Yesterday I wrote (here) about the importance of the survival of our species:
We have one job as adults: produce the next generation.
Given the amount of time it takes for a human child to achieve maturity (about 16-18 years for females and 60-70 years for males), “producing” the next generation goes well beyond the mere act of reproduction. We have to civilize the little barbarians, we have to care for them and tend to them and instruct them, in order to ensure the survival of our species. Even the childless bear some responsibility for ensuring the next generation is prepared to take the human adventure just a little further down the line. We’re a species, we need to survive. Everything else is just window dressing.
I wrote that as though it were a given, an obvious and inoffensive truism. I thought that whatever anyone’s ideology, theology, or philosophy, the survival of the human race would fit effortlessly into their outlook.
More fool me.
On the radio this morning, I heard mention of a guy who’d made an appearance on America’s “Dr. Phil” show yesterday to advocate the end of the human race.
His name is Les Knight, and he heads up an outfit called “the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement.”
He’s apparently a very chipper guy, very upbeat—Tucker Carlson once told him he was the most cheerful guy he’d ever had on his program. And why shouldn’t he be? His philosophy asks nothing of him beyond enjoying his life and then dying.
Philosophically speaking, that’s really no different than a line from Jim Morrison captured on one of the Doors’s live albums: “I tell you this, man, I tell you this: I don’t know what’s gonna happen, man, but I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames.”
I loved that album when I was 15 or 16. I loved that philosophy.
And it wasn’t just Morrison dishing it out:
One, two, three, four Shah-la, la-la-la-la live for today Shah-la, la-la-la-la live for today And don't worry 'bout tomorrow hey, hey, hey Shah-la, la-la-la-la live for today
That’s from the 1967 hit “Live for Today” by The Grassroots. It was already classic rock by the time I was in high school, but the sentiment still had plenty of appeal to a 16-year-old kid.
It’s called hedonism and it’s been around forever. So there’s nothing new in what Les Knight is selling, but I guess the end-of-days climate alarmism floating around in the zeitgeist gives him a veneer of legitimacy: it’s not hedonism, it’s our duty to the planet.
Well, alrighty then.
The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement has an ugly website to promote their stupid idea in dozens of languages. You can even watch cutesy little videos where human beings are compared to cancer cells, or where Storks literally destroy the earth by dropping babies on it.
That second one has a funny little feature I’d like to bring to your attention, so let me drop it right here where you can view it right now:
Did you watch it?
Can you guess what the funny little feature is?
All the awful people destroying the world with their houses and cars are white.
All of them.
Presumably they’re also all heterosexual, since they’re presented in couples and they’re making babies and homosexual couples can’t reproduce on their own. (I almost said “obviously,” but I’m no longer sure that’s the case.)
Also they all seem to live in single-family suburban homes.
The exclusive whiteness of the video is interesting because whites are actually a global minority. I mean, as a species we really tend to be more brown than white.
For example, there are more Chinese and than there are Americans, Canadians, and Europeans combined. Almost twice as many—and that’s including Russia in Europe. There are also more Indians. The combined populations of Indonesia, Pakistan, and Nigeria also exceed the populations of America, Canada, and Europe.
You’d never know whites were a minority, of course, because for some reason people don’t seem to want word to get out. The Wikipedia page on “Demographics of the World,” for example, breaks the global population down by region, age, sex, religion, birth rate, language, education levels… but it doesn’t even mention the word race. The closest they come is a single sentence: “The world’s largest ethnic group is Han Chinese.”
There’s not a single Han Chinese in the video above.
As a white westerner who’s routinely being told how oppressive I am on the sheer basis of my accidental occidental whiteness I find that interesting. Not because I give a damn about race—I don’t, and I don’t think anyone should—but because in my world, this crumbling ruin of western civilization that so many of us are trying to keep propped up, I’m being told that race is everything.
Well, race and sex.
Here’s that Wikipedia page’s little infographic on “sex ratio”:
Just males and females? What about nonbinaries? Two-spirits? Ctholomites?
Okay, never mind, I never should have turned to a site as reactionary and un-woke as Wikipedia.
Suffice to say it’s startling to see a video in which every character is lily white and suburban—but I can’t help wondering if that’s because they knew there’d be hell to pay for suggesting that “people of color” (ie, the global majority) should stop reproducing.
