- Series: Societas
- Paperback: 156 pages
- Publisher: Societas (May 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1845400984
- ISBN-13: 978-1845400989
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,758,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Enemies of Progress: Dangers of Sustainability (Societas) Paperback – May 1, 2008
"Austin Williams has a gift for lobbing well-directed grenades."(Philippe Legrain, author 'Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them')
"This is not a book about climate change, which is refreshing. It's too easy to see environmentalism as a political movement that has generated its own momentum, albeit preying on fears by amplifying facts from environmental science. Instead, the book shows that it is 'the poverty of ambition in political life' that the dynamic driving the sustainability agenda."(Ben Pile Culture Wars)
"A much needed diagnosis of the bleak anti-human pathology sometimes described as environmentalism."(Dominic Lawson, columnist for The Independent)
"Offers some interesting insights and questions to explore if we are to properly understand the stranglehold sustainability has over society... and how we might cut loose from it. For those excited about the potential of humanity to shape the world, Williams' book is a refreshing and useful polemic."(Tony Gilland IPA Review)
"Williams... identifies radical environmentalists as 'enemies of progress' who have fundamentally turned away from human development and advancement."(Peter Pesic Times Literary Supplement)
"Serve[s] as a corrective to unthinking acceptance of green arguments."(David Lorimer Network Review)
"A well argued humanist alternative to the present conformist consensus - a very persuasive contribution by a thoughtful subversive."(Frank Furedi, Professor of Sociology at University of Kent, and author of 'Politics of Fear' and ‘Where Have All the Intellectuals Gone’)
"Whatever your opinions on building sustainably, this book is a must-read, questioning the march towards carbon zero and giving a refreshing alternative to the green agenda."(Lucy Dixon Professional Housebuilder and Property Developer)
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For those interested in possibly buying this text, some of William's key arguments are as follows:
Sustainability is a dangerous concept that restrains human imagination
Human ambition is suppressed by sustainability's biocentric viewpoint
A progressive future relies on human-centered (anthropocentric) politics
Thesis statement: Sustainable development is the enemy of development; environmentalism is the enemy of humanism; ergo, sustainability is the enemy of progress (page 3)
The real fallacy is Williams steadfast framing of an argument with only two sides--humans or the environment; to use Williams' own vocabulary, that seems awfully "parochial" and altogether less than "progressive" thinking. For those readers (or potential readers) who believe that environmental problems are real and deserve attention and management, look instead to the much more progressive texts such as Bryan Norton's "Sustainability: Adaptive Ecosytem Management", which proposes adaptive management as a way to recognize and value real environmental problems while complementing the progessivist viewpoint and strongly rejecting any form of economic reductionism. Williams' argument is based on very outdated conservation versus preservation ideologies; however, many alternatives are available to those who are more pragmatic and believe that there is a middle way between the polarized views of the past.
This is an extremely weak argument against sustainability--if an argument at all--and does not provide any solution other than to continue "business-as-usual" approaches.
Mr. Williams, particularly in the last chapters of his book, demonstrates how the sustainable society ecofreak acts to destroy material, scientific and technological advancement in the Third World, thus leaving large masses of the population of the world in hopeless squalor and poverty. And what the ecofreak does to the developing world he will do to the the people of the United States and other developed countries if and when he is able to.
In effect Mr. Williams has demonstrated what a hateful creature the sustainable society ecofreak is - a vain, misanthropic, arrogant, controlling, imperialistic, demented, obscurantist, lying, elitist, technophobic enemy of humanity. This ecofreak must be stopped.