By Wesley J. Smith
Anti-humanism has been part of the environmentalist movement for decades. For example, as far back as the 1970s, Canadian green radical David Suzuki denigrated humans as “maggots” that walk around “defecating on the planet.” When offered a chance to take that back in an interview ten years ago, Suzuki refused. Even the staid David Attenborough proclaimed us to be “a plague on the earth.”
This deep misanthropy continues to spread. Now, a new book — Homo Ecophagus — argues that we are a “cancer” that will make ourselves extinct. From an interview of the author Dr. Warren Hern, in Salon:
It’s not an analogy; nobody ever died from an analogy. It’s a diagnosis, and that’s different. The diagnosis is the same as the hypothesis. . . . This hypothesis [humans as a cancer] explains what we see going on in reality around us — and has for a long time — and it predicts what is going to happen. And that means the prognosis, in medical terms, for cancer is death. The cancer continues until the host organism dies.
The difference between us and a cancer — the only difference — is we can think, and we can decide not to be a cancer. If the diagnosis is correct, things will continue until we are extinct. The biosphere can’t go extinct; it can’t die, but we can alter it to the point that we can no longer survive. And that will take out millions of other organisms.
Interviewer Troy Farah, Salon‘s science and health editor, proclaims Hern’s to be “a good diagnosis,” and brings up cities as examples of spreading tumors. Hern agrees and becomes even more specific in his diagnosis of our being terminal cancer:
These cultural adaptations have now become maladaptive. They do not have survival value. And they are, in fact, malignant maladaptations because they’re increasing in a way that cancer increases. So, this means that the human species now has all of the major characteristics of a malignant process. When I was in medical school, we had four of them that were identified: rapid, uncontrolled growth; invasion and destruction of adjacent normal tissues — in this case, ecosystems; metastasis, which means distant colonization; and dedifferentiation, which you see very well in the patterns of cities.
What in the world does “Human Ecophagus mean?
That is my new name for the human species, which currently has the scientific name of Homo sapiens sapiens, or wise, wise man, which makes us the most misnamed species on the planet. Homo ecophagus means the man who devours the ecosystem — and that’s what we are doing.
Do you know who else made up names for his anti-human activism? The ghoul Jack Kevorkian, who was fond of coining terms like “obitiatry,” a word that reflected his deep desire to experiment on people he was euthanizing. Why bring him up? Hern is an infamous late-term abortionist, who admits to killing healthy, viable fetuses. Not that Farah mentioned that cogent fact.
Lest readers dismiss the author and the interviewer as fringe, anti-humanism has become a hallmark of environmentalism. It is also becoming official government policy. Food, fuel, electricity, and other shortages are being created intentionally by policy-makers that will adversely impact human wellbeing and thriving.
For example, Ireland is planning on culling up to 200,000 dairy cows to combat global warming. The U.S. is choking its own energy independence. Developing nations remain mired in destitution. Geological features are being granted human-type rights in the nature-rights movement, while activities such as shale-oil extraction is denigrated as “ecocide,” which activists are striving to criminalize internationally as the “5th crime against peace,” akin to genocide and ethnic cleansing.
We must resist such deep nihilism at all turns. Humanity is not a terminal illness. Our enterprise will not cause the end of us. Of course, we have a duty of responsible environmental stewardship. The real danger comes from Hern and Farah’s brand of virulent misanthropy, which could kill our economies and profoundly impact the sense of self-worth among the young, who have enough mental-health issues already without thinking they are akin to glioblastoma.
Editor’s note. Wesley’s great columns appear at National Review Online and are reposted with his permission.