As regular readers of Secondhand Smoke know, I am very concerned about the growing anti-humanism permeating enviromental advocacy. It started, perhaps, with deep ecology–but is spreading now to the misanthropic “rights of nature”–including I just found out, in Pittsburgh!–and the equally anti human exceptionalism campaign to make “ecocide” an international felony deemed as heinous as genocide. So, I decided to make that issue my last column of the year.
First, I describe the issue and give examples of language purporting to establish “rights” for nature, including for “Mother Earth” (draft global warming treaty) and the goddess Pachamama (in Ecuador’s constitution). I then describe the game that is afoot. From “Beware the ‘Rights of Nature’,” in the Daily Caller:
Rights of Mother Earth!? Pachamama? Sounds disturbingly like the proposed legal establishment of a neo earth religion to me. Metaphysics aside, think about the adverse impact that granting rights to nature would have on human thriving. Pond scum and pollywogs are part of nature. So are stink bugs, grass, poison ivy, pigeons and all other flora, fauna and indeed, if applied literally, so too are mountains, rivers and other inanimate natural objects. If these individual and collective aspects of the natural world have the “right” to “exist, persist, maintain and regenerate,” it could stop most development and exploitation of natural resources in their tracks — which, of course, is precisely the point.
One way this great thwarting would play out would be lawsuits brought by elements of nature–really radical environmentalist lawyers–to force judges to decide when human development and “nature” came into conflict–which to some degree happens any time we do anything. This all has a deeply anti-property ownership tinge:
Talk about a full employment guarantee for lawyers! Imagine the courtroom backlog that would be created if “nature” could sue every time enterprising humans wanted to act enterprisingly with their own property. Indeed, imagine trying to obtain a liability insurance policy. Good luck with that! But then, nature rights would prevent us from truly owning property. We would become, at best, mere trustees for all of the life forms on the particular tracts of land that we no longer truly owned.
I also get into the ecocide issue, and conclude:
Radical environmental misanthropy is on the march. Its activists are well-funded and ideologically committed. The time has come to stop rolling our eyes at the seeming insanity of the proposals and take the threat of granting rights to Mother Earth seriously. The future of human prosperity and thriving could well depend on it.
Time to end the “it can’t happen here” complacency. I intend to continue pounding this drum at every available opportunity.