Human beings urgently need to wipe themselves out to avoid ecological catastrophe, the leader of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement has claimed.
In an interview with the Big Issue magazine, Les U Knight (pseudonym assumed) said that the extinction of humanity would be a good thing for the planet and that humans need to reduce their numbers before they run out of resources.
Mr Knight, who in his day job is a substitute teacher in Portland, Oregon, said that his main motivation for wanting to see the extinction of his own species was “preservation of Earth’s biosphere”.
“Diversity is the strength of the biosphere and the fewer species there are, the weaker it becomes. We’re pulling strands from the web of life and at the same time putting more pressure on it due to our increased consumption.”
He added that increased human population was making it harder to feed the poor around the world.
“People are not doing too well. Two billion people don’t have potable water, almost a billion are experiencing food insecurity – we used to call it hunger – it’s not a pretty world for half the people on the planet and it won’t be easy to improve their lot as long as the progress is gobbled up by our increased numbers.”
One solution, Knight said, could be for the West to introduce a “one child policy” banning couples from having two or more children, as China does, although even this may not be enough.
“One is twice as good as two as far as procreation goes but our population momentum would take a while to start decreasing. In terms of energy consumption, when a North American couple stops at two, it’s about the same as an average Indian couple stopping at 30 or a Bangladeshi couple stopping at 97. At least China has done a lot to control their increase. There would be 400 million more of them today if they hadn’t instituted their policy.”
Knight followed his own logic at the age of 25 when he underwent a vasectomy. He claims he “never regretted it for a moment” and “I only wish I’d done it earlier.”
“It’s dangerous having those wigglers,” he added.
If humanity does not voluntarily wipe itself out, Knight warned, it will face “involuntary extinction”, either through ecological catastrophe or nuclear Armageddon:
“The end of humanity would be good for humanity. That seems contradictory but as we phase ourselves out, the lives of those left behind would steadily improve. And those of us who don’t exist won’t know the difference.”
Not everyone is convinced, however. Dr Kristian Niemietz of the Institute of Economic Affairs told Breitbart London: “Apparently, Les U Knight believes that his statement is incredibly profound and thought-provoking, but it is really just a slightly more extreme version of the lame old eco-miserabilism which has been the conventional wisdom among Western ‘intellectuals’ for more than a generation. Fretting about overpopulation and overconsumption will guarantee you approving nods at every dinner party, but fashionable though those run-of-the-mill greenish views may be, they are theoretically and empirically wrong.
“Over the past three decades, we have seen a spectacular decline in global poverty. If you use the World Bank’s definition of extreme poverty – having less than the equivalent of $1.25 per person per day – then as recently as in the early 1980s, over half of the world’s population were extremely poor. Today, that share has dropped to just below one fifth.
“Poverty is not ‘caused’ by overpopulation. Poverty is the natural state of mankind. Up until about two hundred years ago, virtually everybody in the world would have been poor by the World Bank’s standard. It was only then that we began to grow out of poverty; initially only in what we now call the industrialised West, and over time, more and more countries joined in.
“Malthusians like Knight have an unrealistic view of economic activity. They see human beings as akin to locusts, but human beings are not just passive consumers of whatever they happen to stumble across. We are active problem-solvers, we are innovators, and we are producers.
“For example, the reason why the world can sustain a much larger population than ever before today is that agricultural productivity has improved so massively. It could improve much further still if we dropped our childish paranoia about innovative farming techniques like GMO, and if we moved towards untrammelled worldwide free trade in agriculture.
“Population growth is irrelevant. What matters is institutions and economic incentives. Countries move out of poverty to the extent to which they adopt the basics of a functioning modern economy: the rule of law, impartial courts, and secure property rights. They also need to allow the free formation of market prices, so that prices can act as signals of scarcity, providing incentives to overcome that very scarcity. With rising prosperity, we also grow more resilient to natural disasters, and we can afford to adopt production techniques that go easier on the environment.
“If we continue on anything like the current trend, we may well come close to the eradication of poverty within our lifetime, although doomsayers like Knight will no doubt find some other ‘impending catastrophe’ to moan about.”