clearcutFrom the Burns PBS special, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, comes a great quote from John Muir who openly criticized Gifford Pinchot’s utilitarianism.

“Much is said on the questions of this kind, about the greatest good for the greatest number.  But the greatest number is too often found to be the greatest one.  It is never the greatest number in the common meaning of the term that makes the greatest noise and stir on questions mixed with money.  Complaints are made in the name of poor settlers and miners while the wealthy corporations are kept carefully hidden in the background.  Let right, commendable industry be fostered, but as to these goths and vandals of the wilderness who are spreading black death into the finest woods God ever made, let the government up and at ’em.”

Episode 2, “The Greatest Good”