Apparently not everything cries out for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Where was I?
Ah, right: Les Knight and the need to rid the earth of our presence.
Here’s his appearance on Dr. Phil:
“Feed ’em, don’t breed ’em” is a catchy little phrase.
Here’s a week-old article about the guy on some website I never heard of, even though it’s apparently an article from The New York Times:
“People mention music and art and literature and the great things that we have done. It’s funny they don’t ever mention the bad things we’ve done,” he continued. “I don’t think the whales will miss our songs.”
Fair enough, but that last statement is interesting. He doesn’t think the whales will miss our songs.
Of course they won’t: they’re not sentient. But he can think that, because he himself is. Whales may have a certain intelligence: they may communicate, they may learn, they may have elaborate mating rituals and migratory habits, but they’re not swimming around wondering whether we’d miss their damn songs (which are most likely just various ways of saying “I’m hungry,” “I’m horny,” and “back off”). That kind of abstraction requires a level of intelligence possessed by only one creature in the entire animal kingdom of earth: the human being.
Take people off the earth, and certainly a lot of species that are struggling today would have a better time of it, but so what? Not a single creature left on the planet would even know they had it better. They’d just be out there eating and shitting and fucking and breeding. And being eaten. That’s all any other species does. They don’t think, they don’t reflect, they don’t wonder: they do what they can to survive long enough to propagate before they die.
We’re different. We think. We reflect. We wonder. We invent. We laugh.
And for that alone, we children of the earth have a responsibility to persist, to carry the flame of self-awareness forward into the otherwise lifeless and unthinking cosmos.
The world (and the universe) can’t be better for our absence, because we’re the ones who invented better and worse, good and bad, right and wrong. Take us away and they go with us. The whales won’t miss us because they can’t appreciate us—because they’re whales.
I can understand someone agitating against overpopulation. I don’t agree with the arguments, but it’s not unreasonable to believe that overpopulation could have a devastating impact on us as a species: there’s plenty of evidence of it wreaking havoc on other species. Hunting quotas are usually scaled to the population of the game for just that reason: we’re part of the solution to thinning their herd before starvation does the job instead.
Historically our own “herd” has been thinned by natural disasters and our enthusiasm for killing one another.
And by wealth.
Anyone who wants to see the human population of the earth reduced could start by advocating for policies that will generate more wealth for more people. That’s not just how to fight overpopulation, but hunger, disease, and a whole bunch of other human afflictions. Virtually every wealthy westernized nation on the planet has fallen below replacement-level reproduction.
That’s why we have labor shortages: we’re not producing enough new citizens so we need to import them. Meanwhile, poorer countries are producing so many people they have to export them to prevent societal collapse from all the problems created by too many people and not enough jobs.
Knight himself points out to Dr. Phil that something like 44% of young people are choosing not to reproduce, and in a separate bit he points out that impoverished people often can’t afford birth control and end up having kids they can’t support. Wealth is instrumental in both cases—being able to choose when or whether to reproduce is a luxury of wealth.
If Les Knight wanted to advocate for birth control—for “reproductive freedom”—he could do so without calling for the extinction of our species. He throws out a lot of happy-clappy slogans about various ways in which we could make life better for our fellow humans, and that’s lovely, but none of them requires human extinction.
That’s his own addition.
It’s also his main attraction, publicity-wise.
Take it away and he’s just another friendly old leftist agitating for the usual leftist stuff.
It’s like he’s the love child of Bernie Sanders and Dr. Kevorkian.
We really do seem to be living through a period of civilizational psychosis. I have no doubt there are going to be more Les Knights popping up in the years ahead, and although neither he nor his organization advocate suicide, I won’t be surprised when we start seeing suicide cults claiming victims in the thousands, maybe the tens of thousands.
These are not the end times. We are not the enemy of our world. To the best of our knowledge so far, we are the only sentient creatures the universe has ever created. As such, we’re our universe’s only way of knowing itself.
And we know so very little so far: let’s keep going! We need to get off our planet, out of our solar system. We need to explore our galaxy—and other galaxies! And should we eventually come to meet other sentient beings, we need to team up, compare notes, and continue expanding together, until awareness and sentience fill the cosmos: until the universe knows itself completely.
To deliberately let ourselves die out would be to shut the eyes and ears of the universe.
Godspeed, Mr. Knight… and I hope you get your kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames.