Day By Day

Monday, June 02, 2008

The Anti-Humanists

Matthew Connelly has written an interesting history of what he calls the "Malthusian movement" -- the numerous attempts to limit, reduce, or eliminate human populations. Until recently, this imperative had limited goals:
The central preoccupation of the Malthusian movement was not simply growth itself, but a fear that the wrong kind of people tend to have the highest fertility rates. The problem, apparently, was one of differential fertility rates; Malthusians were haunted by anxiety that families of the wrong class and the wrong colour might overwhelm those who came from the right stock. Not surprisingly, then, they had a very selective attitude towards population control. They were principally concerned with controlling the population growth of ‘other people’.
That was the old Malthusianism. Today it has taken on an even more "openly anti-human" tone. As Frank Furedi notes in his review of Connelly's book:
‘Humans are too great a threat to life on earth: they should be phased out.’ That is the message of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. As one more mainstream Malthusian argues, ‘a non-existent person has no environmental footprint; the emission “saving” is instant and total’ (2). This obvious preference for the ‘non-existent’ over the ‘existent’ exposes the powerful anti-humanist sentiment in contemporary Malthusianism. It is not only eccentric, isolated misanthropes who celebrate ‘non-existence’ today: rather, this outlook is symptomatic of wider cultural trends that devalue and denigrate human life.
Read it here.

This "transhumanist" imperative is to me the most alarming aspect of today's elite culture and the one most strongly to be opposed. But then, mine is a limited perspective -- I am, after all, unashamedly human.

You can purchase Connelly's book by clicking on one of the Amazon banners at the top of this page.