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Web Letter

Bill McKibben's last paragraph is childish ideationist nonsense. Hyper-individualism, pure and simple, is what done it, ayyup!

McKibben is a grand theoretician, and he has stated a ridiculous theory of how to bring about dramatic social change, and thereby save us all. McKibben "knows" that ideas cause everything, and he has isolated the one gigantic causal idea of hyper-individualism. All material and political causative chains are ruled out. Using the precise language of McKibben's simplistic theory: the root idea that "has damaged our society, our climate and our private lives" is without qualification hyper-individualism.

Therefore; "the real poison of the last few decades" is that "We let (this causative poison) dominate our political life." We just "let" the poison of hyper-individualism take over. What happened or what ideas caused everything before the "last few decades" is left to our personal literary preferences and imaginative fancies. Precisely how hyper-individualism "took over completely" from whatever dominant ideas preceded the absolute ascendence of hyper-individualism is so problematic that McKibben doesn't give us a clue.

Once "spontaneously" removed, the all causative hyper-individualism will be replaced by better ideas--"a renewed sense of community" and "working together." Shazam, a wonderful world of communities working together will appear magically.

In his own childish words, McKibben's theory is: "ideas cause behavior"; therefore, if you change the causal ideas, Shazam, comes dramatic social change.

McKibben's intellectual ideationism is a glaring example of logic going terribly wrong with complete confidence. Find the root causal idea, change it and Shazam! McKibben presents his literary intellectual analysis and subsequent magical solution without hesitation or qualification.

Read McKibben again and ask yourself if there is any information at all in his simplistic intellectual gibberish. McKibben is a well-known and widely published authority on our environmental crisis. He teaches at Middlebury College, one of the most prestigious and expensive small colleges in the world.

As an antidote to rampant ideationism, I suggest a brief statement from cultural materialist Marvin Harris: "Only when behavior is brought into the picture and rooted in material conditions can we understand the forces that compel the thinking of certain thoughts rather than others."

gerald a. spezio

Santa Margarita, CA

Mar 11 2009 - 11:16am