Human Exceptionalism

Environmental Anti Humanism Alert

Legatus Magazine asked me to write a reflection on the current state of environmentalism.  Alas, and to an increasing extent, it is rife with misanthrope. From, “Anti Humanism Subverts Environmental Movement.”

Environmentalism has done so much good — conservation, our national parks, cleaning up the air and rivers, remediating toxic waste dumps, and the list goes on. But something has gone terribly awry.

Beginning with “deep ecology” in the 1970s — which proclaims a moral equality between people and nature and advocates radical human depopulation — a nihilistic misanthropy has slowly but surely shrouded environmentalism. It has gotten so bad that conservation and preventing pollution, once the hallmarks of environmentalism, now often take a back seat to thwarting the development of resources in the service of an ideology that is becoming explicitly anti-human.

I discuss deep ecology, global warming, “nature rights,” and the drive to criminalize “ecocide” as a crime akin to genocide–which would throttle human thriving around the globe, and in particular, keep the most poor mired in tragic destitution.  I conclude:

Why has environmentalism moved in such an economically destructive, potentially authoritarian, and decidedly misanthropic direction? The heart of the problem is that environmentalists increasingly reject human exceptionalism. Believing that we should consider ourselves just another animal among others on the planet, they push us toward self-flagellating policies and a societally enervating moral relativism that elevates nature to the moral status of humans. This actually has the effect of devaluing people to the level of flora and fauna.

At a more fundamental level, green misanthropy reflects how much of society is moving past “post-Christianity” and toward an explicit “anti-Christianity.” What better way to break the spine of the Judeo-Christian worldview than to subvert society’s belief in the unique dignity and moral worth of human beings? If enough of us accept that reductionist self-definition, the faith will totter into general irrelevance, perhaps to be replaced by the neo-earth religion we see forming among some greens in which the creation is worshiped rather than the Creator.

I was speaking to a distinctly orthodox Catholic audience, and hence I placed the growing threat of Green human loathing into a relevantly religious context.

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