Saturday, April 26, 2008

Earth Day

I cannot let this stand.

Michael Coren, while he does not deserve our audience, nonetheless gets it, probably because his thinking is so stridently backward, and his theories, while couched in compassion, are simply hateful.

I hesitate to give him any more blog space. I know that every time I comment, I simply direct more traffic to his column, and therefore give him more currency. But at the same time, I am compelled to draw attention to his latest vile misdirection, and comment on it. We need to know that men like this are still taken seriously. We need to know how his misrepresentations are accepted, spread and occasionally encoraged. We need to know that this bile sells newspapers, and presumably, many Canadians think like him.

We shall start with the beginning:

...It's come and it's gone. One of the most important and significant days on the
calendar. April 22.
No, not because it was Earth Day. That contrived absurdity founded by hateful Marxists, a convicted murderer and a bunch of cliched, bearded activists is irrelevant and should in fact be the one day in the year we try to pollute a little more than is absolutely necessary -- just to annoy them...

The mindless spite in the second paragraph is baffling. If he really does care for human life, to pollute more simply to annoy people who advocate sustainable development is insane. I also like that Marxists are self-evidently hateful.

...Life matters much, much more than the planet, which is merely a place on which humans live. We need to care for Earth not because of it, but because of us. Pure self-interest. If humanity did not exist, to hell with the planet. It's a means to an end. We're the end; Earth the means...

In some ways, he has a point. We need to save the planet because it's our collective ass, and it's also our fault that everything is fucked up. Since he clearly is so concerned for our collective ass, he polluted a little more on his daughter's birthday, just to make her feel special. And it's interesting to note his definition of life: human life. And, I suppose, he might even have a point there (since culturally we use virtually everything else for our own benefit, the morality of such a stance aside). But I find it astounding that he claims to value life, when later on, he will call for measures that will in fact cause the horrible deaths of billions of people, and claims that humans have dominion over the planet.

...Problem is, fashionable thinking has reversed the equation. The planet is to be saved because it is precious in itself and we, dangerous intruders, are the problem. Earth is to be revered, loved and even worshipped. Like some perverse replacement theology...
It's simple minds that have reversed the process. And it's a cheap shot but I can't leave it unsaid, simple minds like his. Granted, I feel guilt for my abuses of the ecosystem. The reasons for that are twofold. First, I feel bad that other species are dying so that I can have an iPod. So that I don't have to walk to work. So that I can eat fast, greasy food that'll kill me. I also feel bad that humans are dying so I can have an iPod, drive, and get a Big Mac. Most of the people paying the cost of my lifestyle live somewhere else, so it's easy to not think about them. Mr. Coren makes this point admirably. People are already dying so that the west can have more oil, to point out the most obvious example.

But my irresponsbility has a long half-life. I fuck up the planet now, future generations pay the price. Most notably, and heartbreakingly, my daughter.

It's also an amusing misdirection to claim that ecology is now a theology. Especially since his wastefulness is justified using his own theology. Other theologies directly contradict his. Jainism, Ba' hai and Wicca, for instance. Ecology as a subset of humanism may meet that criterion, but that's using the term "religion" loosely. I want to save the world, not because of any higher calling, but for my little girl, and all the other little girls and boys.

...This is why some of the leading spokesmen for the green movement are calling for the world's population to be reduced by 75% and see every birth, particularly in the developed world, as an ecological disaster rather than a living miracle.

This view also shapes their attitude towards the relationship between human and animal. I cannot tell you how often on radio and television I have been told that babies and puppies have equal worth and that if the choice had to be made between one and the other the person would "opt for the species that has done less harm to the planet."...

Calling for population reduction is simply a good idea, and only a man blinded by theology would claim that it is not. If contraception is a sin, clearly god wants us all dead. If contraception was widespread, easily available, and not condemned by men (and almost always men) who hold silly and dangerous superstitions, then population would decline, slowly, sensibly and sustainably. It would cause some economic difficulty, but that's simply evidence that current economic models are unsustainable and will kill a good many of us. Coren is saying that we MUST increase, yea, until we cover the earth, and the ground trembles before us. Never mind the fact that the human population is already unsustainable, and that MORE people will make things worse.

Coren's logic, if he follows it through, is this. We must have more people, even if most of them die. Clearly, he actually values human life, too.

It's also interesting to note that every birth is apparently a miracle, which devalues miracles a great deal. Birth is a natural process, and if natural processes are miracles, then so is every zit or shit I've ever had.

Hallelujah! It's a floater!

As for the relationship between human and animal, we are simply very clever and very destructive animals. We are consuming, polluting and violating our planet in the way that many other animals do to their own environments. Viruses and yeast are good examples. As for shoosing a puppy over a human baby, that is sick, and anyone who would force that choice is clearly fucked. Especially if it's god.

...It was all rather inevitable. As we abandoned the capacity to think and the desire to know, we simply believed anything and everything. How ironic then, that the day after Earth Day, April 23, is Shakespeare's birthday. The same ideologues behind the public school system that has worked so hard for years to expunge classical education from our children and prevent them learning about true greats such as Shakespeare, are obsessed with promoting Earth Day and guaranteeing that if kids know nothing else, they will know how and when to reduce their carbon footprint...

Shakespeare is a victim of Earth Day. He must be spinning in his grave.

I see a correlation, maybe, but not a connection. There's also a funny little nod to Chesterton here that only regular readers of Coren's column will see. When you stop believing in god, you lose critical thinking skills, is the argument. God was a victim OF my critical thinking skills, incidentally. I decided that god was a jerk by thinking about what I was taught about god, and by observing the world. Then I decided that god can't be a jerk, ergo, no god. He has this connection backwards.

And this might be the best part:

...We have a right to use the planet, animals, plants and flowers, the sea and
all else...
Because god said so. And theists accuse nonbelievers of arrogance.

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