Culture

Nature Rights Makes the New York Times

I keep warning that the nature rights movement is a real threat to human thriving, and I keep hearing people hoot and say, “It will never happen here.” (Anyone who says that has been in a coma for the last 50 years.)

The movement has now made the pages of the New York Times in a friendly story about how lawyers seeking to represent the Colorado River in a lawsuit. And, we are told, none other than Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas liked the idea. From, “Corporations Have Rights, Why Not Rivers?”

The idea of giving nature legal rights, however, is not new. It dates to at least 1972, when a lawyer, Christopher Stone, wrote an article titled “Should Trees Have Standing?”…

“Justice William Douglas had read Stone’s article,” Ms. Freeman wrote, “and in his famous dissent, he embraced the view advocated by Stone: that natural objects should be recognized as legal parties, which could be represented by humans, who could sue on their behalf.”

That view has never attracted support in the court. But it has had some success abroad.

Once a subversive movement–which this is–receives respectful NYT coverage, it is in the mainstream. Indeed, within a few years, I predict the Times’ radical editorial board will endorse nature rights. 

So no more eye rolling and dismissive complacency. Otherwise, mining and timber companies, energy producers, farmers, ranchers, and other crucial industries may soon find themselves spending more time in court than creating dynamic enterprises.

This is part of the war against human exceptionalism. If forests and swamps, insects and granite outcroppings–all aspects of nature–have rights, if rights cease to be restricted to the human realm, then all we are is another animal in the forest. 

 

Wesley J. Smith — Lawyer and award winning author, Wesley J. Smith, is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. He is also a consultant to the Patients Rights Council. ...

Most Popular

U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More