Environmentalism claims that its goal is to preserve and protect nature for the good of mankind. In fact, the danger to mankind is from environmentalism. Expressing a profound hatred for all that is human, environmentalism seeks a "natural" world in which birds and trees "happily" exist with their needs fulfilled because human values -- and life -- have been vanquished.
Environmentalism: A Doctrine of Man-Hatred
Michael S. Berliner, Ph.D.
"Protecting the environment" is the politically correct dogma of our time. It is proclaimed everywhere, from Saturday morning cartoons to corporate advertising. Even countries mired in poverty, like Mexico, wonder if industrial development (i.e., food, jobs, medicine) is worth the "risk" to the environment. But the real risk is environmentalism itself
The fundamental goal of environmentalists is not clean air and clean water; rather it is the demolition of technological/industrial civilization. Their goal is not the advancement of human health, human happiness, and human life; rather it is a subhuman world where "nature" is worshipped like the totem of some primitive religion
In a nation founded on the pioneer spirit, they have made "development" an evil word. They inhibit or prohibit the development of Alaskan oil, offshore drilling, nuclear power -- and every other practical form of energy. Housing, commerce, and jobs are sacrificed to spotted owls and snail darters. Medical research is sacrificed to the "rights" of mice. Logging is sacrificed to the "rights" of trees. No instance of the progress which brought man out of the cave is safe from the onslaught of those "protecting" the environment from man, whom they consider a rapist and despoiler by his very essence
Nature, they insist, has "intrinsic value," to be revered for its own sake, irrespective of any benefit to man. As a consequence, man is to be prohibited from using nature for his own ends. Since nature supposedly has value and goodness in itself, any human action which changes the environment is necessarily immoral. Of course, environmentalists invoke the doctrine of intrinsic value not against wolves that eat sheep or beavers that gnaw trees; they invoke it only against man, only when man wants something
The ideal world of environmentalists is not 20th-century Western civilization; it is the Garden of Eden, a world with no human intervention in nature, a world without innovation or change, a world without effort, a world where survival is somehow guaranteed, a world where man has mystically merged with the "environment." Had the environmentalist mentality prevailed in the 18th and 19th centuries, we would have had no Industrial Revolution, a situation environmentalists would cheer -- at least those few who might have managed to survive without the life-saving benefits of modern science and technology
The expressed goal of environmentalism is to prevent man from changing his environment, from intruding on nature. That is why environmentalism is fundamentally anti-man. Intrusion is necessary for human survival. Only by intrusion can man avoid pestilence and famine. Only by intrusion can man control his life and project long-range goals. Intrusion improves the environment, if by "environment" one means the surroundings of man -- the external material conditions of human life. Intrusion is a requirement of human nature. But in the environmentalists' paean to "Nature," human nature is omitted. For the environmentalists, the "natural" world is a world without man. Man has no legitimate needs, but trees, ponds and bacteria somehow do
They don't mean it? Heed the words of the consistent environmentalists. "The ending of the human epoch on Earth," writes philosopher Paul Taylor in Respect for Nature: A Theory of Environmental Ethics, "would most likely be greeted with a hearty 'Good riddance!' " In a glowing review of Bill McKibben's The End of Nature, biologist David M. Graber writes (Los Angeles Times, October 29, 1989): "Human happiness [is] not as important as a wild and healthy planet....Until such time as Homo sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along." Such is the naked essence of environmentalism: it mourns the death of one whale or tree but actually welcomes the death of billions of people. A more malevolent, man-hating philosophy is unimaginable
The guiding principle of environmentalism is self-sacrifice, the sacrifice of longer lives, healthier lives, more prosperous lives, more enjoyable lives, i.e., the sacrifice of human lives. But an individual is not born in servitude. He has a moral right to live his own life for his own sake. He has no duty to sacrifice it to the needs of others and certainly not to the "needs" of the non-human
To save mankind from environmentalism, what's needed is not the appeasing, compromising approach of those who urge a "balance" between the needs of man and the "needs" of the environment. To save mankind requires the wholesale rejection of environmentalism as hatred of science, technology, progress, and human life. To save mankind requires the return to a philosophy of reason and individualism, a philosophy which makes life on earth possible.
Michael S. Berliner, Ph.D., is the executive director of the the Ayn Rand Institute in Marina del Rey, California.
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