Owen Paterson is Enlightenment Man in the modern day. OP believes that the environment needs to be improved and repeats this at every opportunity. He also promotes individualism and the public benefits derived from private profit-making. This is his central ethical magnetic pole. He is a neo-conservative, beyond neo-liberal.
Paterson is a natural quote machine. Witness last week’s Today interview, on the day Nature Check was published:
The environment is such a huge, vast, all-encompassing tableau”
“Otters have come back, thanks to water privatisation.”
“Last week I visited a fantastic private nature reserve.”
“These are very active campaigning groups – they have very subjective views [on the Government] which are unfair.”
“We have a long term programme to leave the environment better than before.”
on green belt: “we cannot freeze the country in aspic.”
on biodiversity offsetting: “if an environmental asset needs to be removed, it will be improved elsewhere.”
It’s clear – OP is about Improving the environment, being Objective not Subjective, Progress is all, the Private realm delivers far better than the state.
Paterson reeks of the enlightenment, when men threw off the shackles of superstition and religious hegemony, while transferring the notion of man’s dominion over nature from a religious to a rational basis. He is clearly revulsed by nature – talking of Mycobacterium bovis (cause of bovine TB) as this “disgusting bacterium”, and his portrayal of those opposing genetically modified Golden Rice as “wicked.”
Paterson genuinely believes that the human race can and must overcome everything that nature can throw at us, through Nietzschean force of Will, or through technological supremacy. Nature must be subdued.
He is not alone – look at the RSPB’s TV adverts – we must make new homes for nature (sponsored by Rightmove). It won’t be too long before we see evicted badgers searching on the righmove website – select “rural or urban”, “one entrance or two”, “inside outside a cull zone”.
George Monbiot argues nature can look after itself and doesn’t need our help. There is a broad continuum between GM, RSPB and OP –
OP – wildlife must be managed to avoid it going bad/disgusting/wicked
RSPB – Build new homes for Nature
GM – Let Nature Decide.
Where do you Stand?