Whether land that is uninhabited or uncultivated (by humans) ought to be protected remains an intense disagreement - especially in the Western United States. On one side, the word wilderness represents an almost sacred resource needing preservation against rapacious, capitalist, greedy human impulses to “use” the land for human benefit. On the other side, the same word represents a natural, precious, God-given resource that government is not trusting human beings - especially those who live closest to the resource - to use in appropriate ways.

The latter group tends to see the earth as something entrusted to human beings by God - with a stewardship already given by a higher power than government and a trust placed in human hands. The former group tends to see the earth as needing protection from human beings - who cannot be trusted to manage or steward the land on their own.

In a political context, this word connotes a position of disfavor - “Trump led the GOP into the wilderness.”  More than simply a place uninhabited and uncultivated, there is a spiritual sense of the same word as a place where there is “no good and truth” - or a place where great deception exists.  


Jacob Hess

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