Todd May, a philosophy professor at Clemson University, recently wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times entitled “Would Human Extinction be a Tragedy?” and it can be found here. A few snippets from the article:
There are stirrings of discussion these days in philosophical circles about the prospect of human extinction. This should not be surprising, given the increasingly threatening predations of climate change. In reflecting on this question, I want to suggest an answer to a single question, one that hardly covers the whole philosophical territory but is an important aspect of it. Would human extinction be a tragedy?
To get a bead on this question, let me distinguish it from a couple of other related questions. I’m not asking whether the experience of humans coming to an end would be a bad thing. (In these pages, Samuel Scheffler has given us an important reason to think that it would be.) I am also not asking whether human beings as a species deserve to die out. That is an important question, but would involve different considerations. Those questions, and others like them, need to be addressed if we are to come to a full moral assessment of the prospect of our demise. Yet what I am asking here is simply whether it would be a tragedy if the planet no longer contained human beings. And the answer I am going to give might seem puzzling at first. I want to suggest, at least tentatively, both that it would be a tragedy and that it might just be a good thing.
Not surprising that this kind of question would come from academic philosophers. Further down…
To make that case, let me start with a claim that I think will be at once depressing and, upon reflection, uncontroversial. Human beings are destroying large parts of the inhabitable earth and causing unimaginable suffering to many of the animals that inhabit it. This is happening through at least three means. First, human contribution to climate change is devastating ecosystems, as the recent article on Yellowstone Park in The Times exemplifies. Second, increasing human population is encroaching on ecosystems that would otherwise be intact. Third, factory farming fosters the creation of millions upon millions of animals for whom it offers nothing but suffering and misery before slaughtering them in often barbaric ways. There is no reason to think that those practices are going to diminish any time soon. Quite the opposite.
Humanity, then, is the source of devastation of the lives of conscious animals on a scale that is difficult to comprehend.
Ahhh, the old “science is settled” argument with
global cooling global warming climate change. Think of the animals! And further…
So, then, how much suffering and death of nonhuman life would we be willing to countenance to save Shakespeare, our sciences and so forth? Unless we believe there is such a profound moral gap between the status of human and nonhuman animals, whatever reasonable answer we come up with will be well surpassed by the harm and suffering we inflict upon animals. There is just too much torment wreaked upon too many animals and too certain a prospect that this is going to continue and probably increase; it would overwhelm anything we might place on the other side of the ledger. Moreover, those among us who believe that there is such a gap should perhaps become more familiar with the richness of lives of many of our conscious fellow creatures. Our own science is revealing that richness to us, ironically giving us a reason to eliminate it along with our own continued existence.
One might ask here whether, given this view, it would also be a good thing for those of us who are currently here to end our lives in order to prevent further animal suffering. Although I do not have a final answer to this question, we should recognize that the case of future humans is very different from the case of currently existing humans. To demand of currently existing humans that they should end their lives would introduce significant suffering among those who have much to lose by dying. In contrast, preventing future humans from existing does not introduce such suffering, since those human beings will not exist and therefore not have lives to sacrifice. The two situations, then, are not analogous.
It may well be, then, that the extinction of humanity would make the world better off and yet would be a tragedy. I don’t want to say this for sure, since the issue is quite complex. But it certainly seems a live possibility, and that by itself disturbs me.
One thing that it seems only a few people recognize, Vox Day and Owen Benjamin, to name a couple, is that we living in the West are seeing a very concerted effort to remove Christianity from the very fabric of Western Civilization. As globalism continues to creep in this will only get worse as all of these far-left totalitarian ideologies try to remove Christ and push materialism above all.
Why does this matter? Watch the video above and the one at the end to see just a few of the effects. When Christ is removed from Western Civilization, things begin to crumble. Morality is questioned. The lines are blurred. We begin to accept worse and worse, more heinous things without even noticing it. Boys are told they can be girls and vice versa. Values are inverted. On top of this, there is no “higher” figure or idea to turn to for help, guidance, and hope. When Christ is removed it’s easy to see how one could view humans as no different or special or important than any animal. Often times when one removes Christ they also lose any sort of connection to their soul or looking at things beyond what we see and hear.
Maybe this sounds ludicrous or over the top to some people, but it’s a very real problem. Nietzsche understood this. He obviously wasn’t a devoted Christian but he recognized the potential peril of removing God. He was concerned what we’d replace Him with. And as he points out often times this leads to a road of nihilism. This take on nihilism sums it up nicely:
Nihilism, according to Nietzsche, is the most extreme form of pessimism. Put simply, it is the belief that everything is meaningless, but this oversimplifies the concept. Nihilism is a transitional stage that accompanies human development. It arises from weariness. When people feel alienated from values, and have lost the foundation of their value system but have not replaced it with anything, then they become nihilists. They become disappointed with the egoistic nature of ‘truth’ and ‘morality’ and so on, but at the same time recognise that what is egoistic is necessary. The notion of free will seems contradictory. Values, though originating from the ego, have been placed in a sphere so far outside and ‘above’ that they are untouchable. Any attempt to really figure out the ‘truth’ or posit a ‘true reality’ has become impossible, thus the world appears meaningless and valueless. The nihilist realises that all criteria by which the ‘real world’ have been measured are categories that refer to a fictitious, constructed world. This sense of alienation results in exhaustion.
That rings a little too true in 2018, yes?
Back to the article. Only in this kind of nihilistic world would one even consider questioning the value of humanity as the way he’s posited it. Christians obviously do not have this problem. Many religions do not, for that matter. It is not surprising that atheism is on the rise these days and that more people probably take the viewpoint of the author than one might think. This is an absolute inversion of values. And I suppose at this point this must be said: it is not healthy for one to think that wiping out one’s species is the best thing for them to do. That kind of self-destructive mentality is dangerous.
And yet we see it everywhere every day. I can think of at least one group of people who are encouraging the very policies that will have them wiped out from their own civilization.
What does this say about the current state of culture? Where a major “news” outlet is publishing opinion pieces like this. Don’t get me wrong, it’s entirely okay for them to do so. But I’m talking about the climate of our country where this doesn’t even shock people anymore and many will seriously consider this and wonder if maybe it really is a good thing? That shows how far the Cultural Marxism has seeped in. How far we’ve shifted to the left. Whether one is a Christian or not, it is undeniable that Christianity was a central pillar in building this Western society we now live in, and if you like what it has built it must be recognized that it cannot be removed without utter decline into decadence and ruin. Something to think about anyways this Christmas. What kind of society do you want to live in?