Business and the Environment – Earth Day 2000 -Do

“As Earth Day 2000 approaches, the Index is taking a look at viewpoints on the interaction between business, employment and technology with the natural world, preservation and environmental concerns.To begin the discussion, we start today with On Earth Day Remember: If Environmentalists Succeed, They Will Make Human Life Impossible an opinion piece by Michael S. Berliner, the former executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute in Marina del Rey, California.The Ayn Rand Institute promotes the philosophy of Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.The viewpoint following is not necessarily the view of the Index. We welcome our readers’ comments on the coexistence of business and environmentalism, and ideas on how they may interact more beneficially.On Earth Day Remember:If Environmentalists Succeed, They Will Make Human Life ImpossibleBy Michael S. BerlinerEarth Day approaches, and with it a grave danger faces mankind. The danger is not from acid rain, global warming, smog, or the logging of rain forests, as environmentalists would have us believe. The danger to mankind is from environmentalism.The fundamental goal of environmentalists is not clean air and clean water; rather it is the demolition of technological/industrial civilization. Their goal is not the advancement of human health, human happiness, and human life; rather it is a subhuman world where nature is worshipped like the totem of some primitive religion.In a nation founded on the pioneer spirit, environmentalists have made development an evil word. They inhibit or prohibit the development of Alaskan oil, offshore drilling, nuclear power-and every other practical form of energy. Housing, commerce, and jobs are sacrificed to spotted owls and snail darters. Medical research is sacrificed to the rights of mice. Logging is sacrificed to the rights of trees. No instance of the progress which brought man out of the cave is safe from the onslaught of those protecting the environment from man, whom they consider a rapist and despoiler by his very essence.Nature, they insist, has intrinsic value, to be revered for its own sake, irrespective of any benefit to man. As a consequence, man is to be prohibited from using nature for his own ends. Since nature supposedly has value and goodness in itself, any human action which changes the environment is necessarily immoral. Of course, environmentalists invoke the doctrine of intrinsic value not against wolves that eat sheep or beavers that gnaw trees; they invoke it only against man, only when man wants something.The ideal world of environmentalists is not 20th-century Western civilization; it is the Garden of Eden, a world with no human intervention in nature, a world without innovation or change, a world without effort, a world where survival is somehow guaranteed, a world where man has mystically merged with the environment. Had the environmentalist mentality prevailed in the 18th and 19th centuries, we would have had no Industrial Revolution, a situation environmentalists would cheer-at least those few who might have managed to survive without the life-saving benefits of modern science and technology.The expressed goal of environmentalism is to prevent man from changing his environment, from intruding on nature. That is why environmentalism is fundamentally anti-man. Intrusion is necessary for human survival. Only by intrusion can man avoid pestilence and famine. Only by intrusion can man control his life and project long-range goals. Intrusion improves the environment, if by environment one means the surroundings of man-the external material conditions of human life. Intrusion is a requirement of human nature. But in the environmentalists’ paean to Nature, human nature is omitted. For the environmentalists, the natural world is a world without man. Man has no legitimate needs, but trees, ponds and bacteria somehow do.They don’t mean it? Heed the words of the consistent environmentalists. The ending of the human epoch on Earth, writes philosopher Paul Taylor in Respect for Nature: A Theory of Environmental Ethics, would most likely be greeted with a hearty `Good riddance!’ In a glowing review of Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature, biologist David M. Graber writes (Los Angeles Times, October 29, 1989): Human happiness [is] not as important as a wild and healthy planet….Until such time as Homo Sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along. Such is the naked essence of environmentalism: it mourns the death of one whale or tree but actually welcomes the death of billions of people. A more malevolent, man-hating philosophy is unimaginable.The guiding principle of environmentalism is self-sacrifice, the sacrifice of longer lives, healthier lives, more prosperous lives, more enjoyable lives, i.e., the sacrifice of human lives. But an individual is not born in servitude. He has a moral right to live his own life for his own sake. He has no duty to sacrifice it to the needs of others and certainly not to the needs of the non-human.To save mankind from environmentalism, what’s needed is not the appeasing, compromising approach of those who urge a balance between the needs of man and the needs of the environment. To save mankind requires the wholesale rejection of environmentalism as hatred of science, technology, progress, and human life. To save mankind requires the return to a philosophy of reason and individualism, a philosophy which makes life on earth possible.”