the halcyon critique

This halcyon critique he makes is just cheap cheap cheap:

To the extent that descriptive parallels set the stage for moral ones, the gaps left by science are well positioned to be filled by sentiment. Mapping our bodies to an endangered world has a way of skewing the biomedical dialogue toward stock ecological narratives in which the trappings of civilization are inherently destructive, or the most valuable landscape is the one least shaped by human hands.

In this regard, the reparative spirit that has emerged in the public sphere with respect to the microbiome seems pre-loaded with a sense of culpability. Recently published self-help books on gut health favor a rhetoric of loss and rehabilitation in their service as guides to, for example, “restore your inner ecology.” Coursing beneath this nostalgia for times past is a subtle sort of primitivism, the knee-jerk tendency to view indigenous cultures as time capsules for physical vigor that civilization has elsewhere degraded

To which Paul Kingsnorth has probably written the best succinct response:

Critics of that book called it nostalgic and conservative, as they do with all books like it. They confused a desire for human-scale autonomy, and for the independent character, quirkiness, mess, and creativity that usually results from it, with a desire to retreat to some imagined “golden age.” It’s a familiar criticism, and a lazy and boring one. Nowadays, when I’m faced with digs like this, I like to quote E. F. Schumacher, who replied to the accusation that he was a “crank” by saying, “A crank is a very elegant device. It’s small, it’s strong, it’s lightweight, energy efficient, and it makes revolutions.”


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