Thomas Sowell

THE red-legged frog is only the latest of many supposedly endangered species whose habitats may be kept off-limits to human beings, even if that means stopping the building of much-needed housing. We have grown so used to having the interests of millions of human beings sacrificed for some allegedly endangered species that we no longer stop and think about how outrageous that is.

Too often we even buy the notion that the shrill and self-righteous people who push this stuff are some kind of noble crusaders, thinking only of the higher things, instead of as the selfish and arrogant bigots and bullies that they are.

The essence of bigotry is claiming for yourself rights that you would deny to others. The green bigots who call themselves environmentalists do this all the time. They also lie a lot, as self-anointed idealists often do.

Some species that have been said to be endangered have turned out to be very abundant and other creatures that may in fact be endangered are not species. Frogs are a species, but every conceivable variant of a frog is not a species.

How many people have ever seen a red-legged frog? Or even want to see a red-legged frog? The green bigots may be horrified that there are people who don't have the slightest interest in red-legged frogs. But those people are just as much American citizens as any life-long member of the Sierra Club and are entitled to equal rights under the Constitution. There is neither a legal nor a moral reason to over-ride what they want because the green bigots want something else.

Like others who seek special privileges, the green bigots claim to be speaking for others -- "future generations," for example. But this is just shifting the argument to a different venue, without changing it in the slightest. Those people who don't give a darn about red-legged frogs are going to have future descendants, just as much as the environmental extremists will. What the green bigots really want is for future generations of green bigots to be able to over-ride future generations of other people who do not share their views.

Fuzzy words and apocalyptic visions are stock in trade for the green bigots, who are forever referring to "fragile" environments -- but with no definition of "fragile," much less any evidence to fit a definition. I should be so "fragile" that I could survive thousands of years of earthquakes, forest fires and mountainous glaciers rolling over me.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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