Merchants of Despair
Radical environmentalists, criminal pseudo-scientists, and the fatal cult of antihumanism.
(/sites/default/files/uploads/2012/05/merchant.jpg)Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Dr. Robert Zubrin, president of Pioneer Astronautics and a Senior Fellow with the Center for Security Policy. A well-known innovator in the fields of aerospace and energy, he has a PhD in Nuclear Engineering, 10 patents, numerous publications, and 8 books, including The Case for Mars and Energy Victory. His latest book is Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism.
FP: Dr. Robert Zubrin, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Let’s begin by you telling us what you mean by “the cult of antihumanism.”
Zubrin: Thanks Jamie.
Antihumanism is a belief system which holds that humans are destroyers, essentially vermin whose activities, aspirations, and numbers must be severely constrained, and that therefore someone must be empowered to do the constraining. Essentially it is an argument for tyranny, oppression, and ultimately genocide.
FP: Why would anyone choose to embrace such beliefs?
Zubrin: Well, you must understand that such arguments have always been gratifying to those seeking to enhance their power or justify their oppression of others. Therefore they use their positions of influence in society to make them fashionable, or “politically correct,” to use an originally Stalinist term that is now all the rage.
FP: It appears that much of modern-day environmentalism is antihumanist, as you’ve defined it, but antihumanism has been around for some time, right?
Zubrin: Yes. In the book I trace it back 200 years, starting with Malthus, the seminal founding father of the theory of limited resources, and then trace it forward through its subsequent development through numerous interrelated forms, including Darwinism, eugenics, German militarism, Nazism, xenophobia, the population control movement, environmentalism, technophobia, and most recently, the incredibly demented climatophobic movement, which seeks to justify mass human sacrifice for the purpose of weather control.
There was a time when humanity looked in the mirror and saw something precious, worth protecting and fighting for—indeed, worth liberating. But now, we are beset on all sides by propaganda promoting a radically different viewpoint. According to this idea, human beings are a cancer upon the Earth, a horde of vermin whose aspirations and appetites are endangering the natural order. This is the core of antihumanism.
FP: Tell us about Al Gore’s antihumanism.
Zubrin: Al Gore is trying to turn antihumanism into a global cult. Just have a look at this quote from his book An Inconvenient Truth:
“The climate crisis also offers us the chance to experience what very few generations in history have had the privilege of knowing: a generational mission; the exhilaration of a compelling moral purpose; a shared and unifying cause; the thrill of being forced by circumstances to put aside the pettiness and conflict that so often stifle the restless human need for transcendence; the opportunity to _rise_…When we rise, we will experience an epiphany as we discover that this crisis is not really about politics at all. It is a moral and spiritual challenge.”
In short, the purpose of the global warming crusade is not to change the weather, it’s to organize a mob in support of totalitarian policies.
It is revealing that Gore chose the words “An Inconvenient Truth” as the title of his book. That phrase could be the virtual chorus line for all the antihuman movements for the past 200 years who used pseudoscientific arguments to demand that people harden their hearts to the human misery the purported to be necessary. I.e.
Thomas Malthus: It is an inconvenient truth that “the Irish must be swept from the land.”
Charles Darwin: It is an inconvenient truth that “the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world.”
General Friedrich von Bernhardi (German General Staff, author, Germany and the Next War, 1912): It is an inconvenient truth that “war is necessary because it eliminates the weak.”
Madison Grant (Author, The Passing of the Great Race, 1916): It is an inconvenient truth that “indiscriminate efforts to preserve babies among the lower classes often results in serious injury to the race…It is an inconvenient truth that “the laws of nature require the obliteration of the unfit and human life is valuable only when it is of use to the community or race.”
Henry Fairfield Osborn (1932): It is an inconvenient truth that “overpopulation and underemployment mat be regarded as twin sisters…the United States [with 112 million people in 1932] is overpopulated at the present time.”
Rudolf Hess (1933): It is an inconvenient truth that “National Socialism is simply applied biology.”
Adolf Hitler (1941): It is an inconvenient truth that “the law of existence prescribes uninterrupted killing, so that the better may live.”
Fairfield Osborn (author, Our Plundered Planet, 1948): It is an inconvenient truth that “the problem of the pressure of increasing populations…cannot be solved in a way that is consistent with the ideals of humanity.”
Paul Ehrlich, (author, The Population Bomb, 1968): It is an inconvenient truth that “the population explosion is an uncontrolled multiplication of people…We must shift our efforts from the treatment to the cutting out of the cancer.”
John Holdren and Paul Ehrlich, (authors Global Ecology, 1971): It is an inconvenient truth that “when a population of organisms grows in a finite environment, sooner or later it will encounter a resource limit. This phenomenon, described by ecologists as reaching the ‘carrying capacity’ of the environment, applies to bacteria on a culture dish, to fruit flies in a jar of agar, and to buffalo on a prairie. It must also apply to man on this finite planet.”
