All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
~Arthur Schopenhauer
However, ridicule and opposition don’t mean an idea is true, and a lot of untruths are accepted as self-evident. Voluntary human extinction endures enough stage one, and if Schopenhauer’s right, opposition is a sign of progress.

The truth that the continued existence of Homo sapiens can’t be justified is already accepted as self-evident by millions of people, but acceptance isn’t what makes it true.

Another oft-quoted aphorism about movements might appy:

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
Attributed to Gandhi

Everyone’s a winner at the end of the human race, so fighting and winning don’t really apply to VHEMT. There’s no They to fight: we’re all in this together.

Although most opposition to voluntary human extinction grows out of misunderstandings which can be cleared up with explanations, some folks actually understand the issues, but haven’t yet grasped the positive aspects, and persist in opposing it.

Opposition to:
Human Extinction
Reproductive Freedom
Improved Human Population Density
Earth-centered Thinking

Opposition to human extinction.

We’re not as bad as some alterations of Earth’s biosphere were.

When everyone in this group [VHEMT] decides to kill themselves, then they’ll have some credibility. Maybe they’re sticking around because they feel like they have to get the message out that the human race is e-e-e-e-e-evil and needs to commit racial suicide in order to save the planet. The dumbest thing about these loons is that by their standards, the first micro-organisms that started pumping O2 into atmosphere are FAR worse than mankind. They changed the environment of an entire planet that wasn’t hurting anyone, just to conform to their needs. Sounds kinda dumb, doesn’t it??? These loons seem to think that the human race is somehow separate from every other species on Earth. It’s a form of self-hatred that a lot of econuts like to wallow in. Their own guilt drives them to self-destruction.

Nature needs us.

First of all, there’s the asinine assumption that humans are Bad For The Environment™ and anything and everything we do is bad. They seem to think we’re somehow unnatural and that we’re bad for the planet. As if our cities aren’t simply the same thing as ant hills, bee hives, and beaver dams writ large, with a greater intelligence and mastery of our surroundings.

Our disappearance from the world would also be a massive disaster for nature, one it may not recover from for several thousand years. There’s entire regions that would be deserts without our influence, but are currently thriving habitats for wildlife and will continue to be so long as we’re around to maintain them. Other places would be swamps, or drowned under lakes and seas without us continually draining, damming, and maintaining them. Whole forests and plains would disappear without us around. And without humans, all of the byproducts of civilization would eventually make their way into nature as time, earthquakes, fires, floods, and more slowly tore our cities apart. Repair garages would release tons of oil, coolant, and other toxic chemicals into the environment and it would contaminate the ground water. Nuclear power plants would shut down with no one to control them, and eventually they would break open and release radioactive waste into the environment. Fires would burn plastics, rubber, chemical plants, radioactive materials, and more, releasing it all into the atmosphere as massive firestorms raged through cities, even entire states, with no humans to control and stop them. Chernobyl would be like child’s play compared to these disasters, and they would be happening all over the globe and occurring mere days to centuries after we all died out.

Plus, without humans providing vaccines and killing or quarantining infected animals, diseases like hoof-and-mouth, mad cow, rabies, etc. would rage uncontrolled through animal populations. Entire species would likely go extinct, and the animal population, while enjoying a temporary boom from the lack of human predation and nature reclaiming neighborhoods, would consistently remain lower than if we had stayed around. The temporary boom in population would be the death knell for many, since they would reproduce faster than their food supply could keep up. We see it in whitetail deer every time hunting is banned someplace in America. Then, rather than a smaller, healthy population, we have a massive population suffering from stress and malnutrition, making them more susceptible to disease, allowing the plagues to run rampant through their populations, potentially wiping them out entirely. And with the loss of one or more species that another species depends on for survival, the entire ecosystem could collapse in areas.

So humans dying out, especially rapidly, would be a bad thing for the environment. So long as we’re around, we keep areas inhabitable that otherwise wouldn’t be, and we keep disasters in check that would otherwise be mind-numbingly devastating.

Humans are better than the alternative.

