Prevailing American conservative views regarding consumption and the environment have evolved in ways incongruous to a past intellectual legacy. As the world's most voracious consumer and greatest power, the United States possesses a vast global footprint; this historically unprecedented combination of appetite and might translates into both potential and peril. Given that the repercussions of dominant American perspectives are not just domestic, but global, it is imperative to reflect on American conservative ideology. This article begins with an examination of a past intellectual heritage, which extolled virtues such as conservation, prudence and stewardship. It then examines an array of contemporary conservatisms by laying out a typology of views. As a whole, the spectrum shows considerable ideological elasticity. Of much interest is an array of green outliers within the typology, for these nascent, diverse voices indicate potential synergy with mainstream environmental goals, although not without caveats. Finally, the future direction of conservative thought with respect to consumption and the environment is assessed.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.