The Club of Rome (authors Mankind at a Turning Point, 1974): It is an inconvenient truth that “the world has cancer, and the cancer is Man.”
Alexander King, (founder, The Club of Rome, 1990): It is an inconvenient truth that “DDT…has greatly added to the population problem.”
All: “It is an inconvenient truth that humanity must be crushed. Science requires it. So harden your heart and join with all enlightened people in support of those doing the crushing.”
FP: Share with us some of the worst crimes perpetrated by the antihumanist movement.
Zubrin: I discuss many of them at length in the book. They include denial of food aid and imposing crushing taxes and rents on Ireland and India during the great famines of the 1800s, promoting the ideologies that led to World War I, World War II, and the Nazi genocide programs, the forced sterilization of tens of millions of people by the prewar eugenics movement and the post war population control movement, the killing of hundreds of millions of people through denial of vital life-saving technologies including pesticides and vitamin-enriched crop strains to the third world, and assisting in the impoverishment of billions by blocking the development of new energy resources.
FP: Most people don’t know how the first Green Party was actually founded. Please enlighten us.
Zubrin: The German Green Party was founded by August Haussleiter. A former SS officer and member of the Nazi Party since 1923, when he stood by Hitler during the Beer Hall Putsch. It was based on such previous works as Ludwig Klages’ 1913 proto-Nazi German “Volkisch” youth movement tract Man and Earth (republished by the Green Party, without comment, as one of its founding documents in 1980) and future Nazi Agriculture Minister Richard Darre’s 1931 book A New Nobility Out of Blood and Soil.
These writers popularized a cult ideology celebrating the natural “authentic” qualities of the good old-fashioned German country people, or Volk (literally “folk,” but also carrying the meaning of “tribe”). According to these and allied writers, the Volk derived their deep and “genuine” souls from their “rootedness” in the land, shared ancestral kinship, and connection to nature. In contrast, Jews, representing corrupt urban modernity and lacking in landed rootedness, were soulless and thus could never be part of the German Volk. Christianity, science, technology, industry, progress, “mechanical and materialistic civilization,” and all else that proposed to raise man above nature, were also to be abhorred. Popularized widely in prose works, fiction, and drama, these ideas formed the basis of the huge back-to-nature Volkisch and related Youth movements that arose in Germany during the late 19th Century.
When, in the 1920s, the new Nazi party raised the pagan swastika flag celebrating the power of irrational animal nature over civilization and reason, the Volkisch Greens flocked to the cause. In the 1970s, as environmentalism became fashionable again, Haussleiter seized the time to organize a political renaissance of this constituency. The result was the Green Party, which true to its origins in “pure race on pure soil” ideology, has taken the lead in the campaign to stop modern agriculture worldwide.
As a result of their activity, the European Union has banned farm imports from third world countries using genetically modified crops. Since the third worlders cannot afford to give up the European market, this has blocked them from implementing vitamin-enriched cereals like golden rice, which could prevent the blinding or deaths of millions of poor children every year.
FP: Crystallize please the major flaws of Darwinism.
Zubrin: Evolution is a fact. However natural selection is a radically false theory of human social development because unlike animals, humans can inherit acquired traits, such as new technological abilities. Not only that, can inherit such valuable acquired traits from people they are not related to. Furthermore, such beneficial acquired traits, which become available to all, are created by human effort during life. Therefore human existence is not a struggle of all against all. Humans benefit from the existence of other people, nations, and races, exactly the opposite of what a Darwinian view would maintain. Darwin says that it is “from this war of nature, from famine and death,” that progress in nature occurs. But this is simply untrue for humans. Human progress is driven by creative activity during life, not by elimination through death.
FP: What is really behind the climate change/global warming movement?
Zubrin: In the 1970s there was a global cooling trend going on. So the antihumanists said “look, there is global cooling, which is being driven by industry, which is being driven by out of control economic growth and population growth. They have to be put under control. Put us in control.” Then in the 1980s the climate began to warm, so they said “look, there is global warming, which is being driven by industry, which is being driven by out of control economic growth and population growth. They have to be put under control. Put us in control.” The problem is always different, the solution is always the same – put them in control. Its not about weather, it’s about power.
Actually, they made a lot more sense when they were against global cooling. Had it continued, global cooling would actually have been bad. Global warming is good. It lengthens the growing season and increases net rainfall worldwide. Increasing the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere is even better, as it accelerates the rate of plant growth – and this in fact is happening. We have photographs taken from orbit since 1958, and they show that the rate of wild plant growth has increased 14%, at the same time that the atmospheric CO2 level has increased 19%. And there is no doubt that it is the CO2 augmentation that is helping the plants, because you can repeat the same experiment in the lab and get the same result. Plants need CO2, and by raising its atmospheric concentration above its impoverished preindustrial levels, humans have made the Earth a more fertile planet. But to the antihumanists, this does not matter. Despite their rhetoric, they are not friends of the biosphere, they are enemies of humanity – prosecutors seeking any grounds, no matter how unfounded, for a conviction that will allow them to put the human race in chains.
