2AC A2: Environmental security K 1/3
1. Alternative fails/impact inevitable – our understanding of the world is intersubjective –
objectivity is impossible. We should embrace views of nature that reflect our own desires
, “Leftist criticism of “nature,” Dissent. New York: Winter
. Vol. 50, Iss. 1;
One of the hallmarks of postmodernism is the understanding that whenever we reflect upon, talk
about, or act in the world, we represent it to ourselves and others. And when we do that, we are not
rendering an objective view of reality so much as constructing a certain understanding of the world.
We are subscribing to a particular discourse or set of discourses about the "way things are," and this
"way" shapes our experience
. This is not to say, of course, that physical objects are figments of our
imagination or that there is no substratum to reality, but simply that
we endow the objects of our experience
with particular meanings that determine how we think and act in the world.
The ethical dimension of
this insight comes into view when we recognize the danger of forgetting the constructed quality of
human experience. We construct our experience, fail to hold onto the idea that we've done just that,
and then assume that our constructions are somehow "real." This becomes an ethical failing insofar as
it silences the views of others. The claim to know how the world really is expresses a hegemonic
ambition; it asserts authority in a way that delegitimizes others' perspectives on human experience and
the world in general.
This is an ambition-a kind of "violence"-that many postmodernists find unacceptable.
The ethical alternative is respect for the "other." This involves turning down the volume of our own
pronouncements about the world and listening to others-or providing them with the opportunity to express
themselves so that we can listen. Hence the many efforts by postmodernists to "give voice to the other": from
academic campaigns to expand the literary canon to popular efforts to embrace and celebrate
multiculturalism. The aim is to promote the expression of the marginalized and disadvantaged.
postmodern cultural critics are comfortable giving voice to other people, they stop short at the
nonhuman world-the paradigmatic "other." When it comes to nature, postmodernists are happy to do
all the talking. They seem to see no need to heed the voice of the nonhuman, no reason even to assume
that, in the vast world of rivers, chimpanzees, rainstorms, and whales, anything is being said.
Postmodern cultural critics look at the nonhuman world and think that they are looking in the mirror.
There is nothing out there with its own authentic voice because, as soon as we imagine it expressing
itself, we recognize that we are speaking, and therefore making up, its words.
As Christopher Manes
puts it, "
It is as if we had compressed the entire buzzing, howling, gurgling biosphere into the narrow
vocabulary of epistemology, to the point that someone like Georg Lukacs could say, `nature is a