“Susan. After my grandmother.”
“Have you had her fixed yet?”
Don’t fret! That’s a conversation you won’t be hearing. Because why? Because, of course, if Alan “Not So” Weisman got his way and “[e]very woman, everywhere” had (to avoid “draconian edicts”) free contraception, there’d be no babies named Susan, no, nor named anything else. There’d be no babies period.
And that would be hunky dory to the author of The World Without Us, a book in the eco-pr0n genre which lists the delights that await precisely no one in a “post-human” world.
“Oh, baby. Tell me again of the rotting corpses of seven billion humans. And do it slow.”
Strict anti-human philosophy is a special kind of lunacy which I don’t think will catch on to a great degree. It’s one thing to have a philosophy, à la most variants of socialism, which provides its followers with that special kind of frisson which comes from contemplating murdering your enemies—and this anti-human gives.
But it’s quite another thing to say “Suicide is the solution” and recruit enough members for a parade. Yet Weisman tries—though not, or at least not yet, by leading by example.
Weisman is a “Boulder Lefty”, i.e. the kind of person who moved to Boudler, Colorado because he liked the view but who, after he got there, votes to keep newcomers out so as not to “upset the balance.” In the same way, he votes for keeping new people from the Earth since adding more would spoil the time he’s having.
What escapes Weisman, and all the other not so Weismans, is that there can’t be too many people. If there isn’t food enough to sustain a population, then that population cannot increase. Populations increase just because there is plentiful food and lots of health to go around.
Health is what accounts for the current rate of population increase. People aren’t being born at historically high rates, quite the opposite, but they are dying at slower rates. Yet even these old people will kick off sooner rather than later, and the population (if trends continue in the same direction) will begin angling southwards.
Let’s indulge Weisman and suppose that it’s the week after the pills are handed out. No, make it a year after. Should be time enough for bacteria, wild animals and the wind to do its work.
Well, nothing. A whole lot of nothing. And nothing for a long, long time.
Anti-human fanatics would call this a good thing. But why is it good? It can’t be good for anybody because there are no bodies. It can’t improve anything for anybody for the same reason.
It won’t be too good for some animals, either. Cows, for example. Most will starve, others will end up in the stomachs of dogs. But who cares how the animals sort out which gets to eat which? Nobody, because there will be no bodies to make a “who.”
There isn’t any version of anti-human that isn’t nonsensical or absurd. So how do we explain the Weismans among us?
Bloodlust. These people, or most of them, say they are anti-human but what they really mean is that they’re anti-you. They’ll happily escort you up the steps of the guillotine with a cheering lecture on what a noble sacrifice you’re making “for the planet.” They may even shed a tear for you as they yank the rope, especially if you splatter their Birkenstocks.
But they don’t see themselves making the same journey. They figure that once they clear out the undesirables what’s left of the planet will given over to their beneficent and wise rule. They’ll beat their guillotines into plowshares and, well, share the land, living in harmony with all creation.
Until wolf packs, now held in bay by irritable farmers, start picking them off. Or until the occasional bear looks into the cornfields—they’ll call it maize because that sounds more eco—at those delicious walking snacks. Or until some new bug wangles its way past their white blood cells.
Or until, with all that free time on their hands and with all the baskets filled with surplus maize, they start making babies. Thus beginning the cycle all over again.