Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day: The Anti-Industrial Revolution

The uncontested absurdities of today are the accepted slogans of tomorrow”. - Ayn Rand


One such uncontested (except by Rand) absurdity was inaugurated on April 22, 1970…the first Earth Day. The inability or unwillingness of Americans to understand and appreciate the actual meaning behind that concept has allowed Earth Day to evolve into a powerful symbol of an ideology that is anti-human life.


Ayn Rand coined the term “anti-industrial revolution” to describe the “ecology” movement of the 1960s and 1970s. That movement was the precursor to the modern environmentalist movement.


The basic premise of Environmentalism is that “nature” in its raw state—which means unaltered by human intervention—has intrinsic value. But the concept "value" cannot be divorced from the concept valuer. Nothing can have intrinsic value ... i.e., value in and of itself. But that is exactly how environmentalism sees nature. The consequences to human freedom and well-being by the acceptance of that doctrine are horrendous. Mark Levine puts it thus:


  If nature has "intrinsic value" then nature exists for its own sake. Consequently, man is not to be preferred over any aspect of his natural surroundings. He is no better than any other organism and much worse because of his destructive existence.
  Is not man, therefore, expendable? And if he is, is not the suppression of his liberty, the confiscation of his property, and the blunting of his progress at all times warranted where the purpose is to save the planet - or any part of it - from man himself? After all, it would seem that there can be no end to man's offenses against nature if he is not checked at every turn. (Liberty and Tyranny, pages 121-122)


Alex Epstein, author of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, puts it another way—in terms of a moral standard of value. The environmentalists' standard of moral value is unaltered nature, not human flourishing. Since man's means of survival is to apply productive—i.e., reason-guided—work to the task of transforming the raw materials provided by nature into life-enhancing material values, everything man does above the level of the higher animals is immoral. Man is not to improve his natural surroundings; not to maximize his well-being while minimizing the negative consequences of his industrial development. He is to minimize his impact on the Earth, regardless of the consequences to his life. This is the underlying meaning of Earth Day, of "going green"—deindustrialization, not as a means to a better environment for humans, but for deindustrialization’s sake. Earth Day stands for anti-humanism.


Think of what it means if unaltered nature is the moral standard; if nature has intrinsic value. It means that whatever nature "does"—raw nature—is valuable and not to be altered. A volcano erupting and destroying Mount St. Helens, taking with it millions of trees and wild animals, is raw nature, and thus good. Man clearing a forest and “destroying” an ecosystem to build a housing development is not "natural," and thus bad. Animals devouring one another to survive is raw nature. Man using animals for the purpose of testing (human) life-saving medicines is not. Crop-destroying insects or plant diseases is raw nature. Insecticides and bio-engineered pest- and disease-resistant crops is not. A black primordial goo lying underground is raw nature. Gasoline and heating oil is not. Natural climate change is acceptable. Human-caused climate change is not. A natural 400 foot rise in sea levels is not bad. Let human activity contribute a couple of inches in the last century of the 20,000 year trend, and its a catastrophe. Modern agriculture, transportation, health care, buildings, amusement parks, even household appliances—everything manmade—results from altering raw nature in some way, which destroys intrinsic value and is thus immoral and needs to be minimized and ultimately stopped and reversed.


The common denominator of that which is not “raw” nature is that it represents the application of human intelligence to the advance of man’s well-being and survival. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action. Every living species, from the lowest bacteria to the most advanced mammals, must act according to its nature to sustain its life. In other words, every living species is provided by nature with some means of survival, which it must rely on and exercise.


There is one crucial fact of nature that sets man apart from every other living species. Every other species must essentially adapt itself to its natural environmental background. It has no choice in the matter, since it basically has no way of altering that environment. It is thus equipped with the basic means of survival determined by its nature to survive in that manner. Any species that lacks or loses the means to adapt perishes. Man, however, is not equipped to adapt to raw nature. He must, if he is to survive and thrive, adapt his environmental background to his own needs ... by building homes, inventing medical treatments, developing advanced agriculture, producing fuel for transportation and heating ... all produced from exploiting the materials found in raw nature.


