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Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Hilarious Column of the Day

This is one of the goofier columns I've had the chance to peruse for awhile.

"We can't be breeding right now," says Les Knight. "It's obvious that the intentional creation of another [human being] by anyone anywhere can't be justified today."

Knight is the founder of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, an informal network of people dedicated to phasing out the human race in the interest of the health of the Earth. Knight, whose convictions led him to get a vasectomy in the 1970s, when he was 25, believes that the human race is inherently dangerous to the planet and inevitably creates an unsustainable situation.

"As long as there's one breeding couple," he says cheerfully, "we're in danger of being right back here again. Wherever humans live, not much else lives. It isn't that we're evil and want to kill everything -- it's just how we live."

Okay, that's pretty funny, but the topper is this:

Knight's position might sound extreme at first blush, but there's an undeniable logic to it: Human activities -- from development to travel, from farming to just turning on the lights at night -- are damaging the biosphere. More people means more damage. So if fewer people means less destruction, wouldn't no people at all be the best solution for the planet?

Solution to what? I understand the "logic" here; I was a leftist and an environmentalist in my younger days. Humans are screwing up the planet, so therefore let's get rid of the humans. Radical environmentalists actually think that way; it's called "deep environmentalism". Really it's just the nihilism of youth expressing itself in a new manner.

But think about it logically. If you decide that there are too many humans, then it becomes a very slippery slope. We need fewer humans, but if fewer humans is the goal, then when does it end? Doesn't it make sense to get rid of all of them?

But then what happens? In a cosmic moment another dominant species will evolve. So we need to, at a minimum get rid of all the primates. But what's to prevent, say, dogs or other animals from rising up and becoming consumerist? So let's get rid of all the animals and insects. And then the world will be perfect.

Except... what about the plants? Isn't there a possibility that given enough time, the trees will start wanting to shop at the mall? So let's get rid of all life or even possibility of life.

And then earth will truly be a paradise.
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