Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Genocidal Impulses & Human Depopulation


There is a difference between voluntary family planning and radical Malthusian depopulation misanthropy. Alas, I fear the latter is subsuming the former.

A review of a book in the New York Times shows the extent of human loathing among the Davos set. (This commentary is about the review, not the book, which I haven’t read.) Alan Weisman, who last described how wonderful earth would become if humans ceased to exist–but who would know if we were gone?–now has written an apparently apocalyptic tome about the need to radically reduce our numbers.

The most effective way to kill off humans is to allow too many of us to exist. From the review of Countdown:

As Alan Weisman’s “Countdown” amply demonstrates, we are well on our way. Some seven billion people are alive today; the United Nations estimates that by the end of the century we could number as many as 15.8 billion. Biologists have calculated that an ideal population — the number at which everyone could live at a first-world level of consumption, without ruining the planet irretrievably — would be 1.5 billion.

That’s Deep Ecology anti-human talk–which alas, has become mainstream within the environmental movement.

But here’s the thing: You can’t go from 7 billion (or 9 billion, or 15 billion) to 1.5 billion through voluntary, non-lethal means. China’s tyrannical one-child policy has not reduced the number of people in that populous country, only slowed the rate of growth. If female infanticide, forced abortion, and eugenics don’t do the job, imagine what it would take!

And where would the human cancer-on-the-earth coming Apocalypse be without global warming hysteria?

In our own time, there are a few mitigating indicators. Much of the current population growth comes in the developing world, where carbon consumption remains low, so the environmental effect is relatively muted. The next thousand Americans will do more than twice as much damage as the next hundred thousand Nigeriens, though that is hardly a cause for celebration…
At today’s rate, world population would stabilize at 10 billion by 2100. But that will most likely never happen, Weisman writes, because seven billion people “are already turning the atmosphere into something ­unlivable.”

Unlivable? What drivel.

Besides, the best way to reduce population growth is to increase prosperity. But that requires resource exploitation and land development, resulting in increased carbon emissions–which the global warming hysterics seek to stymie, nature rights advoctes prevent, and exocide fanatics, criminalize.

Bring on the anti-humanism!

Over the course of the book, man is likened to a cancer; to “a voracious monoculture” that sucks “resources in at the cost of the rest of life on the planet”

We definitely have demographic problems. Europe and Japan are imploding, and the developing world is adding people at geometric rates.

But the answer isn’t self-loathing. It is human exceptionalism that promotes our thriving–particular in the destitute areas of the world. Do that, and population growth will flatten–without resort to the genocidal implications that linger just beneath the surface of Malthusian human-loathing advocacy.


Subscribe to National Review