Review of Achievements and Our Next Phase

A few months ago Alex Kellogg, Jeremy, and I published our 2016 strategy document in the first issue of Hunter/Gatherer. Since then, we’ve achieved several of our goals, namely:

We’ve outlined the basic ideas of wildism, an ideology that several individuals have worked on for the past two years. Our intention in outlining the ideology was to provide a consistent, well-expressed approach to a deep ecological ethic focused on wildness. It has now been fully expressed as far as we have developed it. Most of this work was done in “The Foundations of Wildist Ethics” (HG 1.1), although more information and some important clarifications were provided in “Relations and the Moral Circle” (HG 1.2), “Ideology and Revisionism” (HG 1.3), and “The Individual and His Relations” (HG 1.4).

To achieve our goal of providing “talking points” and making the ideas easy to communicate, we’ve reduced the expression of wildism’s core tenets into three: (1) acceptance of our material condition; (2) rejection of all forms of progressivism; and (3) acceptance of the imperative to rewild. See “Our Wild Wills” (HG 1.4).

In a modest step toward our goal of providing a scientific analysis, we’ve further clarified the idea of “Technical Autonomy” (HG 1.3). This article, though written by me, was produced in concert with several professors and other wildists, much like “The Foundations of Wildist Ethics” was. As such, I am quite confident in the validity of its ideas. Nevertheless, more work is obviously necessary, especially by actual scientists.

We have essentially resolved the “big questions” we left at the end of the strategy document. In “Refuting the Apartheid Alternative” (HG 1.2), we pointed out that ecomodernism does not, in fact, offer a viable conservation approach given our starting values. In “The Question of Revolution” (HG 1.3) we remained skeptical of the revolutionary framework, but concluded that among those who value wildness, there is an imperative to rewild and even an imperative to embark on no-compromise rewilding, which we call Reaction. This article also addressed many criticisms of that position.

We have taken steps toward creating a strategy and an organization capable of fulfilling that strategy. The strategy was outlined in “Organization” (HG 1.4) and the charter for our organization was outlined in “Our Wild Wills: Rebuking the Idols of Civilization.” So far as I am aware, we have about ten cadres, half of which are public, the other half “silent.”

 

Now that all that has been accomplished, it is time to introduce our ideas to certain populations who can benefit their growth. For instance, although I have been almost the sole person articulating the ideas, I am only an undergraduate majoring in information science of all things — which, conversely, means I am neither a philosopher nor a conservation biologist. It is true, some involved in the creation of wildism are philosophers and one is a biologist, but this is not a good state of things, especially when they are either unwilling to write lengthy tomes or unable to.

Therefore, our first effort will be to introduce these ideas to academic philosophy journals, specifically those dedicated to deep ecology and environmental ethics. This will allow individuals far more suited than I or most other extant wildists to adequately address philosophical concerns related to the wildist ideology. It will also increase the lifespan of the ideology, since academic preservation practices are meant to withstand time. Finally, it will increase the influence of the ideology.

A somewhat simultaneous effort will be to introduce these ideas to conservation biologists, which has many of the same advantages listed above. For numerous reasons, this is a more difficult task, so except by chance it is likely to take longer.

Some disparate efforts will be made to introduce aspects of wildism to technical and scientific crowds, specifically those that might be interested in outlining the notion of technical autonomy from a biological perspective (i.e., sociobiologists studying cultural evolution). This will hopefully birth one or two thinkers who are willing to outline implications that would not be outlined without the questions the wildist ideology prompts. In fact, since the broader deep ecology movement prompts these ideas as well, meaning we do not have to introduce the views of a minority of a minority, this may prove to be a simpler task than the others.

Finally, some slow progress will be made in introducing these ideas to the public through journalism. The intent of this journalism will not be to convert the masses so much as to increase the population of people who are aware of these ideas, thereby increasing the chances that appropriate individuals (“indomitable spirits”) will hear about them.

Because much of this work is “outward facing,” the journal will be making a temporary move into themed issues intended to make our readers familiar with the history of eco-radicalism and the concepts of conservation biology and sociobiology. The first two such issues will focus on Earth First! and the founding and growth of conservation biology. Submissions are encouraged, and I look forward to more writings not by myself in future issues.

Live wild or die,
John Jacobi

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