12 APRIL 1997, Page 56

Country life

Who's fooling whom?

Leanda de Lisle

I would love to have read about the roots of the Green movement — an archaeology of their ideas. The Green movement in Germany spent 20 years after the war shak- ing off its associations with the National Socialists. But what was it that linked them? Some Nazis were attracted to pagan nature worship and Professor O'Hear sug- gests the Green movement may have simi- lar religious underpinnings. The Nazis, like the Greens, also believed that the world was a limited resource threatened by an expanding world population. But the Greens, as O'Hear points out, have yet to tell us 'how the levels of population they prefer are to be achieved', or, indeed, who will be allowed to inherit the earth. What is clear is that they are not interested in investigating the possibility that a better managed world would support more people in greater comfort.

The Greens combine a socialist distaste for private enterprise, with a Luddite desire to smash all machinery. If the people of the Third World were as rich as people in the West, it's likely that they would limit their families in the same we do. But that's not the way forward chosen by the Greens. So are there any hints as to what their way forward might be? O'Hear examines the National Forum for Values in Education and the Community's statement on 'Values in the Context of the Environment' and quotes their view that 'We should under- stand the place of human beings within the world'. What, he wonders, do they mean by that?

'Very different answers to this question would be given by Aristotle, Aquinas, Rousseau, Marx and Darwin . . . One sus- pects that the forum is nudging in the direction of Rousseau.' Why does one sus- pect that? And what are the implications? I would really like to know because there is something vaguely threatening about the statement that we should know our place in the world. Children who don't know their place get smacked and I'd really quite like to know my place before I get smacked, sterilised or forced to live a nasty, brutish and short existence in a wilderness free from animal-friendly anti-wrinkle creams.

But perhaps that is my place. Perhaps they want us to be hunter-gatherers again — without the hunting. After all, civilisa- tion began with cultivation. The Green rev- olution may begin with them destroying Shell Oil, but revolutions move leftwards and I can imagine them eventually uproot- ing the organic lambs' tongue lettuce grow- ing in our walled garden as well. Living off wild berries should keep our numbers down all right. But at least we'd be compet- ing for them on equal terms with the Greens. It would be survival of the fittest. Hitler would have approved, though I sus- pect it would be the end of the road — oops, I mean tunnel — for the Greens. For while they are gazing at a mushroom and wondering whether it's the last of its kind, those of us with less tender consciences can pop it in our mouths and eat it.

April Fool!

'This is one hell of a time to find out your licence to kill has expired.'