Anarcho-Primitivism: The Green Scare in Green Political Theory

16 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2010 Last revised: 13 Jun 2014

See all articles by Michael Becker

Michael Becker

California State University, Fresno

Date Written: April 1, 2010


A deep philosophical divide concerning the very foundations and purposes of civilization splits mainstream and radical environmentalists. This paper focuses on Paul Taylor's "Respect for Nature," arguing that his biocentrism is actually a disguised "civilization" or "civ-centrism." Taylor defines "nature" as pristine ecosystems; humans, given their capacity for autonomous agency and planning are unique in creation. Arguing in this fashion, green political theorists like Taylor choke off a tension between civilization and primitive cultures, a tension which has been central to the development of western social theory. In doing so they help lay the philosophical groundwork for technological totality. By contrast, anarcho-primitivists highlight the civ-prim tension arguing for radical resistance to bedrock notions and institutions of civilization. The further removed the primitive, either in consciousness or in actual fact of the destruction of primitive cultures and their land-base, the greater the liberatory impulse to destroy civilization becomes.

Suggested Citation

Becker, Michael, Anarcho-Primitivism: The Green Scare in Green Political Theory (April 1, 2010). Western Political Science Association 2010 Annual Meeting Paper , Available at SSRN:

Michael Becker (Contact Author)

California State University, Fresno ( email )

5241 North Maple Avenue
Fresno, CA 93740
United States

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