Americans are hopeful and forward-thinking, ever-eager for what lies beyond the next bend in the road. Given that we are a bright and enthusiastic lot, isn't it odd that a fascination with death has become fashionable in our politics and culture to the extent of informing policy?
Over the last two decades, activists in the news media and popular culture have managed to mainstream radical environmentalism, leading to a "green veto" over the use of natural resources, as well as land and development policy for the nation. Major projects are routinely halted over dubious claims of damage to habitats or endangered species. The costs of EPA-mandated impact studies alone are daunting enough to nix needed projects before they begin. Environmentalism is no longer just a collection of disaffected youth, misguided conservationists, and touchy-feely, back-to-nature types; this once-harmless eccentricity has unveiled a dark side.
We are witnessing a convergence of leftist groups, making common cause to bring about their visions of a utopian society. The hardcore leftists who fled the collapse of communism have found a home in radical environmental movements. The "new-age" types who have long shaped environmental thought with their catchphrases of "back to nature" and "simplify" are now spooning with the religious left, who view environmentalism as a perfect platform for imposing their social justice agenda.
The truly dangerous result of these groups acting in concert is their willingness to trample rights in the pursuit of their goals. The green movement has married cataclysmic global warming theory with population "sustainability," embracing anew the discredited junk science popularized by Paul Ehrlich's 1968 book The Population Bomb.
As the current Climategate scandal illustrates, truth is the first casualty when liberal shibboleths crumble. It matters not to the "greens" that Ehrlich's assertions are as demonstrably bogus as Joe Biden's hairline; greens continue to parrot them faithfully. The Frankenstein's monster resulting from the combination of these discredited theories becomes even more dangerous when one considers that one of Ehrlich's close colleagues is John Holdren, President Obama's choice as Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, or "Science Czar" for short.
In 1977, Holdren co-authored a book with Paul and Anne Ehrlich wherein he advocated all manner of extreme population-reduction strategies, including forced abortion and sterilizations of selected populations, as well as mandatory one-child-only laws on a global scale. Holdren has yet to publicly repudiate those positions. Although it has been nearly four decades since intelligent people last took them seriously, Holdren and Ehrlich's worldview is enjoying a present-day resurgence. In a December 8, 2009 article in Canada's Financial Post discussing the Copenhagen climate summit, columnist Diane Francis makes a similar case:
Ironically, China, despite its dirty coal plants, is the world's leader in terms of fashioning policy to combat environmental degradation, thanks to its one-child-only edict.
-If only one child per female was born as of now, the world's population would drop from its current 6.5 billion to 5.5 billion by 2050, according to a study done for scientific academy Vienna Institute of Demography.
-By 2075, there would be 3.43 billion humans on the planet. This would have immediate positive effects on the world's forests, other species, the oceans, atmospheric quality and living standards.
The warped premise of radical environmentalism is clear: The earth is pure, and we are the pollutant. Devising plans to dramatically reduce earth's population is just another day's work for these modern Cassandras. There is a nihilist subcurrent bubbling to the surface of mainstream environmentalism, and it is being given a global imprimatur in Copenhagen.
We need a fundamentally different model of human hope and change.
These words from Rosemary Radford Ruether, the self-described "eco-feminist theologian," have a familiar ring. President Obama, while not openly embracing a one-child policy, has nevertheless placed vocal advocates of exactly that policy in positions to bring it about.
We need to seek the most compassionate way of weeding out people. ... In place of the pro-life movement we need to develop the "spirituality of recycling" ... a spirituality that includes ourselves in the renewal of earth and self. We need to compost ourselves.
In a speech to the Catholic group Call to Action, Ruether tells us we need to return to the population levels of 1930. The earth harbored about two billion people then and boasts more than six and a half billion currently, leaving four and a half billion people left standing without a chair when the music stops. What remains unsaid is how to deal with what Scrooge called "the surplus population."
In the same July-August 2000 issue of the New Oxford Review, Penn elaborates on the stated goals of the movement:
For several decades Barbara Marx Hubbard has predicted "personal extinction" for people who will not get with the New Age program: "A Quantum Transformation is the time of selection.... The species known as self-centered humanity will become extinct. The species known as whole-centered humanity will evolve." At this time, "humans capable of cooperating to self-transcend will do so"; "elements" maintaining "the illusion of separation will become extinct...just as Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal humans became extinct." Hubbard warns that if the selection comes, it will be violent: "Either the good will prevail...or the violent selection of the self-centered will begin." For her, Satan is "part of the selection process...that will bring forth the self-elected from the self-rejected, so that...only those connected to the whole survive." Note the use of the word "species" when referring to people of differing attitudes. Only in the repugnant world of the hard left would human beings who disagree be classified as entirely different species from one another. A brief visit to Ms. Hubbard's newly launched website will be sufficient to keep your hair curled for months.
This "earth-first" mindset is the dominant personality of the increasingly monolithic green movement. Carbon trading schemes are not designed to reduce emissions, but rather to provide vast sums of money to the environmental left, which will be used to elect ever more compliant politicians. These individuals will assure funding for more scientific "echo-chambers" such as the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia famous for its corrupt science and prolific e-mailers.
As the federal government asserts control over health care, energy production, and the financial markets, the trinity of power is within the left's grasp. Unless driven back from their goals -- and quickly -- the likelihood grows daily that more than four billion of our "species" will be joining the table scraps and yard clippings on the compost pile.