Breakthrough Blog has a fascinating post focusing on two bloggers from India who challenge the asceticism and anti-modernism of Gandhi, paralleling that with the similar views of the ascetic wing of the environmental movement
A few quotes to give the flavor.
When they hear Western environmentalist lionize Gandhi and moralize against coal burning in India, they hear the hypocritical rich wanting to deny prosperity for the poor.
As I learned more about him, I was less inspired by Gandhi’s view that India should embrace poverty, religion, and tradition against modern prosperity and freedom.
The problem with asceticism is simply this: asceticism is a rejection of the world around us. Asceticism places the concept (of nirvana) over the tangible (people).
“I don’t support conscious suffering,” Arduous writes, before quoting from Gandhi’s chilling, open letter urging the British people to give into the Nazis. “Let them take possession of your beautiful island, with your many beautiful buildings,” Gandhi counseled. “You will give all these, but neither your souls nor your minds.” It was a chilling coup de grace to nostalgic Western views of eco-Gandhi.
We can not and will not solve the problems of global warming and peak oil by rejecting the modern world and technology. Passivity is not the answer, nor is trying to retreat to a supposedly bucolic past that never existed in the first place. Rather, action and using the technological tools we have is how we will solve them.