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.

What some consider to be idealism could more accurately be called self-exaltation. What could be more exalting than to take on the God-like role of adjudicating between animals and people? You cannot be a judge handing down edicts for others unless you are placing yourself above those others. We know how judges are appointed or elected. But who elected the green bigots to play G-d?

Election is the last thing they have in mind. Instead, they infiltrate coastal commissions, zoning boards and other federal, state and local bureaucracies, from which they can impose their edicts on others, without being accountable for the consequences. A large part of the blame for California's electricity crisis is due to green bigots who have conducted a scorched earth policy against anyone trying to build power-generating plants there.

A new cult of pagan nature worship has sprung up, in which the slightest inconvenience to any toad or bug is enough to call a halt to even the most urgent human needs. A new mythology has been created, in which wildlife can only survive in their original habitats. Spotted owls supposedly can live only in "old growth" forests, though there must have been a time when the old growth trees were new growth trees. Surely they have not been there since the dawn of time or even throughout the whole history of spotted owls.

When you see birds nesting in metropolitan skyscrapers, you have to acknowledge that wild creatures do have some adaptability -- unless you think these are "old growth" skyscrapers. Species could not have survived the evolutionary changes of the earth if they didn't have some adaptability. But now, everything is to be frozen where it is by the green bigots -- and at unlimited costs to others.

Nature worship is fine for those who want it. I have nothing against faith-based organizations. But a theocracy imposing its will on others is something else, even when it is a theocracy of nature-worshippers.


Thomas Sowell

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

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