In this interesting 31-minute video (below), The War on Humans, Wesley J. Smith exposes the aim of radical environmental activists to spread the message that people are not special, and therefore, should not be treated as such.
Humans are a plague on the Earth. -- David AttenboroughSome of these radical activists also want to establish legal rights to animals and nature. For example, they are fighting for some animals and plants to have 'legal person' status (e.g. Tommy the chimp, peas).
Apparently Switzerland has become extremist in this regard. They have written into their constitution a clause that protects the individual dignity of plants. They have even appointed a bioethics commission to determine what it is about a plant that gives it individual dignity, and they concluded that we share the same molecular substances at the cellular level. The commission then goes on to provide the following ridiculous scenario:
The definition of arbitrary harm or destruction is «harm or destruction without rational reason». Not destroying plants arbitrarily means that not any reason is sufficient to justify destroying them, but that there must be a rational reason. An example of arbitrary treatment used in the discussion was the farmer who, after mowing the grass for his animals, decapitates flowers with his scythe on his way home without rational reason. However, at this point it remains unclear whether this action is condemned because it expresses a particular moral stance of the farmer towards other organisms or because something bad is being done to the flowers themselves. -- The Dignity of living beings with regards to plants: Moral consideration of plants for their own sakeBy the way, it is also against the law in Switzerland to flush a live goldfish down the toilet. Smith claims that environmental activists deny the uniqueness of human life, which can be traced back to the 1830s when Darwin himself concluded the following:
It is absurd to talk of one animal being higher than another. -- Charles Darwin
In the video we learn that Darwin was influenced by Thomas Robert Malthus' essay on principles of population and mass death. Darwin believed that mass death became the great engine of progress.
Environmental activists promote the ideology that humans are no more advanced or developed than other species. Humans are not the goal of evolution since evolution has no goals. Even Peter Singer says that the life of a newborn baby is of lesser value than the life of a dog, pig, or a chimpanzee.
Darwin... showed... that we are simply animals. -- Peter SingerBy devaluing and lowering the status of human life, and elevating the status of non-human life, it is no wonder that unborn children have no legal protection while they are developing inside the womb. Canada is most shameful in this regard as it has no legal restriction on abortion. In my opinion, western societies have gone bonkers: legal protection in recognizing the dignity of a flower, but not for the unborn human.
I think that humans are indeed special and exceptional. We have the notion of what ought to be. We have obligations and duties where no other animal does. We are supposed to treat each other with respect and dignity, and we should consider human life to be sacred. Of course we should also treat animals as humanely as possible, and be good stewards of our planet.
Catholics have it right on how to properly value and treat humans. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2258, teaches:
Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being. -- Donum vitae, Intro. 5The four points below elaborate on the respect and use of animals, plants, and non-living resources (Catechism of the Catholic Church).
The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity. Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man's dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation. (2415)
Animals are God's creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Philip Neri treated animals. (2416)
God entrusted animals to the stewardship of those whom he created in his own image. Hence it is legitimate to use animals for food and clothing. They may be domesticated to help man in his work and leisure. Medical and scientific experimentation on animals is a morally acceptable practice if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives. (2417)
It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons. (2418)
- Catholic law school professor files personhood lawsuit…on behalf of chimpanzees (LifeSiteNews)
- Switzerland places ban on the humiliation of plants (article)
- Dignity of living beings (Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology ECNH)
- Overpopulation is a myth (9 minutes)
- Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family (51 minutes)
- The environmentalist eugenics of the left
- The overpopulation myth, Steve Mosher (55 minutes)
- Conception to birth: visualized (TED Talk)
Planet of the Apes I (1968), (original trailer)