If you wanted to undermine human exceptionalism and interfere with human thriving, a splendid way would be to elevate nature to the moral value of human beings, almost a person, or at least, a rights bearing entity.  The drive toward what could be described as “nature rights” has already begun, for example, when Ecuador’s new constitution explicitly created the rights of nature to be equal to those of humans.



Now, an environmental campaigner is promoting the same ends from a punitive direction.  She is pushing hard to transform serious pollution into a crime against nature (peace)  that would be deemed as odious as crimes against humanity are currently.  From the story:

A campaign to declare the mass destruction of ecosystems an international crime against peace - alongside genocide and crimes against humanity - is being launched in the UK. The proposal for the United Nations to accept “ecocide” as a fifth “crime against peace”, which could be tried at the International Criminal Court (ICC), is the brainchild of British lawyer-turned-campaigner Polly Higgins. The radical idea would have a profound effect on industries blamed for widespread damage to the environment like fossil fuels, mining, agriculture, chemicals and forestry. Supporters of a new ecocide law also believe it could be used to prosecute “climate deniers” who distort science and facts to discourage voters and politicians from taking action to tackle global warming and climate change. “Ecocide is in essence the very antithesis of life,” says Higgins. “It leads to resource depletion, and where there is escalation of resource depletion, war comes chasing behind. Where such destruction arises out of the actions of mankind, ecocide can be regarded as a crime against peace.”

Of course.  When you attack human exceptionalism, you not only undermine human value, but also assault human freedom.  The totalitarian impulses of the current anti humanism are exposed clearly in this noxious proposal.  Hey, I wonder if I could find myself in legal trouble for saying that!

Anyone who thinks this will just be laughed away hasn’t been reading Secondhand Smoke:
After a successful launch at the UN in 2008, the idea has been adopted by the Bolivian government, who will propose a full members’ vote, and Higgins has taken up her campaign for ecocide. Ecocide is already recognised by dictionaries, but Higgins’ more legal definition would be: “The extensive destruction, damage to or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely diminished.”

“Peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants” is a very broad term intended to include everything from grass, fish, and insects, to animals and people.  It is an equalizer of the value of all life in the area.  Under this view, the Exxon Valdez accident could be elevated to a crime equivalent to the Holocaust!

 This is wrong on so many levels. First, it revealingly illustrates that environmentalism is fast becoming a religion for some of its most strident adherents.  Thus, denying global warming would be akin to the worst blasphemy in a totalitarian theocracy.  If also elevates flora and fauna within ecosystems to the importance of humanity. Moreover, to claim that eco destruction was akin to Rwanda, the Killing Fields of Cambodia, and the torture camps like Auschwitz, both diminishes those true evils in the comparison, as it elevates ecological zones to the moral status of human population categories.   

I’m going to think about this some, and perhaps expound at greater length in the near future.

Articles by Wesley J. Smith

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