This past week Ted Rall's Sleeper Agent made fun of those who would blame environmentalists for the deadly earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
You might be asking yourself: Who would do such a thing/ And even a man had such an impulse, how could it possibly be done? How could you blame environmentalists, who reflexively recoil at nuclear energy, and endlessly warn of the dangers of ignoring the earth, for this disaster?
Who could manage such a feat, and how?
Answer, a leading columnist in the Los Angeles Times, who pointed the finger at John Muir.
Believe it or don't. First he points out how Muir was excited by earthquakes in Yosemite, and ran outside to observe one bring down a portion of a Yosemite wall, back in l872.
How could anyone anywhere thrill to an earthquake? So mocks Gregory Rodriquez. Having personalized the disaster, he then goes on to psychologize:
…when nature turns on us once too often, we may decide it's better to fight back than to defer.
That sentiment was expressed last January during Australia's devastating floods. Columnist Chris Gardiner, who contributes to a News Corp. commentary site called The Punch, reacted to the devastation by arguing that humans "should resist the naive nature worship" and "seek to direct and pacify its destructive outbursts."
Rodriguez links this fundamentally right-wing reaction with the emerging idea that the best way to protect nature is to "scale up" the city, as preached by David Owen in his Green Metropolis.
But under these noble sentiments is anger, is it not? Somehow Rodriguez feels betrayed by the earthquake. Because of that he says in his headline, he wants to "get the upper hand on nature."
It's the fundamental impulse of so many op-eds: to lay blame and demand control.
But credit where it's due. To blame John Muir, long gone from this earth even before the conception of nuclear power, for a deadly earthquake, tsunami, and reactor catastrophe in Japan!