born Westerners like Eugene ManlovernRhodes, I larvey Fergusson, A.B. Guthrie.rnJr., and Wallace Stegncr hae been succeededrnby a generation of literary carpetbaggersrnthat includes McGuane, RickrnBass, Grctel Ehrlich, Richard Ford, andrnRichard Brautigan.rnMuch more significant in the immediaterncrisis is the West’s failure to developrna body of political and constitutionalrnliterature to support it in its confrontationrnwith an aggrandizing federal governmentrnbacked bv invading social,rncultural, and economic forces from thernEast. Regionalist patriots and defendersrnof the Old West act as if the- believedrnthat a simple appeal to the I’enth Amendment,rnreinforced by libertarian argumentsrnregarding freedom of economicrnactivity and the exploitation of naturalrnresources, should be sufficient to convincernWashington, the countr’ at large,rnand the West’s own dissenters and quislingsrnof the justness and constitutionalityrnof l:heir cause. It is as if the leaders of thernSouthern states in the protracted crisisrnleading to the Civil War should have restrictedrntheir case to a narrow defense ofrnstates’ rights, and the right of individualsrnto exploit any form of labor thev foundrnto hand.rnhi addition to its Calhoun, the Westrnneeds its Jefferson, its Hinton RowanrnHelper, its George Fitzhugh. It willrnnot be an easy thing to acquire them.rnThough no less a unique cultural entityrnthan the Old South, the contemporaryrnWest cannot match Dixie as a dcelopcdrnci’ilization, or as an intellectual force inrnthe national life of its time. More than arncentury after the closing of the frontier,rnit has yet to develop an intellectualrntradition, to produce major artists andrnthinkers, great statesmen, and universitiesrnof distinction. The Mojave of thernBozart is the Mojave of rhetoric andrnthe political intellect as well. But if it remainsrna Mojave much longer, it is certainrnto forfeit its historical identity to the assaultrnof postmodernist influences whichrnwill not abate until the entire Intermountainrnregion is reduced to the leelrnof postindustrial uniformitv and abstractionrnthat has prevailed elsewhere in thernnation—including, alas, in the South,rnThe West’s principal enemy is not thernfederal government as such but cnvironmentalism,rnwhose role in relation to thernregion and its future is analogous to thatrnplayed by abolitionism in the destructionrnof the Old South. In a sense undreamedrnof by Thoreau, environmentalism representsrnthe ultimate Free Soil movementrn—Free Soilism taken to its literalistrnextreme. As the abolitionists consideredrnthe demolition of Southern civilizationrnto be a justifiable program if it resulted inrnthe emancipation of the Southern slaves,rnand as the Northern-dominated governmentrnused abolitionism as a means ofrnacquiring economic and political dominionrnover the Soutli, so the environmentalistsrnanticipate the destruction ofrnthe culture of the Old West in the namernof freedom for trees, rocks, wolves, andrngrizzly bears, and the federal governmentrnis eager to avail itself of their effortsrnfor the purpose of effecting the politicalrnsubduement of the Western states. Thisrnis why the West, if it is to make headwayrnagainst its enemies, must accomplishrntwo things. First, it needs to deploy effectivelyrna moral and scientific critiquernof the environmentalist movement. Second,rnit will have to develop or adapt a politicalrnphilosophy embracing devolution,rnregional and local control, and the valuernof intact regional communities.rnThese will not be eas’ tasks, partly becausernthe kind of intellectual labor requiredrnis not congenial to Western people,rnand partly because such few Westernrnintellectuals as exist are mostly not Westernersrnat all but carpetbaggers drawn tornthe region by the lure of wilderness andrnthe environmental ideal, not the attractionrnof Western culture and traditionalrnWestern life. Nevertheless, a start has alreadyrnbeen made by the most responsiblernof the various county movementsrnwhich, abjuring land grabs, bombings,rnand personal threats to federal officials,rnprefers to concentrate (3n the fundamentalrnissue at stake: the extent to whichrnfederally mandated environmental regulationsrnattenuate and destroy localrncustom and culture. The innovators arernthe commissioners for Catron County,rnNew Mexico, and their legal counsel,rnJim Catron. When the U.S. Fishrnand Wildlife Service asserted that thernEndangered Species Act oerrides thernNational Environmental Folic Act requiringrnthem to share power with affectedrnlocal communities, Catron Countyrnsued FWS in the Federal District Courtrnof New Mexico, and won. And whenrnJosephine, Coos, and Douglas countiesrnin Oregon, influenced by ideas propagatedrnby the National Federal Lands Conferencernin Salt Fake C]ity, also sued thernService in the Federal District Court ofrnOregon over its interpretation of NEPA,rnJim Catron advised them on how to argue.rnAlthough this judge too boughtrnCatron’s argument, the Ninth Circuit inrnSan Francisco reversed on appeal. xMeanwhile,rnFWS has appealed the DistrictrnCourt of New Mexico’s ruling to thernTenth District Court in Denver, whoserndecision Catron County awaits. If therncounty wins, that would mean a split inrnthe circuits, and the case would almostrncertainly then go before the SupremernCourt. And if the high court were tornfind for Catron County, the outcomernwould be a new wa b’ which FWS doesrnbusiness with state and county governmentrn—a possibilitv that enironmentalistsrncontemplate with fear and loathing.rnTheir counterstrategy is to argue thatrn”culture” as the term is employed in thernNational Environmental Policy Actrnrefers to ruins and other archaeologicalrnsites, not to anything that European-rnAmericans have created in the AmericanrnWest in the past couple of hundredrnyears. “They’re bawling in Catron Countyrnabout their ‘custom and culture,'” saysrnSusan “Toxic” Schock, an activist fromrnTucson who, since her mo’e to SilverrnCity, New Mexico, has become thernnemesis of the county movement in generalrnand Catron County in particular.rn”They’ve been around four generationsrnat most. That’s not very long in thernscheme of things.” Schoek wants countyrnresidents to accept with good grace anrnend to ranching and timbercutting andrnembrace industrial tourism for theirrnlivelihood. Jim Catron, in his syndicatedrncolumn “Mucho Ojo!” appearing weeklyrnin newspapers around the West, has recentK-rncountered the “no-culture” argumentrnbv claiming that the Old West representsrnthe contemporary extension ofrnthe ancient Celtic culture which, havingrnswept across Europe from East to Westrnover the past three or four millennia,rncrossed the Atlantic Ocean with therngreat North European migrations andrncontinued its progress westward with thernfrontier. Mocking the pretensions ofrnsome environmentalists to be the NewrnDruids, or Archdruids, Catron renrindsrnhis readers that the Celts were the firstrnEuropean miners, produced innovationsrnin silviculture, and pioneered in sheeprnand catrie ranching, particulariy in Scotlandrnand Spain.rn”How manv cowboys,” Jim demanded,rnstabbing his finger against a photographrnof an ancient piece of statuaryrnknown as “The Dying Gaul,” “havernvou seen with faces like that?” Quite arnfew, I agreed. crn50/CHRONICLESrnrnrn