Extreme Misanthropy

AIAA announced a couple weeks ago at IAC that they are renaming their annual Space Forum “Ascend.”

Having gotten that announcement out of the way with the plug for AIAA (which graced me with a media pass to the conference, on top of my delegate badge), this cannot go without comment. As I was ascending (see what I did there?) the escalator to the plenary this morning, someone was handing out a flyer called “ASCEND TODAY.” In it, it had two op-eds.

The first was titled “The Argument For Riding Out Humanity Here At Home And Nowhere Else,” by “B. Line.”

Chances are it’s one of those survival tools ingrained into our genes — the notion that “humanity” as well as other species are conscious, sentient beings, aware of their own mortality and filled with the same emotions, desires, regrets, and consciences as though they were an individual.

It’s what leads us to feel sad at the notion of something becoming extinct as if the thing possessed a collective soul that would experience immense angst or anguish if it disappeared from the planet.

The reality is unless there’s a cataclysmic event, the end of humanity of any other species typically would mean nothing more than a gradual tapering of populations until there was none left. “We” wouldn’t be missed. But again, it’s not “we.” Or “us.” “We,” after all, are not part of a larger collective consciousness. Just as “we” don’t really win when our favorite sports tea does. “We” had nothing to do with it.

But while the end of humanity would not in reality cause any actual sadness — as human-caused global warming is proving every passing day — humanity’s presence is causing real pain and real harm to living, breathing sentient creatures. Our presence is slowly (quickly in geologic terms) making the earth uninhabitable.

This is why, personally, I don’t think we should attempt to perpetuate humanity beyond our own failed experiment here at home. Humanity has caused so much damage to our planet and the life that inhabits it, there’s little justification to inflict or scourge anywhere else in the universe.

I may have missed transcribing the first paragraph. I was going to fisk this, but haven’t had time, but I thought I’d at least toss it out as chum for commenters.

18 thoughts on “Extreme Misanthropy”

  1. “Chum” is a good way to describe it, and it’s hard to tell how one should best dissect something that dense.

    Given the author’s likely background and mindset of political correctness, the most direct response might be some simple ju-jitsu.

    “White writer okay with extinction of blacks, Asians, and Native Americans as penance for white environmental sins.”

  2. “We” wouldn’t be missed.
    A person that likely will leave no children -or- any other “legacy” thinks that no other human should want to. Fine. Go away and stop bothering us if your “highest aspiration is irrelevance”.

  3. It’s here.

    Just as “we” don’t really win when our favorite sports team does. “We” had nothing to do with it.

    The hell you say, I can scream as loud as the next guy, and I know that opposing batter can hear me quite clearly.

    The other one (by Oprah Edwards) start off thus:
    As climate change edges us ever closer to an untimely end of life as we know it on Earth, and doesn’t really improve much from there.

  4. As others have noted… a new Apartment complex has gone up in my neighborhood to meet the Obama Administration HUD regulation changes that low income housing be placed in any new development no matter the land value. The name of the complex, “Ascend”. I noted to my wife when they unveiled the name, “it is one letter off”.

    1. I’m sure that with a little sign-making ingenuity, you can correct their mistake in the wee hours of the morning.

  5. ““We” wouldn’t be missed. But again, it’s not “we.” Or “us.” “We,” after all, are not part of a larger collective ”

    Are we not part of the collective life on Earth? How does this person, ignorant of the history of life on our planet, know that we wouldn’t be missed by life on Earth much less life somewhere off Earth?

    Why wouldn’t our own feelings on the right to exist matter? Is it because the author believes in some sort of supernatural collective that humans don’t belong to and hates humans? Do they have a book on what can be done to get into the good graces of this supernatural entity?

    When religion is removed from people’s lives, they find a way to keep the religiosity going. It is just too bad so many people choose animism, nature worship, and nihilistic death cults rather than something more uplifting.

    Some of the “smartest” people in our society are too dumb to understand their own existence.

  6. Hand this self- loathing suicidal vermin what the Chinese emperors supposedly sent to officials who displeased them: a lump of raw opium and a silken cord, accompanied by letter written in vermillion ink politely explaining why the offending official should off himself.

    1. “I wonder if they realize that most everything they eat is a “non-native, invasive species” that humanity seeded in a new place?”

      And genetically modified as well (unless you think that the corn on the cob you had at the picnic last summer was genetically identical to Central American maize). We can now directly manipulate genes, but the former method of cross fertilization still works.

  7. This argument appears in many places. It can be opposed by a better argument, or the internal mechanics of it laid bare so they can be seen.

    First, if *any* life is a good thing, or Earth is a good thing, then note that *all* life spreads out in to new environmental niches. So far as we can tell, lifeless worlds are the common result and we only know of life on Earth. Until and unless we find otherwise, we must assume life might be unique to Earth. Unless you believe that life itself is a bad thing, life should be perpetuated and preserved. To preserve it, it must spread out to new environmental niches. From time to time, evolutionary leaps have allowed life to spread to previously uninhabitable niches, such as the colonization of plant life on land, or the evolution of wood-eating life. Humanity is an evolutionary leap which, for the first time, has the capacity to spread life to other worlds. It would be a rejection of life’s value not to do so.

    Now, examine the original argument more closely. In one flavor or another, the proposition is that humanity is a bad thing, a valueless thing, a thing not worth preserving and promoting. I note that no law and no custom can truly keep someone determined to die from finding a way to do so. The authors of these pieces are all alive as they write them. Therefore, either they do not believe what they say, or when they say “human” they don’t mean themselves. If they are simply lying, their argument is invalid. Pursue the second alternative. They think of themselves as something other than human, or a “better kind of human”, and it is other humans, those lesser humans, who they believe the Universe is better off without. This is no new idea, but call it what is is — they believe themselves the Ubermenschen, the over-people, the Master Race, the New Soviet Man, and the rest of us to be Untermenschen, the under-people, the ‘deplorables’, to be cleared from the Earth so they can be its sole beneficiaries. There is no other logical alternative for a human to be arguing against the worth of humanity while still preserving their own life. So call this doctrine what it is, call their solution, the Final Solution, what it is, and treat the advocates of this position as the advocates of genocide — or omnicide — should be treated. The fact that they prefer the process to be slow rather than fast and that they prefer to keep their own hands clean and rely on famine, poverty, and fertility restriction to achieve their ends does not change what they advocate.

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