Environmental Ethics

Volume 14, Issue 2, Summer 1992

C. A. Bowers
Pages 101-127

The Conservative Misinterpretation of the Educational Ecological Crisis

Conservative educational critics (e.g., Allan Bloom, Mortimer Adler, and E. D. Hirsch, Jr.) have succeeded in flaming the debate on the reform of education in a manner that ignores the questions that should be asked about how our most fundamental cultural assumptions are contributing to the ecological crisis. In this paper, I examine the deep cultural assumptions embedded in their reform proposals that further exacerbate the crisis, giving special attention to their view of rational empowerment, the progressive nature of change, and their anthropocentric view of the universe. I argue that their form of conservatism must be supplanted by the more biocentric conservatism of such thinkers as Aldo Leopold, Wendell Berry, and Gary Snyder.