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The "Nature Rights" War on Humans

Wesley J. Smith

Smith cover.jpegShout it from the rooftops! Copy the column I will quote below and send it far and wide. Tweet. Facebook. Tell your mother. The Nature Rights Movement wants to destroy human prosperity.

I have been feeling very lonely in my years of warning about nature rights. Most people just roll their eyes. 

Not Suzanne Webel, at least not any longer. She lives in the Boulder area, which, as she points out, has very strong environmental protections already in place. But some environmentalists want a rights-of-nature law passed, and she was appointed to a task force to see if the request could be accommodated.

Webel found the experience a real eye-opener. She lists the nature rightists’ demands in her column, "Just Say No to the Rights of Nature," published in the Daily Camera. They include, with my comments: 

1) "Eliminate the authority of a property owner to destroy, or cause substantial harm to, natural communities and ecosystems."

Nature rights is Marxist in its intentions. This would essentially destroy the rights of private property.

2) Accord "inherent, inalienable, and fundamental rights of Nature to all Natural Beings" including humans and "all living species of plants, animals, and algae."

Humans are just another virus in the forest.

3) Include a Statement of Law that "All Natural beings, Natural Communities and Ecosystems possess the inalienable right to exist, flourish, regenerate, and evolve."

A right to life for nature would stop human enterprise and resource development in its tracks.

4) Declare that "The Precautionary Principle Is Needed To Protect These Rights."

The PP assumes that if something even has the slightest, hypothetical chance of going wrong, it must not be done. It’s another way to stop humans from engaging in enterprises and resource development.

5) Find that "It shall be unlawful for any person, government entity, corporation (etc.) to intentionally or recklessly violate the rights of Natural Beings, Natural Communities or Ecosystems."

This comes close to a law of ecocide that would criminalize development.

6) Enforce "Damages" measured by the cost of restoring the Natural Community or Ecosystem to its [original] state before the injury.

Notice that there need be no pollution. Requiring any user of nature to restore it to its original condition is intended to chill any uses of nature.

Webel nails the war on humans these environmentalists are waging:

The proposed "Rights of Nature Ordinance" would have enormous detrimental implications for all public and private lands, agriculture, medicine, backyard gardens, animal ownership, public land access and trail use, property rights and many other existing rights of Boulder County residents. It would create unimaginable social and legal nightmares for all of us. In fact, I believe that is exactly what its advocates intend: to deliberately paralyze almost all legitimate and necessary activities routinely undertaken by individuals, governments, and corporations countywide.

Bingo! And with malice aforethought.

The war on humans conducted by nature-rights activists won’t succeed — unless no one takes the campaign seriously. Complacently assuming it can’t happen here is the one certain way to assure that it does. In fact, it already has.

Cross-posted at Human Exceptionalism.

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.

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