The Onion hits a bit too close to home with this satirical news report on the new Prius, which will reduce the carbon footprint of its drivers to zero:
The “green garden” was almost too much for me, I must admit.
More seriously, I’ll say: Lots of Americans are concerned with “the environment” for basically good reasons. They want to live in world with clean air, clean water, and clean soil. They want to experience wildness and wildlife for themselves, as well preserve it for future generations.
Alas, people often attempt to accomplish these ends with good intentions alone, without rational analysis of the costs and benefits — and worse, without concern for individual rights. As a result, to take an example close to home for me, people will decry logging and demand less (or no) logging federal lands. The result is massive overgrowth of the forest — and ultimately, wildly destructive crowning wildfires, just like we’re seeing here in Colorado this year.
Here, as in every area of life, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. A person who “means well,” yet ignores or evades the facts of reality is morally negligent at best and evil at worst.
Even worse, the ideological core of the environmentalist movement is nihilistic hatred for mankind. The “deep ecologists” want to see humans reduced to a primitive state, living as animals do, supposedly in harmony with nature. A common theme in environmentalist circles is that humans are a cancer upon the earth. For example, a blogger writes:
Humans are exceptional in one respect – in their ability to sequester all the resources for themselves. In nature, when a virus or bacterial infection spreads unchecked, it is called a disease. When an organism multiplies without restraint, it is referred to as a biological nuisance. When cells grow out of control, it is cancer. Within nature, people are a cancer upon the planet.
You can find the full argument for humans as a cancer on the earth made in these two papers: Why Are There So Many of Us? by Warren M. Hern University of Colorad and Humans as Cancer by A. Kent MacDougall.
To adopt “deep ecology” would mean denying our own human nature as rational agents who survive and flourish by the exercise of our reasoning minds to create values — values like cities chock full of skyscrapers, easy transportation in cars on paved roads, oil for use as energy and to create plastics, computers and the internet, anesthesia for surgery, zillions of books, and more. If they knew just how “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” life would be if we allowed nature to rule us, most people would recoil in horror and disgust.
So, by all means, enjoy those man-made trails through the wilderness, just as Paul and I are doing here:
But … beware of mere “good intentions” on environmental issues and run from “deep ecology” like the plague that it is! Most of all, don’t buy that Prius!