November 23, 2022

"We came to be and then ran amok. And because we’re smart enough, we should know enough to end it. People mention music and art and literature and the great things that we have done..."

"... it’s funny they don’t ever mention the bad things we’ve done. I don’t think the whales will miss our songs."

Said Les Knight, quoted in "Earth Now Has 8 Billion Humans. This Man Wishes There Were None. For the sake of the planet, Les Knight, the founder of the Voluntary Human Extinction movement, has spent decades pushing one message: 'May we live long and die out'" (NYT).

A high school substitute teacher for most of his working life, Mr. Knight is fondly regarded by students. He spends hours each Sunday morning picking up litter from the nearby main road. During an interview, he paused to appreciate two juicy garden spiders taking in the sun on gossamer webs spun between the hedges and lawn chairs.

The sight was a cause for celebration, Mr. Knight said, after so many critters were killed during last year’s heat dome in the Pacific Northwest. A self-professed serial monogamist, he lives alone, but his girlfriend lives next door, and is fully on board with his cause.

“He doesn’t have a giant ego that he struts around with, he doesn’t try to argue with people,” said Marv Ross, Mr. Knight’s former college roommate and a longtime friend. “He was always about humor, to make it as fun as possible to get his message across, and I saw him do it many times. He’d deflect people getting upset with a joke or a smile.”

68 comments:

Big Mike said...

I bet I’m not the first to write this: him first

alfromchgo said...

After you Les.

Lem Former Twitter Aficionado said...

I wonder how many hardcore environmentalists want the earth saved for the sake of saving the earth and the subhuman species, but not saving the earth for the sake of humanities survival.

There’s a distinction not much discussed; little that I’ve seen discussed anywhere.

Lem Former Twitter Aficionado said...

You could probably fit 8billion people in our not so great in size State of Rhode Island and have plenty of room left over for Costco.

Earnest Prole said...

The change begins with you.

Readering said...

Watch the tucker Carlson interview linked in the article. Master class on how to get one's points across without confrontation. Of course preparation and experience key. One may disagree but by end understand where he's coming from. I suppose at the end comes down to a form of utilitarianism. Greatest good for greatest number of species.

Leland said...

He doesn’t have a giant ego

Nah, he just wants everyone to die without him going first, because he knows better than everyone else.

Humperdink said...

Yes, he and Zeke (Goodbye at 75) Emanuel need to become pen pals.

john said...

His shtick is getting really old. Needs new material.

john said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lurker21 said...

There is no privilege like human privilege.

But get rid of humans and who has the privilege then?

Is nature really that pacific and benign? It's animals eating plants and each other -- and people when they can.

Mary Beth said...

The Earth got along fine without us. It will do fine for as long as we're here and for the eternity after we are gone. At least until it's consumed in a fiery explosion of the sun.

The Earth itself is not harmed by our population or pollution. It just keeps spinning. Any idea of harm is a human idea.

Readering said...

The change did begin with him. No children.

Readering said...

He would be happy if we all lived to 113, but without conceiving any more children after today.

PM said...

"I don’t think the whales will miss our songs."
That is one of the finest inane thoughts ever.

Gahrie said...

Humans are every bit a part of nature as any other animal, and we have the same right to exist as any other animal. We aren't the only animals that change our environment to suit as better. There's a reason beavers make dams.

BarrySanders20 said...

Does he get aroused by natural disasters?

JK Brown said...

He promotes voluntary human extinction, for decades?

Way to not lead by example.

JK Brown said...

Blogger BarrySanders20 said...
Does he get aroused by natural disasters?

More likely he supports gun control.

n.n said...

Trans/humanists: a fetus on a cold, gray slate, another baby in the pot, an unarmed woman kicked on the ground until she is no longer viable, an addict self-aborting in a public spectacle, a granny expiring at planned parent/hood.

Carol said...

Misanthropy is easy. Charity is harder. That's why the Church puts Faith, Hope and Charity at the top of the Virtues.

But do take the easy way.

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vance said...

Let's meet him halfway: Make it illegal for leftists to have children or be around them.

