A deeply immoral, anti-human, point of view…
Climate alarmism is bad enough, but some thought leaders who drive it, who are its philosophical torchbearers, have an even more troubling view of humanity that far exceeds the usual misanthropy you might expect from its proponents. This quote comes from a review of: The End of Nature, by Bill McKibben, published in the Los Angeles Times. Written by David M. Graber in 1989 It reflects a deeply immoral philosophy:
“That makes what is happening no less tragic for those of us who value wildness for its own sake, not for what value it confers upon mankind. I, for one, cannot wish upon either my children or the rest of Earth’s biota a tame planet, a human-managed planet, be it monstrous or–however unlikely–benign. McKibben is a biocentrist, and so am I.
Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet. I know social scientists who remind me that people are part of nature, but it isn’t true. Somewhere along the line–at about a billion years ago, maybe half that–we quit the contract and became a cancer. We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth.” – David M. Graber , Mother Nature as a Hothouse Flower : THE END OF NATURE by Bill McKibben
This again, is a deeply immoral outlook on life. Sadly, it is shared by a great many of people. Morality in general terms, can be thought to be comprised of two twin values or “pillars”. The first, how much an action serves life. And second, how much an action allows for free-will among humans. Both values are equal and mutually reinforcing. The world view expressed in the quote is an affront to the first pillar of morality, the life pillar. The casual disregard for billions of human lives when he writes: “We are not interested in the utility of a particular species, or free-flowing river, or ecosystem, to mankind. They have intrinsic value, more value–to me–than another human body, or a billion of them,” is shocking. Even the most generous interpretation of this quote, that the billion human lives that have less value than the ecological purity of a piece of geography are notional lives, not yet established, would still be odious. He calls himself a “biocentrist.” He would claim to be deeply invested in the life pillar; except he values no human life if it is advanced past the point of aboriginal. He speaks of valuing wilderness “for its own sake, not for what value it confers upon mankind.” He forgets or is oblivious to the fact that even in appreciating nature for its own sake, suggests a value it confers on mankind. The ability to appreciate something for its own sake, or for any sake, is an ability possessed by mankind alone. (So far as we know). One might put this riddle to him and McKibben: If a tree falls in the woods, and there are no living beings with sentience enough to value it for its own sake, does it have any true value?
Graber’s notion is also immoral with regards to the free-will pillar. He despises that which makes humans human. Referring again to his quote: “Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet. I know social scientists who remind me that people are part of nature, but it isn’t true. Somewhere along the line–at about a billion years ago, maybe half that–we quit the contract and became a cancer. We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth.”
So, what is it that happened a half a billion to a billion years ago that in his mind Graber believes constitutes mankind quitting the contract? Only mankind evolving to the point that it could meaningfully and deliberately enact its free will– that’s all! As soon as were able to express our free-will, that apparently, is when we broke the contract with life and became a cancer. Our possession of agency is that which not only separates us from the animals, which is what Graber and his ilk have a problem with, but also makes us in God’s image. Logically, if there is a Creator, then he would have a beef with him also. That, if true, would bespeak a tremendous arrogance and hubris on his part.
The problem for those possessing greater moral clarity, more regard for human life, is that there are enough people that hold the same nihilistic view who are in control of things like our industry, economy, and governments, to do real damage to real human beings. Not notional human beings yet to be born, but living, breathing human beings alive right now. These people created a system by which a country like Sri-Lanka could be convinced to commit self-destructive behavior. The resulting poverty and hunger finally drove the people to overthrow their government. Similar people running the Netherlands have decided there are too many farms in their country using farming methods that are too effective. Global organizations and the boardrooms of many a powerful corporation, are populated with people holding such dim views of humanity. Imagine if the CEO of a bank with global reach held such anti-human views. Imagine the head of state of whatever county you’re a citizen of, holding the view that there are just too many humans on the planet. What sort of disastrous policies might they be prepared to enact? The unfortunate truth is, we don’t have to. Economic, agricultural, and energy policy are all being shaped by people who share the view that humankind is a cancer upon the earth. God and sane human beings, save us from such people! Amen.