Human Exceptionalism

Swamps Now Have “Rights” in Ecuador. Literally

The picture above, if it were taken in Ecuador, would be the image of a rights-bearing entity, with constitutional rights co-equal with those of “people” and “persons.” Yes, as expected, the people of Ecuador have passed their new constitution, which as I wrote in an earlier SHS post contains the following provision:

Persons and people have the fundamental rights guaranteed in this Constitution and in the international human rights instruments. Nature is subject to those rights given by this Constitution and Law.

The only way to read that provision is that nature and all aspects thereof–rocks, dirt, pond scum, mosquitoes, lizards, trees–is and are co-equal with humans since “nature rights” are the same as those of people, a provision that is now the supreme law of Ecuador. Good GRIEF! John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King–with all the greats who believed so fervently in promoting human welfare and freedom through constitutions are spinning like centrifuges in their graves.

Let’s consider briefly what this might mean: Swamps, which are part of nature, now have rights in Ecuador, potentially meaning that if a poor Ecuadoran wants to drain one on his property–can property be owned anymore since people can’t be owned?–he could theoretically be stopped by the government for violating the rights of the swamp, its constituent parts, and its denizens, the mosquitoes, snakes, pond scum, rats, spiders, water, and fish. And if the government fails to protect the rights of the swamp, the constitution explicitly allows non Ecuadorians to come in to the country and bring lawsuits and otherwise pressure the government to protect the swamp’s rights.

The leader of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, is a hard Leftist who is extremely close to the equally or more hard Left wing head of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. So this is what the emerging radical Left that is gaining power in various places around the world, is producing–and fast; the personalization of nature, which will redound to the terrible detriment of people, particularly the poor.

Some might say that Ecuador is a small country with little influence internationally. But the anti-human exceptionalism Left is on the march elsewhere too. Remember, the Socialists and Greens in Spain are about to make apes co-equal members of the moral community with humans by passing the Great Ape Project. Switzerland has also lost its mind, with a constitutional provision requiring that the dignity of plants and animals be protected, that has begun a process that had already declared the intrinsic dignity of individual plants, which could mark the emergence of plant rights in Europe. The European Court of Human Rights will decide whether a chimpanzee is a person.

The consequences that will befall suffering humanity as this bitterly anti-human exceptionalism agenda picks up more steam are profound. Our self definition and self perception will change radically. Our ability to exploit natural resources and thrive will be handcuffed. This could really harm the poor and destitute, the very people the Left beats its collective breast about and whose needs and interests it claims to champion. Indeed, the total consequences of granting rights to nature are so profound and potentially unlimited, that for the moment they are probably beyond our comprehension.

I am beside myself, squared: First, because this is happening. Second, because so few people seem to think it is important.

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