Let's let the left die out in a generation.

A good start, right, Readering? How could any of the environmentalists oppose that?

Somewhere in WI said...

I have often wondered if the environmentalist groups are for saving the planet for humans or just saving the planet for the planet?
If it’s for humans I’m not sure we as a species are worth all the effort and economic hardship that would cause. If it’s for the planet what makes them think that right now is the perfect spot to stop the ecosystem from evolving? The planet would be just fine without us and would quietly go on about it’s change trying to achieve perfect balance and never quite succeeding.

Somewhere

Narr said...

High-school subbing as a career? That's just pathetic, but to each his, her, or its own.



Josephbleau said...

Wanting one group to die while wanting other groups to live is the epitome of racism. He is a pure nazi, seeking the final solution. He has no value for living things. His kind of violence will be turned into violent murder of those he hates. He is evil. All lives matter, within the design of nature.

He is neither admirable nor eccentrically cute.

Will Cate said...

For my money, this guy had the last word on this issue:

Save the planet?

Unknown said...

Most of the Earth actually contains zero humans. There are many places on Earth where a human foot has never trod.

If you eliminate India and China, the Earth would heal itself in months. Having been to both India and China, I can tell you that nobody there deserves to be on this planet any longer as they don't treat it properly and with respect.

Nuke them from orbit.

Jim at said...

Lead by example, champ.

Bob Boyd said...

... it’s funny they don’t ever mention the bad things we’ve done.

Are you shitting me? What planet is this guy living on?

Krumhorn said...

As someone on Twitter said a few years ago: u telling me we got water and dirt on this planet and someone figured out how to turn it into wifi? no

And a few years before Twitter:  And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7)

- Krumhorn

BUMBLE BEE said...

Patty Smyth has a song for you... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTZ1YwIZSUE

Jupiter said...

"He would be happy if we all lived to 113, but without conceiving any more children after today."

I would be happy if he had died yesterday. There are people who make the World a better place, at least by my lights. But he isn't one of them.

Bob Boyd said...

Ima guess people "don't ever mention the bad things we've done" around Les because they don't want to get him started ranting and raving and telling his threadbare extinction jokes again.

Jupiter said...

"At least until it's consumed in a fiery explosion of the sun."

From observing other stars of similar size, cosmologists have concluded that the Sun is unlikely to explode. It will expand into a red giant like Betelgeuse, then cool into, I believe, a brown dwarf. Anyway, life will be over on the Earth well before the Sun reaches maximum size. Unless someone can figure out a way to move it. Maybe Bill Gates should get to work on that.

Michael K said...

The Left and the climate crazies are working hard on this problem of too many humans.

Narr said...

As far as we know, we're the only sentient witnesses to all this; that's reason enough and justification enough for us the hang around as long as possible, individually and collectively.

His stop, like everyone else's, is close by and will be ready when he is.

cubanbob said...

People like him remind me of those who commit murder-suicide. Why can't they just skip the murder part and go straight to the suicide?

Scott Patton said...

"they don’t ever mention the bad things we’ve done."
Sometimes it seems it's nothing but the bad things getting mentioned.

cubanbob said...

People like him remind me of those who commit murder-suicide. Why can't they just skip the murder part and go straight to the suicide?

MountainMan said...

"You could probably fit 8 billion people in our not so great in size State of Rhode Island and have plenty of room left over for Costco."

I did this calculation the other day, just for fun. If I wanted to put everyone in one place, giving each person 1 m2 of space, I would need about 8,000 km2. RI only has about 2700 km2, so it is too small. However, Puerto Rico, with 9,000 km2, would do just fine and would have room for the next 1B people, which will probably be around 2040 or so, I think.

BUMBLE BEE said...

What's the official position on earthquakes?

Wa St Blogger said...

You could probably fit 8billion people in our not so great in size State of Rhode Island and have plenty of room left over for Costco.

That would be a tight fit.

With 777,000 acres housing 6 story apartment buildings which resulted in 162 units per acre, putting in 4 person per apt. would house 500 million people. You would need some very high rise aps on the order of 48 stories. With that density you would need Mass. and NH.

