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As promised, I have written a longer piece Switzerland embodying the “dignity” of plants into its constitution in a published in this week’s Weekly Standard (subscription may be required). First, I recount the story and the ethics committee’s report, as I did here at SHS earlier.

Then, I point out that “plant rights” is not really a laughing matter:

What is clear, however, is that Switzerland’s enshrining of “plant dignity” is a symptom of a cultural disease that has infected Western civilization, causing us to lose the ability to think critically and distinguish serious from frivolous ethical concerns. It also reflects the triumph of a radical anthropomorphism that views elements of the natural world as morally equivalent to people.

Why is this happening? Our accelerating rejection of the Judeo-Christian world view, which upholds the unique dignity and moral worth of human beings, is driving us crazy. Once we knocked our species off its pedestal, it was only logical that we would come to see fauna and flora as entitled to rights.
I recount how the intellectual elites were the first to embrace “speciesism” as a concept and then recap some of the philosophies, ideologies and movements that embrace human unexceptionalism, such as personhood theory and animal rights. Even environmentalism, I point out, has picked up the virus:

Eschewing humans as the pinnacle of “creation” (to borrow the term used in the Swiss constitution) has caused environmentalism to mutate from conservationism—a concern to properly steward resources and protect pristine environs and endangered species—into a willingness to thwart human flourishing to “save the planet.” Indeed, the most radical “deep ecologists” have grown so virulently misanthropic that Paul Watson, the head of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, called humans “the AIDS of the earth,” requiring “radical invasive therapy” in order to reduce the population of the earth to under a billion.
Here is my conclusion:

One Swiss scientist quoted in the editorial worried that “plant dignity” provides “another tool for opponents to argue against any form of plant biotechnology” despite the hope it offers to improve crop yields and plant nutrition.

What folly. We live in a time of cornucopian abundance and plenty, yet countless human beings are malnourished, even starving. In the face of this cruel paradox, worry about the purported rights of plants is the true immorality.
We are disattaching ourselves from reason and will harm ourselves profoundly if we don’t quickly turn this craziness around.

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