March 27, 2009 -- Environmentalists worldwide are urging people to turn off all their lights for one hour on Saturday, March 28 at 8:30pm local time. “Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming,” declares the “ Earth Hour ” website.
Much has been written about the questionable science behind the fear of global warming. Some, but not enough, has been written about the immediate and terrible harm to human beings that the policies to combat warming would produce, compared to the highly speculative harm attributed to the warming itself.
Earth Hour in fact demonstrates how evil ideas, wrapped in soft symbolism, can kill. And it demonstrates how only a morality of rational self-interest can sustain life on earth.
Consider the stated purpose of Earth Hour. It’s not to offer us the sensible suggestion that we turn our lights off when we’re not in a room in order to lower our electric bills. That’s an appeal for individual human beings to act in their own self-interest. A “vote for Earth” assumes that the Earth has an intrinsic “Mother-Nature” value of its own, apart and distinct from its value to we human beings.
It’s not that forests are of value to us because we humans can take pleasant walks in them or use them for lumber to build our houses. It’s that forests have rights; icebergs have rights; swamps have rights; mosquitoes have rights; dirt has rights.
The concept of “sustainable” as used by most environmentalists is a ludicrous non-sequitur.
Ideas have a logic of their own that implies actions, for good or ill, sometimes contrary to the stated intentions of those who hold those ideas. Believe that there is a “superior” Aryan race and that another group—Jews—is responsible for the world’s misery, and to the extent that this idea dominates individuals and cultures, you get a Holocaust.
Believe that the Earth has intrinsic value and what do you get?
You get a new asceticism, a new Puritanism. You get individuals and a culture obsessed with the need to do without. You get guilt for all those “consumer goods” that allow us to enhance our own lives because those goods require us to cut trees, extract minerals, burn fuel, and generally use the Earth for our own pleasure.
It leads individuals to see their own lives as a burden on the Earth. And what’s the logic of this line of thinking? Suicide!
Think this is an exaggeration?
Jonathon Porritt, an environmental adviser to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, argues that his country should aim to cut its population in half, by 30 million , in order to build a “sustainable” society.
To begin with, the concept of “sustainable” as used by most environmentalists is a ludicrous non-sequitur. There is no limit to how many humans can be “sustained” because there are unimaginable amounts of energy and resources in this universe and no limit to how human minds can discover new ways to exploit them.
But consider the implications of Porritt’s morally-obscene suggestion. Perhaps 30 million Brits should “vote for Earth” not by turning off a light switch but, rather, by putting guns in their mouths, taking themselves out of the population pool, and becoming fertilizer for Gaia.
Of course, they don’t approve of guns. But there is a Voluntary Human Extinction Movement —check them out; they do have a website. They want to do away with their own species over time, but perhaps they can dream up more Earth-friendly ways for those individuals who want to act immediately to off themselves.
Over two centuries ago Goethe’s Sturm-und-Drang novel The Sorrows of Young Werther sparked copy-cat suicides among the impressionable, elite youth. Perhaps in the near future parents will shed tears of grief at the self-destruction of their own children whose heads are filled by their schools, media, and governments with a moral poison that equates their value with that of frozen mud.
And don’t think the slow or even swift death that many environmentalist ideas imply will be a matter of personal choice. They’re coming after you. The public is starting to realize that President Obama’s “cap and trade” energy tax will lower everyone’s living standard and take thousands of dollars from the pockets of every family, as a sop to extreme eco-cultists. I guess this is part of Obama’s policy to force us all to sacrifice for some cause beyond ourselves—whether we want to or not!
Look at the obsession that so many now have with recycling. It’s become a holy sacrament. Jurisdictions are now making mandatory what was once voluntary, that we waste our time sorting through our waste. (I myself am personally sacrilegious and mix up my garbage just to screw ’em!)
One British jurisdiction is using spy planes with thermal imaging devices to target homes that are using too much energy. It is right out of Orwell’s 1984! The police states that are developing in the United States and the West won’t even have the pretense of the old communist ones that claimed to be working for the good of the people.
Two years ago, the first Earth Hour saw lights out in a limited number of cities. I wrote at that time that this was part of a growing “new cult of darkness.” Now the malignant virus has spread to the minds and thus practices of many others.
No doubt most individuals who turn off their lights will not see their actions as a choice of death over life. And the logic of bad ideas often is offset by other ideas, habits, and traditions. After all, few environmentalists actually live according to their own creed. Not many people actually try to surrender civilization with its jet travel, iPhones, Starbucks, and Whole Foods.
The only way to counter extreme environmentalist ideas about the intrinsic value of the Earth is with a morality of rational self-interest that recognizes human life and wellbeing as the foundation and measure of all values. Proud and happy individuals would never surrender their lives on this Earth to this Earth.
Rather than turning off your lights for Earth Hour, turn them on; turn them all on. Let the creation of human beings shine out proudly!
Edward Hudgins is research director at the Heartland Institute and former director of advocacy and senior scholar at The Atlas Society.