Thursday, April 22, 2010

Celebrate Humanity, not "the Earth"

via Steve Horwitz:


While large portions of the population celebrate "the earth," take a few minutes and hoist a glass of fine wine or good scotch and give a quiet toast to the millions, if not billions, of human beings whose ability to tame the earth has enabled it to support six billion humans and taken humanity as a whole out of the misery and poverty that has characterized most of its history.  And then toast the great liberal thinkers who understood that economic freedom and the end of privilege was the key to unleashing human creativity and ingenuity as the "ultimate resource" for extending life and liberating increasing numbers of men, women, and children from the solitary, nasty, brutish, and short lives of the pre-industrial era.  It was capitalism's ability to tame and control nature that gave us the very wealth it takes to be able to afford to celebrate "earth day," so don't be an ingrate.  Celebrate markets, freedom, and human creativity because they, as Desrochers points out, are the earth's best friend.

2 comments:

Adqueen said...

Oh my.

I believe I might be in disagreement with every sentence of this post.

This may take a while.

I'll get back to you.

Adqueen said...

>>While large portions of the population celebrate "the earth," take a few minutes and hoist a glass of fine wine or good scotch and give a quiet toast to the millions, if not billions, of human beings whose ability to tame the earth has enabled it to support six billion humans and taken humanity as a whole out of the misery and poverty that has characterized most of its history.<<

Just this morning (8-9-10) a New York Times article points out that, “India’s eight poorest states have more people in poverty — an estimated 421 million — than Africa’s 26 poorest nations, one study recently reported.” The article further states, “42 percent of all Indian children under the age of 5 being underweight.” For a bigger picture, The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 2006 State of Food Insecurity Report estimated that 854 million people worldwide suffer from hunger and malnutrition, including 820 million in developing countries.

But maybe the author is only referring to the humanity here at home in the US that as a whole has been taken out of the misery and pov – oh wait, is he disregarding the approximately 36.5 million Americans who live in poverty?

If there are “millions, if not billions of human beings” taming the earth and feeding its inhabitants, they are not doing a very good job.


>>And then toast the great liberal thinkers who understood that economic freedom and the end of privilege was the key to unleashing human creativity and ingenuity as the "ultimate resource" for extending life and liberating increasing numbers of men, women, and children from the solitary, nasty, brutish, and short lives of the pre-industrial era.<<

See above. I will concede that “human creativity and ingenuity” may be the “ultimate resource”, but it is certainly not being used for those ends. Increasing personal wealth at the expense of others; corporations taking natural resources in foreign lands while leaving nothing in the way of improved living conditions or even infrastructure; neglect of corporate responsibility in light of catastrophe; corporate campaigns of misinformation; even human rights abuses - these are the current fruits of our “ultimate resource.”


>>It was capitalism's ability to tame and control nature that gave us the very wealth it takes to be able to afford to celebrate "earth day," so don't be an ingrate.<<

For one thing, no one has “tamed and controlled” nature. Unless you mean by “tamed” - taking what we want or need with little consideration for the waste and destruction we leave behind. We are continually short-sighted with regards to the Earth, of which we have only one. I would argue the lack of gratitude falls squarely in our laps in regards to all that this planet provides. Capitalism is nice, but it is no substitute for the greater good of treating this planet with respect in order that future generations can thrive – and that would include the ability to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and not wipe out other species that have just as much right to this world as we do.


>>Celebrate markets, freedom, and human creativity because they, as Desrochers points out, are the earth's best friend.<<

Please.



PS
I did embed links but they don't seem to be showing up - so if you want supporting docs and articles let me know.