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Freedom, Entitlement, and the Fate of the Nonhuman World

Freedom, Entitlement, and the Fate of the Nonhuman World

(p.137) Six Freedom, Entitlement, and the Fate of the Nonhuman World
Abundant Earth
Eileen Crist
University of Chicago Press

“Freedom, Entitlement, and the Fate of the Nonhuman World” explores a discursive obstacle that disallows challenging human expansionism within, and consequent domination over, the biosphere. This obstacle is the contemporary framing of expansionism as enhancing human freedoms, such as freedoms offered by greater mobility, modern conveniences, choice between diverse commodities and foods, exotic and new experiences, and interconnectivity. These freedoms are described as “hegemonic,” because they are touted and experienced as broadening human horizons; as a consequence, a basic sense of equity calls for making these freedoms available to all people. The chapter unmasks that in a world of billions, growing in both numbers and affluence, entrenching and spreading these human freedoms is based on extinguishing the freedoms of the nonhuman realm. This paradox constitutes the hidden contradiction at the core of human expansion framed as promoting freedoms—a framing that is inspiring explosive growth in mobility, trade, communications, and infrastructure at the expense of the natural world. This chapter argues that no authentic notion of freedom for oneself can be grounded in taking away freedom from others. Hegemonic freedoms conflate "freedom" with the arbitrary exercise of entitlement and confuse limitless growth with the enhancement of human experiences and achievement.

Keywords:   freedom, hegemony, mobility, infrastructural expansion, elective affinity

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