Environmentalism’s elevating of nature to the absurd and logically indefensible status of having intrinsic value is a direct assault on, and denial of, man’s method of survival; his need to transform raw nature as dictated by his very nature. That man is himself a product of nature does not daunt the environmentalist mindset. They champion nature, except the one creation of nature that sets man apart. Since man’s primary, basic means of achieving this is his rational mind, the anti-science of environmentalism is thus anti-mind, which means anti-man.


Environmentalism should not be confused with the idea of developing cleaner methods of producing and consuming that which we need to survive and thrive. That is not what the leaders of the environmental movement have in mind. It is human production and technology that is the enemy. Following are some quotes from some of those leaders:


The collective needs of non-human species must take precedence over the needs and desires of humans.


—Dr. Reed F. Noss, The Wildlands Project


Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, is not as important as a wild and healthy planet ... Some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.


—David Graber, biologist, National Park Service


The extinction of the human species may not only be inevitable but a good thing....This is not to say that the rise of human civilization is insignificant, but there is no way of showing that it will be much help to the world in the long run.


—Economist editorial


I suspect that eradicating smallpox was wrong. It played an important part in balancing ecosystems.


—John Davis, editor of Earth First! Journal


We, in the green movement, aspire to a cultural model in which killing a forest will be considered more contemptible and more criminal than the sale of 6-year-old children to Asian brothels.


—Carl Amery


We have wished, we ecofreaks, for a disaster or for a social change to come and bomb us into Stone Age, where we might live like Indians in our valley, with our localism, our appropriate technology, our gardens, our homemade religion—guilt-free at last!


—Stewart Brand (writing in the Whole Earth Catalogue).


This last is the ideal that drives environmentalism…the return of mankind to a pre-industrial age when man lived “in harmony” with nature. A time when nature was worshipped, rather than exploited for human gain. Rather than a warm winter home, they long for an existence of savages cowering in fear of natural forces. The name itself, “Environmentalism”, captures the very essence of its meaning, just as Communism or Nazism captures the essence of those systems. In fact, statists of every stripe have latched on to the environmental movement to further their anti-capitalist agendas.


But make no mistake. The agenda of the environmentalists is to thwart, roll back, and destroy the life-giving technology and industrialization of the modern age. This is not to say that I believe that they will succeed. Most people don’t equate environmentalism with an anti-man’s-life agenda. There is a real danger, though, that they will succeed at advancing a statist agenda under cover of environmentalism, leading to a deteriorating economy, rising impoverishment, and possible dictatorship. I submit in evidence the two news items cited in my 2010 Earth Day post.


By celebrating “Earth Day”, we should be aware of the enemies of man that we are helping to bring to power in America and around the world.


Rather than celebrate raw nature, as embodied in “Earth Day”, we should instead look around at all of the life-giving benefits we enjoy as a result of industrialization.

Earth Day is the “holiday” of the anti-industrial revolution. Instead, we should celebrate the wonderful job humans have done in improving the planet through science, technology, industry, entrepreneurship, and hard work. We should celebrate the holiday of the Industrial Revolution, Exploit The Earth Day!

Related Reading:

THIS EARTH DAY, SHRUG OFF ENVIRONMENTALIST FEAR AND GUILT—Amanda Maxham for The Ayn Rand Institute


The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels—Alex Epstein (Chapter 1, The Secret History of Fossil Fuels, available free.)


Related Viewing:



Related Listening:

The Anti-Industrial Revolution—Ayn Rand Lecture
“The environmental movement is often seen as a campaign to clean up man’s environment so that we can lead healthy and happy lives. But in early 1971, less than a year after the movement kicked off its first Earth Day celebration, Ayn Rand argued that this was a façade to cover the actual ideology animating the movement.”—ARI

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