44 I CHRONICLESnconservation, we have to be the rightnkind of people.nDuring World War II, when AldonLeopold wrote his seminal essays, thisnwas an unspoken given, simply takennfor granted, and his projected solutions,nthough visionary, were somehownpalpable. Yes, we could do it. Wenwould do it. We could batten down ournmoral hatches, patch up our tatterednethical armor, suck up the old gut, andnfor once in our lives do what this goodnman said we ought to do, about soil,nland, wilderness, flora, and fauna —neven if it hurt some, even if it didn’tnfeel good.nHe was talking duty.nBut all this was before Mario Salio,nHugh Hefner, Phil “Feelgood” Donahue,nTimothy Leary. The liberal establishment,nin charge of interpretingn”the environmentalists” and “farmers”nto the larger society, seemed to favornthe “do it” messages coming to usnfrom our rock and movie stars, medianfellow travelers, and the professors whonthought Richard Weaver was the ultimatensimp. But of course ProfessornWeaver was right and his nihilisticncritics were wrong. Some ideas arennow having their consequences.nNihilism is breeding thoughtless environmentalncitizens — from the litterbugsnto the corporate midnight dumpers.nMoms on heroin are spawningnfetal addicts. Nobody is connectingnanything to anything. Hedonism isncreating slothful truckers, engineers,nbrakemen, hurtling through the nightnwith thousands of pounds of toxicsnaboard. Eventually we might expectnjunkies at control panels in nuclearnpower plants, missile silos, with jobntenures guaranteed by the ACLU andnthe Supreme Court.nNihilistic federal bureaucrats andntax-and-spend congressmen (is notnspend now, pay later — or never — annihilistic act?) are stealing the farmers’nland by sitting on their hands as resultantninflation mocks any attempt to paynoflF the farm debts. Cornered bynpolitical/philosophical forces he cannotncontrol or even influence, the farmer/nrancher opens up all his vulnerablenacres in a last-ditch effort to stay alive.nErosion follows. Richard Weaver, indeed,nwas the prophet of commonnsense.nBeyond hedonism and nihilism, thenthird and final God of our Zeitgeist,nmaterialism, engenders an avariciousnthing-worship which, from thenassembly-line workers to the takeovernstrategists upstairs, pooh-poohnthoughts about the environmentalnconsequences of the product. ThusnMilwaukee sewage workers who shutndown the Metro plant and pollutednLake Michigan are as culpable asnMonsanto chemists who did not thinknor care or plan or test ahead for thenenvironmental fall-out of polychlorinatednbiphenols.nLeopold had unhappily found thatn”one of the penalties of an ecologicalneducation is that one lives alone in anworld of wounds,” but there wasnnevertheless the duty to sound thenalarm, to be a land doctor who sees thenmarks of death in the community “thatnbelieves itself well and does not want tonbe told otherwise.”nHis message, despite what his studentsnhave done to deform and politicizenit, was always education, responsibility,nstewardship.nPrior to Leopold, there was educationnand some commonsense understandingsnfrom TR and Gifford Pinchot,nbut environmental awareness wasnnever in the forefront — never fullynfocused on the minds, the attitudes,nthe hearts of men and women. Conservationnfor Leopold grew to be annethical imperative and less a statistical,ntechnological, or legislative happening.nSo it was not until Leopold’s twonnontechnical books of essays appearednposthumously (’49-’53) that a sophisticatednecological message emerged, asnpotent as it was persuasive.nLeopold’s powers of persuasion tantalizednsome good minds through then50’s, and his works, in paperback, becamenpremier source-books among thencognoscenti, in time for the fatefuln60’s and 70’s.nSadly, for afl Leopold’s brilliancenand astonishing environmental insights,nthe campus multitudes discoverednthe essays when all hell was breakingnloose about everything. Thenpolitical priorities of the crazies — theirnsermonizing (will it ever end?) aboutndrugs, promiscuity, Vietnam, propernracial percentages, politicized curricula,ntheir repudiation of academic standards,ntheir intimidation and disregardnof authority — drove off their parents,nwho to this day remain skeptical aboutnmost everything their radicalized kidsnnndid and said.nThe kids called themselves and believednthemselves to be “environmentalists.”nTheir parents and troubledntaxpayers apparently believed thisncause was about as far-out as everythingnelse. But like Hitler’s KindernCorps, these future leaders were beingntaught by their professors to “think”nwith their blood, their skin pigment,ntheir endocrines. If it feels good, do it.nIf you don’t like the dean, run himnup the stairs of Old Main and burnnthe place down. Blow up the mathnbuilding.nThe nonpolitical solutions for soilnconservation and other environmentalndifficulties proffered by Round Rivernand Sand County Almanac werendrowned by the concurrent flood ofnother environmental material from thenSierra Club, Charles Reich, Alvin Toffler,nBarry Commoner, Paul Ehrlich.nThe “gurus” were running with thenhounds of the Zeitgeist and sleepingnwith the foxes (the politicians, thennattempting a successful takeover of thenmovement), blaming the establishmentnfor not pushing “enlightened” legislation.nLoath to put off their youngnaudiences, they refrained from suggestingnthere were prerequisites fornconservation, like self-denial, accountability,na willingness to listen, a respectnfor the knowledge of others, the couragento discriminate, a concomitantnskepticism for egalitarianism, empathynfor one’s own country, a duty to knownand then do one’s duty.nPhilosophy leads us back to thenMuddy Mo, dust storms, siltation, andnwhat we have done to this beautifulncountry in 200 years.nAfl of us, farmers and foresters,nyippies and yuppies, corporations andncooperatives, are a product of our philosophers.nOur world is shaped by philosophers.nIn Antelope, Oregon, the BhagwannRajneeshi got thousands to performnlike puppets on a string. InnGuyana, “Rev.” Jim Jones persuadedn900 to take cyanide on command.nMarxist-Leninism threatens to sendnthe whole world up in flames. Whatnwe believe and why we believe it andnwhat we do in the world as a consequencenof our beliefs has everything tondo with what happens to our supportingnresources.nEnvironmental thinkers from ourn