This is a transcript of a talk that I gave at the ‘Gardens of Justice’, Critical Legal Conference at the Kungliga Tekniska Hogskolan, Stockholm in Septmeber 2012.
We on the Left today tend to think that class struggle and environmentalism are natural bedfellows. We tend to forget that there are differences between Green and Left political outlooks which remain difficult to reconcile. Can the greater state of localism and sustainability which urban agriculture represents, for example, really be politically-engineered?
Of the many political movements to have sprung up over the past century, none have encompassed such a diverse range of beliefs as urban agriculture. Movements have taken Green, liberal, communitarian – even libertarian – forms, at once a testament to the movement’s flexibility and its apolitical nature.
Neoliberal economists have taken for granted that ours is a world positioned in what John Rawls called “the circumstances of justice”, a world where the majority live in a state somewhere between abundance and shortage of resources. But how accurate a description of the world is this?
Hume ‘the sceptic‘ did eventually find an escape from his scepticism. He mitigated the problems posed by induction by concluding that the search for rational grounds for trusting our senses is unnecessary for creatures like us. But was this a fair way out of the problems posed by induction?
Buddhism is seen as a religion of peace and spirituality. Renouncing the illusions of political life, its adherents strive to eliminate suffering. History tells a different story, however.
Mahāyāna Buddhists believe that there are not ultimate distinctions between one person and the next. Liberals, on the other hand, believe that persons are fundamentally separate. Buddhists apparently deny what liberals seems to affirm; namely, the separateness of persons. How can these views be compatible?