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Friday, December 3, 2010

Does the Earth Have Rights?

Speaking at a U.N. sponsored climate summit in Cancun, [Bolivian President] Morales "has fingered capitalism as the root of many of the problems facing the world and has urged his fellow leaders to explore alternatives, such as a declaration of rights for the earth as a means of tackling climate change."

Can an inanimate object have rights?  (I cannot believe I have to write that last sentence outside of an insane asylum.)

In my last
post, I argued that only a system of actual capitalism, i.e., a system in which all property is privately owned, could justly and objectively deal with actual environmental problems, that is, problems which can be proved to pose a threat to human beings.  The key word and phrase is "prove" and  "threat to human beings."  This is critical, because true concern with human life, i.e, holding human life as the ethical standard of value, necessitates a system which upholds an individual's right to think, produce, and pursue his own happiness, free from coercion.  In other words, the concept of rights presupposes man's nature as a reasoning being who needs to think in order to survive. It makes no sense to discuss "rights" apart from rational beings. 

But what if human life was not regarded as the standard of value?  In that case, the value of human life would become secondary to the non-human standard, if a value at all. The purpose of the government would not be to protect individual human rights, but instead, it's primary function would be to protect the "rights" of this non-human entity. This is precisely the logic underlying Morales's call to grant rights to the earth.     

Man's nature as a reasoning being requires that he use and modify the earth to serve his needs.  An ethical standard which holds man's life as the ultimate value, leads to the celebration of man's productive achievement, i.e., the transformation of his environment into useful products.  However, if the earth is regarded to be the standard of value, man's nature puts him in direct conflict to the highest value, earth.  Consequently, rather than celebrating man's technological and economic progress, the environmentalist regards man as sinful by nature - his carbon footprint is his Original Sin - something he can only minimize but never escape.  Morally, it follows, he must spend his life paying penance for the crime of being human.    

Back to Cancun...The Telegraph
In one paper Professor Kevin Anderson, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, said the only way to reduce global emissions enough, while allowing the poor nations to continue to grow, is to halt economic growth in the rich world over the next twenty years.
This would mean a drastic change in lifestyles for many people in countries like Britain as everyone will have to buy less ‘carbon intensive’ goods and services such as long haul flights and fuel hungry cars.
..The Second World War and the concept of rationing is something we need to seriously consider if we are to address the scale of the problem we face,” he said.
In other words, man must sacrifice and lead a life of self-abnegation supposedly in deference to the goal of some arbitrarily defined average climate condition which would occur absent man. 

However, if global warming could be proved, is wrecking the economy and making everyone poor really the solution? Wouldn't wealth and technological progress give man the best chance of coping with these circumstances?  Wouldn't economic freedom allow for migration to less harmful areas and for profit to provide incentives for innovations to serve as a defense from these conditions? Of course, but the environmentalist is not concerned with bettering man's life.  The environmentalist is not interested in saving man from the earth, he is interested in saving the earth from man.   

If this leads you to conclude that environmentalism borders on religion, well, it is a religion. It is a new age religious-socialist political movement predicated largely on pseudo-science with the essential judeo-christian narrative at its core - only God is replaced by Mother Earth and St. Paul by Al Gore. 

I have argued previously, that if environmentalism is a kind of new age Christianity, then the U.N. IPCC (inter-governmental panel on climate change) is a kind of modern Council of Nicea, a motley gathering of various bureaucrats and church elders held to define and enforce environmentalist orthodoxy. Of course, everyone knows about the climategate scandal which blew the cover off of this charade, but its important to follow this cabal as it attempts to make a resurgence.  Recently, this article reported on the head of the U.N. panel, Rajendra Pachauri, as he and others expressed "regrets" over the scandal.  The article quotes Arnold Schwarzenegger:
"Last year we had a tremendous setback because some of the science and some of the numbers were manipulated and that is very damaging because it gives the other side a way in," Schwarzenegger told his summit this week.
(Yeah, except for the science and the manipulated numbers, the report was rock solid!)

