James Lee, who walked into the headquarters of the Discovery Channel Wednesday, taking hostages, was an environmental radical who believed people were destroying the planet.
According to a manifesto of sorts he posted on the Internet, Lee believed that “Civilization must be exposed for the filth that it is” and demanded that the Discovery Channel and its affiliated networks stop airing programs “encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants and the false heroics behind those actions.”
Oddly enough, it’s a view shared--perhaps not directly but at least in the same general neighborhood--by any number of prominent thinkers and talkers who take a dim view of the impact mankind has on the planet.
Lee, who not only holed up with hostages but had pipe bombs strapped to his body, was, in the general sense, antimankind--as he said on his Web site in a somewhat distorted echo of the prophecies and prescriptions of Zero Population Growth founder Paul Ehrlich. “Saving the Planet means saving what's left of the non-human Wildlife by decreasing the Human population. That means stopping the human race from breeding any more disgusting human babies!”
Ehrlich, it is worth noting, predicted in the late 1960s in his book The Population Bomb that the resource needs of mankind could not keep pace with the growth of the world’s population and, as a result, global famine would be commonplace by the mid-1970s or early 1980s.
According to news reports Lee was also influenced, alarmed, and possibly even spurred to action by former Vice President Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth, which holds out equally dim prospects for the future of mankind as long as necessities like the internal combustion engine are allowed to continue in operation. Lee himself touched on that issue as well on his Web site, writing that is was important to:
Find solutions for Global Warming, Automotive pollution, International Trade, factory pollution, and the whole blasted human economy. Find ways so that people don't build more housing pollution which destroys the environment to make way for more human filth! Find solutions so that people stop breeding as well as stopping using Oil in order to REVERSE Global warming and the destruction of the planet!
If James Lee had been a member of a Tea Party group or an activist opposed to abortion rights the national media would be in the throes of ecstasy, describing his actions as the product of some sort of loosely organized effort that should have all Americans living in fear for their lives and their liberty. The Department of Homeland Security would probably announce the creation of some sort of task force to investigate his activities and root out his followers and allies. And President Barack Obama would no doubt address the issue in his weekly radio address. But Lee was neither of those things. He was a radical on the edge of an already radicalized movement but one that continues to gain uncritical acceptance among the general public. Perhaps it’s time for a reassessment.