If someone expressed the view that a particular ethnic or national group should die off, that person would be condemned, and rightly so. But for some reason, when it comes to the entire human race dying out (including every single ethnic and national group), it becomes much more acceptable. Seeing how humans on Earth are increasingly being asked to defend our own continued existence, it is no surprise that humans-in-space are continually criticized. But in the spirit of do-more-than-one-thing-at-the-same-time, we should be able to justify human beings both on Earth and in space. Human existence is not perfect, but it’s better than the alternative.

By Jove, I think he’s got it!

When environmentalists look beyond “going green” for the sake of continuing the human race, and do so for the sake of the planet itself, total human extinction can be the only end.

“Bayesian Computations of Expected Utility”

GiveWell is an organization that rates charities. They’ve met people who argue that charities working on reducing the risk of sudden human extinction must be the best ones to support, since the value of saving the human race is so high that any imaginable probability of success would lead to a higher expected value for these charities than for others.

For example, say I have a dollar to spend on charity. One charity says that with this dollar they can save the life of one child in Somalia. Another says that with this dollar they can increase by .000001% our chance of saving 1 billion people from the effects of a massive asteroid colliding with the Earth.

Naively, in terms of the expected number of lives saved, the latter course of action seems 10 times better, since .000001% of 1 billion = 10 But is it really better?

“I think that human extinction is unacceptable.”

D. R. Prescott writes: Many, maybe too many, people are apathetic about how vulnerable humans are living on this little ball called Earth. The Earth will become uninhabitable for humans someday from terrestrial or astronomical threats. This is not an “if” thing; it is inevitable in spite of preservation efforts unless there is an intervention beforehand. It is just a matter of time because the Earth will not be habitable forever. Who cares? I do. Do you? If you do, what do we do about it?

My book, Is There Time?, tackles why we should try to avoid extinction and evaluates three approaches to avoiding human extinction (intervention, preservation and expansion.)

People have visions of the future. Some are modest; others are grand; a few are bleak; more than a few conflict. we have visions and even missions, but what about humanity, the species as a whole? How do our separate visions for the future integrate into a comprehensive, coherent vision for humanity? If one were to create a single, undeniable vision for humanity, what might it look like?

It is time to stop fighting each other and focus on a war on extinction. We need to start now before we lose the scientific and technological capability to get the job done.

Blackouts: New Energy Conservation Program?

Despite media and left-wing opposition, we have to expand energy supply in U.S., writes Dan Gainor, The Boone Pickens Free Market Fellow of the Business and Media Institute.

The well is about to run dry.

That’s what the International Energy Agency said in early July [2007]. According to the Financial Times, “oil looks extremely tight in five years time.”

Why wait five years? Oil looks pretty tight right now. As of this writing, oil is floating around $74-$75 and gas is more than $3 a gallon yet again. We aren’t running out by any means, but it’s not exactly pleasant for consumers.
For a long time, the only solution the left has proposed has been to conserve. The PIRGs and their extremist brethren have advocated “energy efficiency and renewable energy,” despite a growing demand for power. [Isn’t that three solutions? Conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy.]

But that is no longer the benchmark for the extreme leftist position. Now we have a whole new group of wacko lefties to contend with who feel that Mother Earth is better off without us.

It doesn’t matter which loony idea you pick, each one is worse than the one before. First it’s Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson, who thinks the earth has 5.5 billion too many people. Then there’s The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, with a slogan saying: “May we live long and die out.”

For all that might seem ridiculous, Time magazine [Actually, Newsweek] just ran a piece by Jerry Adler envisioning what the planet would be like following “removal of the most disruptive species in history” – mankind.

Perhaps that is the left’s final solution to pollution–eliminate the source.
[“Final solution,” subtle. If a river’s being polluted, it makes sense to eliminate the source.]

The whole situation has me feeling powerless. Apparently that’s what the left wishes for all of us.

New York Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling says of VHEMT: We believe, as does every mainstream religion, that God made the world and God made everything in the word. It’s part of God’s plan of creation, and it is absurd to suggest that the world would be better off without the human race.

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Opposition to reproductive freedom.

Suppression of the human right to decide if, when, and how often to breed persists into the 21st Century. Examples of restrictions, primarily generated by the hierarchy of churches and governments, could fill volumes despite international agreements defining reproductive freedom as a human right.

