In an earlier post, I discussed the risks associated with making extended preparations for extinction events and other armageddon scenarios (by making a human-induced extinction event significantly more probable).
I just ran across an article today that presents many of the same concerns about ultra-wealthy misanthropes using their wealth to promote anti-population causes (the latest rage being Global Warming). I found this quote particularly salient:
"It may not come as a shock to find that those involved heavily in the unproductive, if still important, sphere of finance should believe that there is little point to the human race. When you are a member of a strand of society that is widely regarded as parasitic on the rest, the notion that the whole of humanity is parasitical on the planet is not a huge intellectual leap. But once you have ruled out suicide as an option, you need some reason to keep going. ‘Saving the planet’ has become a mission statement both for the pointlessly rich and the political class. As former UK chancellor Nigel Lawson noted in a talk at the LSE bookshop in July, people ‘want to believe there is more to life than everyday getting and spending’ – and that includes the fabulously wealthy and the politically ambitious."
Remember - World War I was preceded by the Gay '90's (a time of high optimism in Europe about the potential for progress and liberalism) and the Great Depression by the Roaring 20's. The stagflation of the 70's was preceded by the first man to set foot on the moon in 1969. Do not assume that humanity is too modern and too englightened to plunge itself back into the depths of horror which have plagued us in the past. Wars and atrocities never happen by accident.
What if these men believe so strongly that we are a plague of the planet that they're willing to take direct action to resolve the problem? They certainly have the means - the Pentagon keeps warning that biological warfare is accessible even to relatively low-funded terrorist groups. And some of them (ultra-wealthy misanthropes) have even clearly intimated they have the will (Prince Philip of England has said, "In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, in order to contribute something to solve overpopulation." I cannot imagine anything more terrifying than a small group of ultra-wealthy misanthropes hell-bent on "saving the planet" from the rest of us. And I don't put it past any of them - not because they're rich, but because I don't buy this nonsense about social progress. Humans have every bit as much capacity for atrocity as they ever did. We just have even more tools with which the elite can slaughter us than even Hitler, Stalin and Mao did.
The desire to eradicate potential human competitors in the environment is a primitive urge. In what evolutionary psychologists refer to as the "ancestral environment" there would have been very little exchange or trade and, hence, little opportunity for expansion of the carrying capacity of the environment. Those who eliminated (killed off) neighboring tribes retained more resources for themselves and increased their own ability to reproduce. Hence, we have inherited their pre-market genes which see the world through a zero-sum lens. In a sense, these ultra-wealthy misanthropes are simply acting in accordance with their primitive urge to eradicate potential resource competition to increase their reproductive success, just as their forefathers did. But today, this urge serves no useful function and is incredibly dangerous to the long-term survival of humanity. I'm not worried about the billions of people driving to work every day and causing Global Warming (if indeed they are). I'm worried about the ultra-wealthy elites who consider the idea of infecting humanity with a super-virus a good thing. That terrifies me.