Human Exceptionalism

The New York Times’ War on Humans

When the New York Times Magazine did a huge profile of the animal rights fanatic and lawyer, Steven Wise–extolling his campaign for chimp personhood–I thought, “Enough with the anti-humanism, already!”

I decided to do a larger article than I can here pointing out how reliably subversive to human exceptionalism–the philosophical core of Western Civilization–the New York Times has become. From my Weekly Standard piece, “The Paper of the Apes:”

Particularly in politically progressive circles, assignment of special status to people—as opposed to flora and fauna—is increasingly seen as hubristic and arrogant. If we just demote ourselves to merely another animal in the forest, we are told, we will live more gently on the land and save the planet.

While the Times frequently hosts this latter view, it rarely—outside the occasional Ross Douthat column—publishes an unequivocal defense of the unique importance of human life.

I get into the puff profile of Wise and the equally ridiculous Magazine piece the week before extolling the Dark Mountain Project’s ecological push for “uncivilization.” I also note that the Times’ Sunday op/ed published an article promoting “pea personhood,” and one of its science writers calling plants “ethical.”

What’s it all mean?

Some might maintain that the frequent criticism of human exceptionalism appearing in the Times (these examples are nowhere near exhaustive) simply reflects the increasing prominence of these ideas, which “the paper of record” has a duty to acknowledge. The claim would be more persuasive if the paper also regularly hosted defenses of the ancien moral régime.

But that’s not how the New York Times rolls. The paper is substantially agenda-driven. Progressives have long denied that any superior dignity attaches to human life, deeming the idea irrational, unscientific, and religiously based. So, naturally, the Times lends its space to views corrosive of any “outdated” belief in the sanctity of human life.

The next time the Times promotes the idea that human beings are not special, just consider the source: It is the “paper of record” for The War on Humans.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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