Catholic Church Voices Concern About Women’s Health Care

National Public Radio host Michel Martin interviewed Anthony Picarello, general counsel for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, about provisions of a US health care reform bill which includes contraceptive services.

Picarello stated: ...there are essentially three arguments we have in our comments. The first is that preventative services are designed to prevent diseases. Pregnancy is not a disease. Contraception and sterilization prevent those things. Therefore they’re not preventive services. That’s the first piece of it.

In addition, preventive services are designed not to create risks of their own. In other words, they’re just basically tests and screenings and things like that. But contraception does have some pretty well-known health risks, including risks of a sort that other preventive services are designed actively to prevent, things like stroke, heart attack, things along those lines.

And the third reason that we lay out is that essentially because the preventive services mandate does not have a Conscious Clause exception, what you’re doing by construing it broadly to encompass contraception/sterilization, is you’re creating a needless religious freedom problem.

An editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal Online conflates facilitating lower birth rates with encouraging higher death rates:

The U.N. Population Fund reveals that true concern for humans on Earth means not producing any.

Forget about saving the environment for the sake of your children. It turns out that if you really care about the planet, you probably shouldn’t have any children to begin with.

That’s the thrust of the 2009 report from the U.N. Population Fund—the people who in 1983 handed China’s then-minister of family planning an award for the “effectiveness” of population control by forced abortion and sterilization. The Fund has long believed that more people are a burden, not a boon, to human welfare. The idea is not new, and over the centuries has taken form in the view that too many people consume too many natural resources, or that more people necessarily means more poverty, or (much more sinisterly) that people prone to having many children are somehow the wrong kind of people.

Now the Fund has gone a step further, arguing that the scourge of reproduction is not just a question of raw numbers, but that humanity itself is destructive. “No human is genuinely ’carbon neutral,’ especially when all greenhouse gases are figured into the equation,” the report tells us in a section entitled “At the brink.” “Therefore, everyone is part of the problem, so everyone must be part of the solution.”

That sounds like a somewhat totalitarian formulation to us, even if the Fund goes out of its way to shed its image as a eugenics-advocacy group by swapping the term “population control” for “population dynamics.” Indeed, the Fund—unusually for a U.N. organ—favors efficiency when it comes to culling our ranks, citing one finding that “dollar-for-dollar, investments in voluntary family planning and girls’ education would also in the long run reduce greenhouse-gas emissions at least as much as the same investments in nuclear or wind energy.” Even better, the report says other studies indicate that avoiding one billion new babies by 2050 would save as much energy as building two million one-megawatt wind turbines. The environmental argument extends equally to human welfare—the report notes that “the use of voluntary family planning directly decreases child mortality.”

It’s hard to argue with that logic: Eliminating life surely is the most expedient way to avoid the problems it brings. Of course this rationale ignores the possibility that one of those “prevented” lives might have been the one to cure cancer or HIV. Then again, why cure disease if human life itself is a cancer on the planet?

There are certain rhetorical advantages to the Fund’s position: The Omar Bashirs of the world, for instance, could deflect charges of genocide by claiming that they were merely looking out for the environment. One could equally make the argument that car makers should dispense with seat-belts—the better to rid the world of drivers of carbon-emitting automobiles—or that children should be encouraged to smoke from a young age, the better to shorten the years in which they too might emit untold quantities of greenhouse gas. Smoke, Die and Save the Planet—now there’s a credo for the folks in the anti-population lobby.

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Opposition to improved birth rates and human population density.

Some actually see lower birth rates and less dense human habitat as a negative goal, and even argue that overpopulation is a myth.

Environmental Consequences of Low Fertility Rates

Phillip Longman, author of The Empty Cradle reasons that childfree and low-fertility couples have more resources to impact environment with, so their choice has the same effect as those who breed.

The overpopulation lie

Anthony LoBaido writes: There are now 6 billion people on Earth. [2000] The planet’s population will most likely continue to climb until 2050, when it will peak at 9 billion. Other predictions have the world’s population peaking at 7.5 billion in 2040. In either case, it will then go into a sharp decline. The world may soon be facing an under-population crisis—a prospect that has all but escaped media scrutiny.

