No future in the past

Jack Conrad questions the romantic image of prehistory presented by green thinkers

Almost without exception, greens of virtually every stripe, variety and hue display a half-dreamy, half-atavistic tenderness for the pre-capitalist past. They did things better then.

Feudal greens such as Edward Goldsmith imagine England returned to the social stability and ecology of contented serfs, loyal vassals, chaste damsels, gallant knights, christian alms-giving and strong monarchs. Essentially, a dull-witted repetition of Young England in the 19th century: “The greatest owned connexion with the least; from rank to rank the generous feeling ran, and linked society as man to man” (Lord Manners England’s trust 1841). Everyone has their place and everyone is in their place


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