After years of virtual silence French intellectual production is remarkable and the contribution of Bruno Durieux fortunately equals the recent books of Bruno Tertrais, Sylvie Brunel, Remy Prudhomme, Christian Gérondeau…
Durieux, a high civil servant, has been active in politics since the mid seventies and as such, was in position to observe the growing influence of environmental activism within French Government and public opinion. From 2012 on he sounded the alert and published a pamphlet preceded by an ironic reflection in the manner of Montesquieu under the title “A Persian letter”:
“However, my dear Rhedi, how this people so clever and experienced leadership don’t see that their country suffers from headaches that paralyse public and private action for ages? Environmentalism is here raised to the status of a State religion. The right is more devout than the left when it enjoys the strong support of his clergy. The result of this overflow of environmental bigotry is a collective cost, considerable but hidden. Countless standards and expensive, crippling rules, a mean and conservative state of mind affect the economic dynamics, entrepreneurship, public amenities and confidence in the future… »
I guess that since 2012, desperate to the rise of what was only a leftist utopia became a dangerous political force Durieux felt the urgency to publish an outstanding book brave and syntheticec… though he knew the risk “it could be that I belong to the world of the Philistines of the environment”
He denounces in particular the constitutionalisation of the so-called precautionary principle and non regression of environmental regulations. They appear to our author particularly dangerous and contrary to the principles of the French Declaration of human rights (1789). In addition he considers these nonsensical concepts as politically irreversible since they are are the result of incestuous collaboration of the ‘left’ and the ‘right ‘.
I found no mention to the principles of the new environmental policy (Free Market Environmentalism): Hardin, Coase, Ostrom, Yandle, Anderson… but the long critical analysis of the works of Hans Jonas highlights the totalitarian drift of environmentalism advocating “degrowth”. Also, Durieux does not mention the key role of property rights to environmental stewardship and the reflections of Burke and, most recently, those of Roger Scruton. (cf. “Green philosophy: how to think seriously about the planet ‘ www.icrei.fr ))
But this is a book to be read at the time where the French Government intends to give more importance to redial environmentalism and even promote the ridiculous new icon of global environmentalism : Greta Thumberg !