Sustainable? We’re a lot smarter than that.

Stephen Lunn writes: We seem to have lost any notion of the future as a positive place to be. We’ve forgotten that humans are endlessly creative individuals. We instead see ourselves as problems, not solutions, and once that becomes the prevailing view the next logical step is the fewer humans the better.

This negative view that we are nothing more than carbon excreters is an attitude I find reprehensible. I see humans as problem solvers, so the more people there are the more problems that will be solved and the better society will be.

Make Mine Malthus!

Ronald Bailey writes of “Overpopulation panic’s eternal return.” The world has never been overpopulated with humans in any meaningful sense. It seems, though, that it is overpopulated with theoretical fears of overpopulation.

The appeal of the overpopulation myth is obvious—who doesn’t love a simple, easily graspable idea that seems to explain a great deal? One such idea is the central biological insight that all animals aim to turn food into offspring. When a species’ food increases, then its population grows as well; and when the food supply declines, so too do its numbers.

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Opposition to Earth-centered thinking.

Getting stuck in human-centered thinking retards our progress toward empathy for all life.

Nothing has value without us, and yet our value judgements about the environment are “arbitrary and baseless.”

Here is your fatal premise. You assume that there are things of value out of any human context. You assume that forests, lakes, ice caps, oceans, mud, insects, and animals have some sort of inherent or intrinsic value. But they do not. Things are of value as far as we are concerned to the extent that they contribute to our human survival and flourishing. A mountain is of value because we can enjoy its beauty, climb it for recreation or inspiration, or mine its minerals to make our machines.

Only humans can make value choices; indeed, all human action is choice, and the choices that are moral are those that benefit us. When you environmentalists imbue the non-human with value unrelated to humans, you set up a deadly equation. Since all human actions somehow affect the environment, by what standard will you judge the morality of an action?

In human society we say that individuals should deal with one other based on mutual consent. But nature can’t “consent.” Only humans can. You might pretend to speak for the environment, but your declarations will simply be arbitrary and baseless. If you imbue the non-human world with intrinsic value, the ultimate conclusion will be that the Earth, your goddess Gaea, would be better off without us.

“saving nature from people instead of for people”

While environmentalism may sound appealing in its early purifying “let’s-clean-things-up” stage, it inevitably becomes self-annihilating. We have jumped on its bandwagon with a vengeance. Nearly every American today claims to be an environmentalist. Virtually no American understands the anti-human implications of becoming an environmentalist—of saving nature from people instead of for people—until it’s their life and livelihood on the chopping block. . . Only now are average Americans beginning to realize that liberating nature has consequences—the gradual elimination of jobs, economic activity, human use of the earth, and, ultimately. the disappearance of all food, clothing, shelter, and freedom. And, conceivably. the planned extinction of the last human.

In defense of “Anthrocentrism”.

It is a banal habit of scientists and science enthusiasts to muse on how brief and boring is human history when compared to the history of the earth and the universe entire; and how tiny and “meaningless” our little lives on our little orb is when compared to the vastness of the cosmos. Such self-indulgent idleness even gets book length treatment, as in Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us, in which the author speculates about how the earth would quickly “recover” from humanity like a bad flu, should we go extinct. This kind of self-conscious anti-anthrocentrism is a key undercurrent for the environmental movement, which in its most benign public faces only seeks to preserve nature for the sake of preserving a home for humankind, but which, under the surface contains a virulently anti-human Gaiaism which goes so far as to think of humanity as a disease afflicting the earth.

All this is pure nonsense. Anthropoids who eschew anthrocentrism are only (A.) putting on airs to gain kudos as novel and interestingly iconoclastic thinkers (B.) furthering their own careers by fostering a false morality which will promote their own organizations and professions or (C.) both. We as humans have no inherent tendency to espouse non-sentient nature for its own sake. Any such useless moral code would have long ago been cast aside by Darwinian forces. It makes no sense to attach greater “meaning” to things like stars and galaxies, simply due to their greater size, age, or complexity in comparison to us mortals. “Meaning” itself is a purely subjective and rational concept; and as such, it can only be honestly given to the subjective concerns of rational beings. It makes no sense to say that a universe or a planet without rational beings has “meaning”. Meaning to whom? To what?