However, if you turned Texas and Oklahoma in to suburbia housing street, and sidewalk only, no Costco, putting 8 single family homes with really small yards per acre, 5 people per home, you could fit more than 8 billion people there.

The problem with the over-population crowd is that they look at the dense cities and forget the vast spaces of open land. Even Japan, one of the most densely populated countries in the world has lots of open spaces.

If you turned all of IT into duplexes and tri-plexes, you could have some open park like space and still hold 18 units per acre. With 5 people per unit it would hold all 8 billion of us.

If you turned a portion of it into single housing suburbia just for its own population, it would take up only 1/30 of the land mass.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

"He would be happy if we all lived to 113, but without conceiving any more children after today"

Say this clown's idea of nirvana actually occurred. How fast do you think it would take for society to enter a state of mass chaos and murder? No one would bother working for a future other than death. There would be no need or incentive to build a productive society. I would assume total lawlessness and mayhem would ensue long before the end of human civilization. I'm sure it would be terrifying for those that remained as the numbers gradually dwindled.

mikee said...

The Marching Morons, by Cyril Kornbluth, 1951: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/51233/51233-h/51233-h.htm

People need to be convinced to get on the rockets to Mars. If you sell the idea well, it is so much easier than forcing them into cattle cars on trains.

mikee said...

The Marching Morons, by Cyril Kornbluth, 1951: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/51233/51233-h/51233-h.htm

People need to be convinced to get on the rockets to Mars.

readering said...

So I guess the best argument against him is that folks in sympathy will tend to misunderstand him and want people dead, like folks here misunderstand him and want him dead.

rcocean said...

The zero population growth movement was a leftwing scam. Are they starting it up again?

Gem Quincyite said...

He needs to meet a good friend of mine;
Mr. Hugo First.


Sebastian said...

"because we’re smart enough, we should know enough to end it."

So claiming we don't know enough to end it is either a form of deplorable bad faith or just plain dumb.

"founder of the Voluntary Human Extinction movement"

Voluntary, how long?

Anyway, you'd think that people who know enough to follow the science, specifically the science of evolution, would affirm humans' superior adaptive fitness. Tough luck for the whales, though I'd be happy to give them a break.

n.n said...

The zero population growth movement was a leftwing scam. Are they starting it up again?

Past, present, and progressive calls to Net-Zero excess children... carbon. Think of the climate... in high density urban heat islands, at exclusive beach front estates, as the elite travel to and fro to save something that is already viable outside of their isolated dreams.

n.n said...

The problem is not the people, nor the fauna, nor the flora. It's the low-density, renewable/intermittent/unreliable/catastrophic Green deals that occupy the land and water, with either short-term smoothing, or long-term primary infrastructure to share responsibility, and immigration reform in lieu of emigration reform exploited for democratic and financial leverage in high-density urban heat islands.

Big Mike said...

So I guess I would have lost my bet at 12:21.

@readering (3:25), I think we understand him perfectly. You, on the other hand …

stutefish said...

I feel like VHEMT and Extinction Rebellion should spend more time counter-protesting each other.

donald said...

I have a sudden desire for condos and pavement…everywhere.

walter said...

Les is more.

Ambrose said...

8 billion people made in God's image - makes me smile.

BUMBLE BEE said...

Become a Canadian citizen. Next year the Fentanyl will be available from someone who pledged to do no harm. Just like Clauberg and Schumann.

Richard Dolan said...

Actions or outcomes are deemed ‘good’ or ‘bad’ based on how humans value them (putting aside for present purposes the possibility of any divinely designated values—not likely Les would think there are any). Without people, then, nothing has ‘value’ because the concept becomes meaningless. The natural world reflects that reality. Mother Nature doesn’t care how many animals (or people) are killed by mosquito carried diseases; how many Bambis are devoured by the Big Bad Wolf; whether whales survive or die out; or just how intensely all that ‘red claw and tooth’ stuff may impact others. Without people there is no one to care about any of that, or indeed anything else. Same with devastation by fire, flood, drought, ice ages, heat waves, meteor impacts, tidal waves, volcanic eruptions, you name it — Mom N couldn’t care less.

