From chapter "Supremacism"
Today I read an article in The New York Times entitled, “In Alaska, a Battle to Keep Trees, or an Industry, Standing.” The article details how in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, the United States Forest Service is planning on putting out its biggest timber sale—read: giveaway—in more than ten years: 9.7 square miles of old growth forest, home to many endangered species, such as the Alexander Archipelago wolf (population less than 1300, and falling). The Forest Service has plans to “sell”—read: give away—another eleven square miles of ancient forest in the near future.
Well, we know the answer to that: this culture hates the natural world, and is doing everything it can to destroy life on this planet.
Let’s ask again: why?
Because this culture is enslaved to authoritarian technics. Even the title of this article gives that away, pretending that in decision-making processes an industry should, for some insane reason, be given equivalent weight to the life of a biome.
Of course representatives from the Forest Service would not answer this honestly.
So now let’s ask it in a way they can possibly answer honestly: what excuses are they using in order to destroy these forests?
“The Forest Service argues that it must keep southeast Alaska’s loggers and sawmills in business until a replacement source of timber is ready: second-growth forests, now maturing on lands where virgin forests were clear-cut.” In other words, the Forest Service and timber industry are doing what the Forest Service and timber industry do, which is to deforest a region, and then when the region is deforested, use this prior deforestation as one of their many excuses for even more deforestation. The article cites the Tongass Forest supervisor, a more-or-less standard tool of the timber industry named Forrest Cole, as saying, “The industry here is quite small today, and it is kind of on the edge of existing or not. And if we lose it, this whole idea of a transition to a new young-growth industry will probably fail immediately.”
Never mind the endangered species and the natural communities who are “on the edge of existing or not.” They are never of primary importance to these people.
I want to point out a few things. The Forest Service and the timber industry have already deforested more than 700 square miles in the Tongass National Forest. These timber “sales” have been, as I alluded to, giveaways, with the Forest Service selling old growth trees for less than the price of a hamburger. No, I’m not making that up. These timber giveaways have not only devastated the region, but have cost US taxpayers over a billion dollars. Nearly all of these trees, and nearly all of these subsidies, have gone to two— count ’em, two—huge corporations. These two corporations conspired to drive countless small family handloggers out of business. These corporations have also, no surprise, been consistent polluters. Most of the trees have either been pulped (so, yes, members of this culture have been wiping their asses on toilet paper or looking up pizza delivery places in Yellow Pages made with old growth trees from this region) or sent unmilled to foreign (mainly Japanese) markets. In order to destroy these forests, the Forest Service has punched in more than 4,500 miles of roads. Of course, US taxpayers paid for those roads. And of course, the nonhumans who live in the area have paid with their lives for those roads. But none of that matters, really, to human supremacists. None of it ever matters to them. What matters to them is slavishly serving the technics, in this case getting out the cut.
I want to point out something else: 94 percent of the old growth on Prince of Wales Island, where this timber “sale” is planned, has already been cut. This “sale” would cut into those remaining margins.
And I want to point out something else: because of prior deforestation, the timber industry in that part of Alaska at this point only employs about 200 people.
Even excluding harm to the real world, the current subsidy amounts to about $130,000 per worker.
We’d all be better off if the US government just handed them $100,000 each and told them to stay home.
Or how’s this for an idea? Pay them to help the forest to heal. Or an even better idea: since they’ve already shown themselves willing to destroy the forest to make money—shown themselves willing to destroy forests at all—pay someone else, perhaps someone who loves forests, $100,000/year to actually help the forest to heal. I know plenty of people who could use the money, and who are hard workers. And most importantly, they actually love forests.
But that won’t work, since it would violate the first principle of both free market capitalism and of authoritarian technics, which is that destructive activities must have priority in receiving handouts.
Environmentalists are suing the Forest Service to stop the “sale.” One of their primary arguments is that the “sale” could drive the Alexander Archipelago wolf closer to extinction.
The New York Times article gives Forest Service Ranger and timber industry shill—but I guess that’s nearly always redundant, isn’t it?— Rachelle Huddleston-Lorton the last words on why the sales must go forward: “Without the mills, there’s no timber industry, and without the Forest Service’s second-growth sales, there are no mills. We’ve got to keep the mills alive.”
Yes, she actually said that. “Keep the mills alive.” “Alive.” Of course she did. Not wolves. Not forests. Not salmon. Not living beings. Not biomes. Mills.
Are we all starting to see how authoritarian technics control society?