/index.php/trumpet/article/view/974/1376
Green Karma, by Aidan Rankin. Originally printed in the JANUARY- FEBRUARY 2008 issue of Quest magazine. Citation: Rankin, Aidan. “Green Karma.” Quest 96.1 (JANUARY- FEBRUARY 2008): 17-20. http://www.theosophical.org/publications/1268
Symbole officiel du Jaïnisme représentant la Cosmographie jaïne et sa devise : Parasparopagraho Jivanam (« les vies se doivent un mutuel respect »). La paume de la main représente la non-violence, le réconfort moral et la compassion
Symbole Jaïn ; le svastika est un symbole majeur du jaïnisme. Ici, les points bleus entre les branches du svastika représentent les quatre mondes : en haut à gauche, le monde des hommes ; en haut à droite, le monde des dieux ; en bas à gauche, le monde des animaux et des plantes ; en bas à droite, le monde des démons : seul le monde des hommes est ouvert à la délivrance, grâce aux trois joyaux (en vert) du jaïnisme (vision juste, connaissance juste, conduite juste), qui permet d'accéder à la libération du cycle des réincarnations (le candra-bindue : en jaune).
Les Trois Joyaux, (sanskrit : triratna ; pâli : tiratana ; chinois : sānbǎo 三宝) est le terme commun au jaïnisme, à l'hindouisme et au bouddhisme, désignant des trois qualités indissociables que sont l'Éveil ou Curiosité (jué 觉), la Droiture ou Sagesse ou Équité (zhèng 正) et l'Altruisme (jìng 净), sans lesquels aucune civilisation ne saurait naître ni perdurer. (...)
Présentés aussi sous la forme "Apprendre, Comprendre et Partager", ils sont le pendant positif des Trois Poisons (sanskrit : triviṣāṇi ; chinois : sāndú 三毒; japonais : sandoku 三毒) L'Ignorance (ou Obscurantisme), l'Intolérance (ou Colère, Xénophobie, Orgueil) et l'Avidité (ou Cupidité, Convoitise, Égoïsme, Jalousie).
Source: Wikipedia ( articles "Jaïnisme" et "Trois Joyaux")
L'Irlandais R.H. Edmund Burke (1729-1797), auteur des immortelles
Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790).
« The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing » ( La seule chose nécessaire au triomphe du mal est l'inaction des gens de bien).
« Dans une nation de galanterie, dans une nation composée d'hommes d'honneur et de chevalerie, je crois que dix mille épées seraient sorties de leurs fourreaux pour la venger (la Reine) même d'un regard qui l'aurait menacée d'une insulte ! Mais le siècle de la chevalerie est passé. Celui des sophistes, des économistes et des calculateurs lui a succédé : et la gloire de l'Europe est à jamais éteinte ».