Often what people say speaks more about their values than what you say about them. Such is the case of Mike Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. In the typically respectful and rhetorically effective style his organization is known for, he offered this nuanced critique of mainstream environmental organizations in Montana:
Unfortunately, a disturbing trend has appeared as big environmental groups such as the Montana Wilderness Association and the Wilderness Society increasingly take foundation money to “collaborate” with timber corporations. And much like the Vichy French helped the Nazis occupy France during World War II, these collaborators now have to face the harsh and shameful legacy of what they have done and continue to do.
In a piece replete with logical fallacies and specious arguments, the section noted above does an especially effective job of portraying just how far removed from reality the extreme environmental movement in Montana is. They damage the movement by attacking allies and perhaps most critically, by giving the false impression that to be an environmentalist requires adherence to an all-or-nothing mentality which leaves out the vast majority of Montanans, many of whom would be willing to work for a cleaner environment.
The “collaborators” Mr. Garrity talks about are the ones who got meaningful legislation passed to protect Montana’s wild spaces and the nation’s environmental quality. Those mainstream organizations got the very laws passed that Mr. Garrity’s organization uses when it seeks to protect wild spaces and to even suggest a comparison to Nazi collaborators demonstrates a profound ignorance of history and disrespect for the efforts of those who fought to protect the environment.
It’s more than just shameful rhetoric for which Mr. Garrity should apologize. It’s the kind of rhetoric that conservatives find terribly useful when they seek to demonize the entirety of the environmental movement.