It’s kind of silly to start with anthropomorphic conceptions of Nature by imputing human value of beauty or anything else to it, and then propose to eliminate humans. That doesn’t leave you with some idyllic (another purely human value-projection) natural world happily (there it is again) devoid of people. It leaves you with a world without value, without meaning, without anything in it worth living (or dying) for.

Lovely.

robother said...

In the famous words of Tonto, "what you mean 'we' pale face?"

In my experience, such sentiments are always and only expressed by white men. And generally, only those of Northern European heritage. It is hard to imagine any other race (or part thereof) so consumed by self-loathing as to cheer its self-extinction. Whether the gods, or God, or Fates listen to human prayer, one assumes that this is one prayer that will be answered in the next 100 years or so.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

No one ever mentions the bad things we've done.
That might be the craziest thing he said in all of it.

traditionalguy said...

Malthus lives. With a little help from Biden, Gates and Walt Disney fantasies we can suicide the human race before Musk gets his colony on Mars going strong.

traditionalguy said...

Malthus lives. With a little help from Biden, Gates and Walt Disney fantasies we can suicide the human race before Musk gets his colony on Mars going strong.

Bunkypotatohead said...

If he can get the residents of Baltimore on board, I might even chip in a few dollars to his cause.

Jamie said...

So I guess the best argument against him is that folks in sympathy will tend to misunderstand him and want people dead, like folks here misunderstand him and want him dead.

I don't know that it's the best argument against him. I find at least two others more compelling: first, the argument that if no one has a need for a future in the form of children, there's no need for any stricture whatsoever on behavior. Almost all women and many men will be raped and, if the rapist is still feeling saucy, murdered; the last babies born with even as minor a disability as myopia will be allowed to die rather than deal with their needs, because why bother?; anyone who developes a disability or weakness will be allowed to die or killed outright, for expediency or fun; the Lord of the Flies will rule the earth for that last generation. And if the process takes some generations before everyone is convinced of its necessity or virtue, it just means war between those who want a future for their children and those who don't, until one side wins. (I'm betting on the people with children; their motivation is greater.)

The second argument I find more compelling is the argument that humans are a part of the Earth's ecosystem, and in fact the only one that remotely gives a hoot whether any other species continues to exist. Yes, we've driven some species to extinction (though extinction is complex and happens all the time for many interwoven reasons, so the picture isn't as clear as all that - for instance, did we actually hunt mammoths to extinction, or did we just hunt the remnant that was soon to die because of warming period climate change?). We've also brought many back from the brink, and changed our behavior to try to preserve the habitat of many others. No other species does that.

No other species creates complex art, consciously passes on its (or any) history, innovates anywhere nearly as dramatically as we do, or has the capacity to relocate out of this system and carry on its accomplishments. It appears this guy really thinks that these traits are either so ubiquitous in the universe that there's no harm in letting them die out here, or conversely so damaging that we ought to prevent their spread. He sounds like a scold, no matter how good-humored his intimates find him - and when I hear "self-described serial monogamist," I think "controlling utopian who can't compromise, much less collaborate, with anyone to build a life, but is certain that his particular way of life is worth valorizing."

boatbuilder said...

Malthus is still wrong. He's been wrong over and over and over again.

https://www.amazon.com/Superabundance-Population-Innovation-Flourishing-Infinitely-ebook/dp/B0B196K1XT

boatbuilder said...

It is a paradox, but more people means more "wealth," as in productivity.

"Conservation" or the prioritazation of ecological issues is a luxury and byproduct of wealth and industrialization; poor agrarian cultures (which is what the zero growth movement promotes) are the greatest despoilers of the environment.

Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short is no way to go through life.

boatbuilder said...

Those of you doing the calculations for putting 8 billion people in Texas, etc., need to factor in the huge acreage needed for all of the solar fields and wind farms needed to harvest the unicorn farts to keep everyone alive.