FP: Why were Jewish refugees on their way to America aboard the St. Louis in 1939 turned back? Who and what was really responsible for that crime? What ended up happening to those refugees?
Zubrin: During the 1920s and 1930s the American eugenics movement, which, as I show in detail in the book, was intimately linked to the Nazis, sought to restrict immigration to prevent non-Nordic people from entering the United States, and with their advice, immigration restriction laws with strict racial quotas were passed for that purpose. Jews were a particular target, and became more so after the Nazi takeover of Germany in 1933 made emigration an increasingly urgent necessity. For their part, the pre-war Nazis were willing to let Jews leave, albeit without their property. The problem was, that in every country the eugenicists campaigned to stop their admission. Thus, when in 1939, Senator Robert Wagner (D-NY) put forward a bill that would have allowed 20,000 German Jewish children, who had already been accepted for adoption by American families, to enter the USA above the quota, the eugenicists, led by Population Reference Bureau director Guy Irving Burch, Eugenics Records Office Superintendant H.H. Laughlin, and American Eugenics Society director John Trevor, organized a successful campaign to defeat the bill. According to Burch, writing in the Washington Post in May 1939, 20,000 Jewish children might not seem like much, but they would multiply to 500,000 in only 5 generations.
A few weeks later, the St. Louis arrived, bearing 930 Jewish refugees, seeking permission to land. As they sailed up and down the east coast begging entry, Laughlin issued a special report on immigration which demanded that “international sentimentality” not cause America to lower its “eugenical and racial standards,” that immigration quotas be cut a further 60 percent, and that “loopholes” which allowed Jewish immigration to America by excusing the “moral turpitude” of fleeing Jews who had smuggled (their own) money out of Nazi Germany be closed.
As a result of this agitation, the St. Louis was turned around, and the 620 of its passengers who could not receive permission to get off in Britain were returned to Europe, where 254 of them were eventually gassed.
In 1942, Burch and Trevor’s anti-immigrant “Coalition of Patriotic Societies” was indicted for pro-Nazi subversive activities. This, however, did not stop Burch from going on to have a great career as a leader of the post-war population control movement.
FP: The Left is at the center of antihumanism. Tell us why and what your findings tell us that the Left really is.
Zubrin: Once upon a time there were many leftists who saw themselves as champions of the oppressed, and who therefore opposed Malthusianism on that basis. I quote a number of them in the book, as in their own way, they are particularly strong in underscoring the utter immorality of antihumanism. But since about 1970, when the mass-promotion of environmentalism made it the new super-fashionable cause wherein recruits could be gathered, such voices have fallen silent.
So now, instead of socialism being set forth as the means for enabling the progress that capitalism can’t, it now stands openly as a way of stopping the progress that capitalism can. There is a legitimate role for a left in society, and that is to represent the plebian interest. Such a left would be strongly supportive of economic growth and technological innovation. But that is not the left we have. Instead of representing the working class, they represent the bureaucratic class, which seeks to expand its power by dreaming up ever more requirements for restraining human activities. Antihumanism is the perfect creed for justifying this totalitarian crusade, as it provides the arguments the prosecution needs to put humanity in shackles.
However, even in the days when the left still supported hydroelectric dams and nuclear power plants, they were nearly all collectivist in outlook. This made them ready candidates for recruitment into the antihuman camp, which constantly poses the metaphor as human individuals as mere cells within some greater organic entity, such as the Volk, the human race, the biosphere, the world, or Gaia. Of course, in such systems, the body is what counts, whereas the individual is entirely expendable. We have seen where that leads.
FP: What does your book do that no other book has done before?
Zubrin: I have taken these numerous movements, which span 200 years of history and every political coloration imaginable, and shown that they are all one. Furthermore, I have refuted the pseudo-scientific pretentions of every one of them, and hopefully done so in a way that shows that they are all false for the fundamentally the same reason, which is that they deny the true creative nature of man.
FP: What do you hope your book will help achieve?
Zubrin: I hope to refute antihumanism, expose its crimes, and make apparent its mode of operation, so that it can be recognized and repulsed in whatever form it may choose to appear. I hope to make people understand that we are not in danger from lack of resources, we are in danger from people who seek to stop us from using our resources; we are not in danger from there being too many people, we are in danger from people who say that there are too many people; that we are not in danger from human liberty wrecking the Earth’s weather, we are in danger from people who wish to use weather as an excuse to wreck liberty.
I hope to make people understand that, contrary to the antihumanists, every new person born into the world is not a minus to the rest of us, that every nation or race is not the enemy of every other nation or race, and that we do not need have a future of enforced stagnation, poverty, tyranny, war, hate, despair, and genocide. I hope to make it clear that, provided we categorically reject antihumanism and embrace instead an ethic based on faith in the human capacity for creativity and invention, that we can have a future of peace, progress, abundance, love, hope, unlimited possibilities, and the freedom to pursue them.
FP: Dr. Robert Zubrin, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.
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