Environmental Ethics

Volume 19, Issue 2, Summer 1997

John R. E. Bliese
Pages 135-151

Traditionalist Conservatism and Environmental Ethics

Environmentalism is usually thought to be a liberal political position, but the two primary schools of thought within the conservative intellectual movement support environmentalism as well. The free market perspective has received considerable attention for its potential contributions to environmental protection, but the traditionalist perspective has not. In this essay, I consider several important principles of traditionalist conservatism. The traditionalists are not materialists and are highly critical of our consumer culture. They reject ideology and stress piety toward nature, the intergenerational character of society, and prudence in political and social action. These basic principles are a solid foundation for environmentalism.