Human Exceptionalism

“Plant Rights” on NPR

The environmental movement is growing increasingly radical and anti human.  Taking a beat from the animal rights movement, we have seen increasing advocacy for human-stifling agendas such as “nature rights” (now the law of two countries and nearly 30 U.S. municipalities) ”plant dignity” (in Switzerland’s constitution), “river personhood” (recently enacted in New Zealand) and “ecocide,” which would make any and all large scale human uses of the land and exploitation of resources a “crime against peace” akin to genocide and ethnic cleansing. 

These are not promoted in odd Internet sites, but rather are discussed earnestly and with great respect in such liberal outlets such as the New York Times. Latest example, on NPR:

Writing in The New York Times recently, Michael Marder, author of the forthcoming Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life, calls for “plant liberation.” Plant stress, Marder points out, does not reach the same intensity, nor does it express itself in the same ways, as animal suffering. This fact, he adds, should be reflected in our practical ethics.

But, he continues, “the commendable desire to ameliorate the condition of animals, currently treated as though they were meat-generating machines, does not justify strategic argumentation in favor of the indiscriminate consumption of plants. The same logic ultimately submits to total instrumentalization the bodies of plants, animals and humans by setting them over and against an abstract and rational mind.” Therefore, he concludes, “the struggles for the emancipation of all instrumentalized living beings should be fought on a common front.” In other words, what is good for the goose is good for the gooseberry.

I have been pounding the drum that plant rights, nature rights, etc. are inimical to our thriving and liberty because they undermine human exceptionalism and treat rights as something that are ubiquitous and common.  I mean, if everything has rights, really nothing does. 

Please take this seriously. The green misanthropes want to tie us into knots.

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

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