In my previous post about the gender politics of hurricanes, I mentioned some feminist professors’ suggestion that “feminist” thinking on natural disasters involves reverence for “mother earth.”
That brings me to an intriguing question.
Natural disasters (and unnatural ones as well, such as the September 11 terrorist attacks) are often followed by a lot of religious soul-searching, with people wondering how a good, merciful, all-powerful God could allow such terrible things to happen. (Not so much post-Katrina, perhaps because everyone was too busy pointing fingers at human culprits to blame God.)
The question is: how come the radical environmentalists — the ones for whom environementalism is not merely a commitment to securing a livable environment for human beings, but a nature religion — never ask these kinds of questions? Why doesn’t the “nature good, humans bad” crowd ever wonder how a good, benevolent, harmonious Nature can allow tens of thousands of her children to die horrible deaths? Think about it: if Mother Earth were really a mother, she’d have to be hauled in for child abuse.
Of course, some on the left root for destruction. As Vanity Fair‘s James Wolcott opined in a now-infamous post about a year ago:
I root for hurricanes. When, courtesy of the Weather Channel, I see one forming in the ocean off the coast of Africa, I find myself longing for it to become big and strong–Mother Nature’s fist of fury, Gaia’s stern rebuke. Considering the havoc mankind has wreaked upon nature with deforesting, stripmining, and the destruction of animal habitat, it only seems fair that nature get some of its own back and teach us that there are forces greater than our own. … So there’s something disappointing when a hurricane doesn’t make landfall, or peters out into a puny Category One.
(This post, by the way, is now prefaced by Wolcott’s snarky invitation to “right-wing bloggers” — which presumably includes everyone who doesn’t subscribe to his own brand of bien-pensant leftism — to go ahead and use this post as his “gift to them.” Thanks, Mr. Wolcott.)
The lady on the Women’s Studies List who thinks that the feminine principle is sadly out of balance in our world isn’t quite as eloquent as Mr. Wolcott, but she does think that “perhaps in its own way nature is trying to balance itself through the hurricane.” Sweet.
Tell me how this brand of hateful religious zealotry is different from the right-wing kind which holds that hurricanes are God’s punishment for assorted human sins?