What's striking is that, just like a religious zealot who is confronted with irrefutable evidence, these revelations of fraud and data manipulation did not give them pause for a second. In fact, Pachauri "insisted the controversy had not set back efforts to secure action on climate change."

And, finally, what would a new age religious gathering be without offering prayer to Ixchel, "the ancient jaguar goddess" - goddess of the moon as well as "reason, creativity, and weaving." The Washington Post reports:
"Excellencies, the goddess Ixchel would probably tell you that a tapestry is the result of the skilful interlacing of many threads," said Figueres [Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change], who hails from Costa Rica and started her greetings in Spanish before switching to English. "I am convinced that 20 years from now, we will admire the policy tapestry that you have woven together and think back fondly to Cancun and the inspiration of Ixchel."
If she has her way, and people are still talking about this in 20 years, the discussion will not take place over cocktails in a Cancun resort. It will take place in a cave while the shivering humans offer prayers to Ixchel for a tapestry to protect them from the cold and for "creativity" in procuring rodent meat. 


garret seinen said...

Great post Doug, you show the root of the entire 'goofy green' agenda.

The only solution that I can see is to rigidly judge the people who would place the earth over man's interests. When they claim that man is a blight on the earth, remind them to look in the mirror. Tell them bluntly they have the solution to remove one of those so-called 'blights' any time they choose. Tell them actions speak louder than words.

It is our almost limitless tolerance for hypocrisy that grants these fools a platform. The people who condemn our industrial society must be denied access to it. The lesson would soon hit home.

Again, thanks for saying what needs to be said so well, gs

The Rat Cap said...

Thanks Garret.

However, like their other religious counterparts who pay penance in this life in order to reach heaven in the next, the environmentalist pays his penance in this life in service to "sustainability" or a "healthy" earth for future generations.

In other words, there is work to be done in this life - making life impossible for the rest.

Mike said...

well look at this example which illustrates the concept further:

As co-owner of the National Park in question, I'm pretty happy that it wasn't vandalised so some some slightly cheaper coal could be sent to India. Steel is important (especially for brewing beer) but so is protecting unique tracts of amazing landscape and biodiversity - this will be even more apparent when everywhere else has been dug up for coal

Trevor said...

I am in agreement with everything you said, but I feel like there's a missing nuance. It's my belief that the people holding these Climate Change councils have no true interest whatsoever in addressing AGW, if it even exists. In my view, since they're so fond of jetting to these locations, riding in limos from their hotels to the conferences and certainly dining on high-end catering while they decry the efforts of humanity which make all these things possible, these people are seeking to establish themselves as political elites who can continue to enjoy such luxuries while they yoke the rest of us.

What's your view on that? Thanks.

The Rat Cap said...


The underlying premise of the aspiring dictator, power luster, social engineer is the concept of the Platonic philosopher king - the specially ordained elite that alone can divine the ideal and rule over the rest. Their special status accords them immunity from even their own decrees.

Historically, this philosophical idea is directly responsible for religious theocracy, particularly the early Christian theocracies that plunged the West into the Dark Ages and more recently the mullahs in Iran.

The secular version is the Nancy Pelosi-Obama-Gore types that jet around the world with their bloated brethren attending these tony soirees, imbibing their U.N. socialist one world pretensions.

Wes Pruden of the Washington Times


wrote an interesting piece you may find entertaining on the rather sparse and muted turn out at Cancun. He writes:

"Some 45,000 delegates, "activists," business representatives and the usual retinue of journalists registered for the party in Copenhagen. This year, only 1,234 journalists registered for the Cancun beach party. The only story there is that there's no story there. The U.N. organizers glumly concede that Cancun won't amount to anything, even by U.N. standards."

"...Last year, he [Henry Waxman] joined Speaker Nancy Pelosi and dozens of other congressmen in taking staffers and spouses to the party in Copenhagen. The junket cost taxpayers $400,000, but Copenhagen is a friendly town and a good time was had by all. This year, they're all staying home, learning to live like lame ducks."