Elizabeth Chatterjee in the LRB:
A few minutes before 22 people were murdered in a Walmart in El Paso on 3 August, in a now-familiar ritual of American gun violence, a manifesto was uploaded to the fringe online forum 8chan (tagline: ‘Embrace infamy’). For the most part, the four-page screed parroted standard white supremacist themes, warning of a ‘Hispanic invasion’ while fretting that the 8chan community might find its contents a little ‘meh’. Yet the manifesto’s title, ‘The Inconvenient Truth’, suggested a second fixation. Its opening lines praised the lengthy statement published on the same forum five months earlier by the New Zealand mosque attacker – a self-proclaimed ‘eco-fascist’ – and it name-checked an unexpected source: Dr Seuss’s 1971 environmentalist children’s fable The Lorax.
The link between environmentalism and racism isn’t new. Romantic advocates of pristine ‘wilderness’ often sought to exclude poor and native populations. Madison Grant, who helped to found the Bronx Zoo, Glacier National Park and the Save the Redwoods League, was also the author of the eugenicist tract The Passing of the Great Race (1916). Hitler called the book his ‘bible’. A green wing of the Nazi movement saw vegetarianism, organic farming and nature worship as the natural corollary of the party’s racial obsessions. Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists advocated a return to the land. After the war, the BUF’s agrarian adviser, Jorian Jenks, was one of the founders of the Soil Association.