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No Man's Land

The trouble with environmental visions of a greener future is that we don't get to stick around to enjoy it

Mark Steyn - June 18, 2007

"It was because of the sad state of an overpopulated planet, in fact, that Glen Davis and his wife, Mary Alice, reportedly decided against having children--despite the wherewithal to adopt entire Third World orphanages."

I don't know whether the planet is in a "sad state" but that paragraph certainly suggests the late Mr. Davis's life was. The reason the deceased did not "adopt entire Third World orphanages" is because he preferred to devote his "wherewithal" to the World Wildlife Fund and the Sierra Club, even though wherewithal-wise they've got more than they'll ever need. Glen Davis, like many others, subscribed to a thesis encapsulated in a crack made by one of my rougher rural neighbours from the porch of his broken-down cabin: "This'd be a pretty nice piece of land if I didn't live here," as he remarked to me drolly one morning.

The ecochondriacs mean it: This'd be a pretty nice planet if we didn't live here. David Suzuki's Canada is a prime example of the phenomenon: as our population becomes ever more urbanized around half-a-dozen metropolitan areas, we've lost any meaningful connection with the land but instead developed a bizarre fetishistic reverence for it. The land is no longer a source of sustenance for man. Au contraire, man must now sustain the land, constraining himself, abasing himself, apologizing to the trees for his mere presence while attempting to reassure "the environment" that, although undoubtedly a blight on it, he's not as bad as Bush. It's tough trying to keep up. I noticed the other day that all those yuppiefied municipalities that banned unsightly clotheslines a few years back are being forced to rethink their position because now the real environmental ugliness is that electric dryer in your laundry room. Another half-decade and we'll be back to beating our clothes dry on the rocks down by the river while singing tribal chants all morning long.

In the rest of the world, alas, life--i.e., human life--goes on. Glen Davis may have forsworn children, as have many other anti-humanists in North America and Europe. But in Sudan and Yemen and Pakistan they're still getting to it with gusto. One Canadian multigazillionaire's moppet here and there doesn't make a lot of difference when across the world others are more than willing to pick up the slack.

So many of the shibboleths of the age are a form of displacement. At the 2004 "March for Women's Lives" in Washington, the actresses Ashley Judd and Cybill Shepherd brandished a placard bearing the words "TOO BAD JOHN ASHCROFT'S MOTHER DIDN'T BELIEVE IN ABORTION!" Mr. Ashcroft was the U.S. attorney general at the time and a popular hate figure among kindly types like the Misses Judd and Shepherd.

But I wonder whether the progressive lefties ever think through the logic of their own bumper stickers. Perhaps they're right. Perhaps John Ashcroft's mom didn't believe in abortion, which is why he's around to terrorize Ashley and Cybill. But what of all the millions of mothers who do believe in abortion and an overpopulated planet and the other pieties? Will they all vote, as Glen Davis did, for self-extinction? And, if they do, who'll be around to run the world? The future belongs to those who show up for it.

More articles by Mark Steyn