Green Authoritarianism

Environmental hazards are just the kind of threat—the enemy—which authoritarian regimes need. A main purpose of Lean Logic is to argue that there is another option: lean thinking, which does not tell people what to do, but sets up a clear frame of reference which stimulates—pulls along—the ingenuity and intelligence of people to develop their own responses.

Green authoritarianism starts innocently with sensible-sounding regulation, and then grows without limit: it has the advantage that it never has to be argued through because it short-circuits straight to the begged question: “You have to do [whatever the government happens to want you to do today] in order to tackle climate change—and if you make trouble, you are clearly an enemy of the planet.”

Green authoritarianism fails to activate citizens’ intelligence and motivation; it refuses to recognise the decisive significance of local detail; it discards the potential of trust and imagination; it does not understand incentives; it presents environmental action in terms of adversarial politics, instruction and surveillance; it is committed to the impossible task of protecting the status quo, rather than going along with the creative evolution of the Wheel of Life; it guarantees failure; it lacks presence and it is bad manners.


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David Fleming
Dr David Fleming (2 January 1940 – 29 November 2010) was a cultural historian and economist, based in London, England. He was among the first to reveal the possibility of peak oil's approach and invented the influential TEQs scheme, designed to address this and climate change. He was also a pioneer of post-growth economics, and a significant figure in the development of the UK Green Party, the Transition Towns movement and the New Economics Foundation, as well as a Chairman of the Soil Association. His wide-ranging independent analysis culminated in two critically acclaimed books, 'Lean Logic' and 'Surviving the Future', published posthumously in 2016. These in turn inspired the 2020 launches of both BAFTA-winning director Peter Armstrong's feature film about Fleming's perspective and legacy - 'The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?' - and Sterling College's unique 'Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time' online courses. For more information on all of the above, including Lean Logic, click the little globe below!

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