A newspaper headline recently took us aback; then it made us laugh. “Sierra Club under siege by militant activists,” it read, topping a news account of how a cadre of animal-rights, anti-immigration and zero-population-growth radicals are attempting to seize control of one of the nation’s oldest, most venerable environmental groups.
But this is hardly news — The Sierra Club long ago was taken over by “militant activists” whose eco-centric world views consistently cast man in the role of destroyer, usurper, exploiter. Any further drift toward the lunatic fringe seems to us not like some sudden and hostile coup, but part of a natural and logical progression decades in the making.
Club insiders who oppose the attempt by animal rights and population control advocates to seize control of its governing board in upcoming elections reportedly worry that the shift in philosophy would alienate some of the group’s more mainstream members, including the 18 percent of Sierra Clubbers who reportedly hunt or fish.
But mainstream Americans probably began dropping their memberships years ago when they saw the club becoming both a predictable ally of the most liberal wing of the Democratic Party and a pioneer in the use of saturation litigation to bend public-lands policies to their will, or at least tie active public lands management in knots.
One Sierra Club insider was quoted as worrying the insurgents are “tapping into a strand of misanthropy that says human beings are the problem.”
The Sierra Club’s goal is “to protect nature for people,” according to its president. But misanthropy already permeates most positions the club takes. And it’s for people, as long as they don’t consume wood products or fossil fuels, drive SUVs, support the traditional “multiple use” of public lands or choose to enjoy those lands in ways the club deems to be recreationally incorrect.
“Militants” taking over The Sierra Club? No use worrying about that now. It happened years ago, when the sensible idea of conservation morphed into the virulently anti-capitalist, anti-industrial, human-hating attitudes of modern environmentalism.