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“Nature’s Rights” Constitutional Amendment Is Proposed

Wesley J. Smith

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The California secession movement is active again, gathering signatures for a vote. One group, perhaps knowing that won’t succeed, is pushing for changes to the U.S. Constitution, including a new amendment guaranteeing “Nature’s rights.” From the Mercury News story:

The U.S. Constitution, the group says, should include a section entitled “Human Community Laws of Nature.” It should “declare that Nature is a freely living being with inalienable rights and that no individual, business entity, government, ‘owner,’ or organization shall inflict violence or servitude on her,” according to a working document posted online.

Before you are tempted to laugh, realize that the environmental movement is becoming increasingly anti-human and the “nature rights” movement is growing. Thus, while I am almost sure — almost — that the Constitution will never be so amended, it would not surprise me at all if California or some other state that leans heavily to the port side passes such a law.

Also, note that two countries have enacted nature rights, and that the idea was supported by former U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. Meanwhile, at least three rivers have been declared to be “persons” with enforceable rights, as well as two glaciers. Nearly 40 U.S. municipalities, including Santa Monica, have laws allowing anyone to seek a court order enforcing the “rights of nature” by impeding development. Oh, and an orangutan was declared a non-human person in Argentina and granted a writ of habeas corpus.

Nature rights seeks to prevent humans from thriving by our use of natural resources. It is a form of nature religion. It is also an ideological statement against human exceptionalism that declares us just another species in the forest.

Photo: Nature asserts its rights, by Dietmar Rabich / Wikimedia Commons / “Bredevoort (NL), Parkbank — 2016 — 1398” / CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Cross-posted at The Corner.

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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Californiaglaciershuman exceptionalismlawsnature rightsorangutanriversSanta Monicawrit of habeas corpus