March 10, 2009
There’s a manual which provides mental health professionals with “diagnostic criteria for mental disorders.” I suggest that the manual should contain a new entry under the heading “AMEN.”
AMEN would stand for “Apocalypse-induced Misanthropic Environmental Nervousness.” That’s because the doomsday rhetoric promulgated by many environmental groups creates what you might call “pre-traumatic stress disorder” among the vulnerable.
Frightened out of their wits by the forecasts of imminent environmental disaster, their thoughts and speech become disordered and incoherent.
The signs of “Amen” are all around us, including the pages of Psychology Today. According to Steven Kotler, “We are running out of resources and we are running out of time.” Between global warming, resource depletion, and other environmental depredations, we are on the verge of an “environmental catastrophe” that will soon leave us “starving, thirsty, and all the rest.”
His solution? Stop having children. Not have fewer children, but a five-year global moratorium on childbirth. The goal is a billion fewer people, which constitutes, he says, a “good place to start.” Because he believes the planet can only sustain 2 billion of us, he says, “We need to lose 4.4 billion people and we need to lose them fast.”
Despite urging that the five-year global moratorium be voluntary, readers still took umbrage at Kotler’s proposal. In response, he denied being “misanthropic”—that is, anti-human—insisting that his proposals were a “vote for humanity.” After all, what are five years without babies compared to “the most dire threat to our species in the history of the world”?
The “most dire threat”? Worse than the Black Death that killed a third of Europe and comparable numbers in North Africa and Asia? Worse than the European diseases that killed an estimated 90 percent of the native population of America? Even worse than the pre-historic catastrophe, most likely a super-volcanic eruption, that geneticists and paleontologists estimate killed 97 to 99 percent of the human race?
Are a few degrees of warming, which may or may not happen, “the most dire threat” humanity has ever faced? Obviously not. The British Meteorological Office recently issued a “blistering attack” on what it called the “apocalyptic predictions” made by global-warming activists and journalists that “mislead the public.”
As we’ve seen, it does more than “mislead”—it engenders and reinforces a misanthropic worldview that pits humans against the rest of creation.
While Kotler’s proposals are not likely to be acted on, the misanthropy that inspires them is becoming a fixture in Western thinking. For what President Eisenhower once called a “scientific-technological elite,” the “solution” to many of the world’s problems is simply “a lot fewer people.”
Sadly, this passes as sanity among the elite. If one person insists that he should die, they put him on a suicide watch. But if he insists that billions must die, they call him a “friend of the Earth.”
I say instead, he suffers from Apocalypse-induced Misanthropic Environmental Nervousness. That’s AMEN.
Chuck Colson’s daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.