“On Earth Day Remember: If Environmentalism Succeeds, It Will Make Human Life Impossible”
From Dr. Michael S. Berliner, board member of the Ayn Rand Institute.

Earth Day approaches, and with it a grave danger faces mankind. The danger is not from acid rain, global warming, smog, or the logging of rain forests, as environmentalists would have us believe. The danger to mankind is from environmentalism.

The fundamental goal of environmentalism is not clean air and clean water; rather, it is the demolition of technological/industrial civilization.

Environmentalism’s goal is not the advancement of human health, human happiness, and human life; rather, it is a subhuman world where “nature” is worshipped like the totem of some primitive religion.

In a nation founded on the pioneer spirit, environmentalists have made “development” an evil word. They inhibit or prohibit the development of Alaskan oil, offshore drilling, nuclear power—and every other practical form of energy. Housing, commerce, and jobs are sacrificed to spotted owls and snail darters. Medical research is sacrificed to the “rights” of mice. Logging is sacrificed to the “rights” of trees. No instance of the progress that brought man out of the cave is safe from the onslaught of those “protecting” the environment from man, whom they consider a rapist and despoiler by his very essence.

Nature, they insist, has “intrinsic value,” to be revered for its own sake, irrespective of any benefit to man. As a consequence, man is to be prohibited from using nature for his own ends. Since nature supposedly has value and goodness in itself, any human action that changes the environment is necessarily immoral. Of course, environmentalists invoke the doctrine of intrinsic value not against wolves that eat sheep or beavers that gnaw trees; they invoke it only against man, only when man wants something.

The ideal world of environmentalism is not twenty-first-century Western civilization; it is the Garden of Eden, a world with no human intervention in nature, a world without innovation or change, a world without effort, a world where survival is somehow guaranteed, a world where man has mystically merged with the “environment.” Had the environmentalist mentality prevailed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, we would have had no Industrial Revolution, a situation that consistent environmentalists would cheer—at least those few who might have managed to survive without the life-saving benefits of modern science and technology.

The expressed goal of environmentalism is to prevent man from changing his environment, from intruding on nature. That is why environmentalism is fundamentally anti-man. Intrusion is necessary for human survival. Only by intrusion can man avoid pestilence and famine. Only by intrusion can man control his life and project long-range goals. Intrusion improves the environment, if by “environment” one means the surroundings of man—the external material conditions of human life. Intrusion is a requirement of human nature. But in the environmentalists’ paean to “Nature,” human nature is omitted. For environmentalism, the “natural” world is a world without man. Man has no legitimate needs, but trees, ponds, and bacteria somehow do.

They don’t mean it? Heed the words of the consistent environmentalists. “The ending of the human epoch on Earth,” writes philosopher Paul Taylor in Respect for Nature: A Theory of Environmental Ethics, “would most likely be greeted with a hearty ‘Good riddance!’” In a glowing review of Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature, biologist David M. Graber writes (Los Angeles Times, October 29, 1989): “Human happiness [is] not as important as a wild and healthy planet . . . . Until such time as Homo sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.” Such is the naked essence of environmentalism: it mourns the death of one whale or tree but actually welcomes the death of billions of people. A more malevolent, man-hating philosophy is unimaginable.

The guiding principle of environmentalism is self-sacrifice, the sacrifice of longer lives, healthier lives, more prosperous lives, more enjoyable lives, i.e., the sacrifice of human lives. But an individual is not born in servitude. He has a moral right to live his own life for his own sake. He has no duty to sacrifice it to the needs of others and certainly not to the “needs” of the nonhuman.

To save mankind from environmentalism, what’s needed is not the appeasing, compromising approach of those who urge a “balance” between the needs of man and the “needs” of the environment. To save mankind requires the wholesale rejection of environmentalism as hatred of science, technology, progress, and human life. To save mankind requires the return to a philosophy of reason and individualism, a philosophy that makes life on earth possible.

Visitors to the VHEMT site have also expressed their disagreements, misunderstandings, and agreements.