Radical Environmentalists Disclaim Responsibility for Eco-Terrorist James Lee

[Wednesday], at the Discovery Channel offices in Maryland, environmental activist James Jay Lee took company employees hostage, threatening to kill them unless the media outlet agreed to turn itself into a propaganda channel for population control. The standoff ended when the gun-toting and bomb-laden eco-terrorist was shot dead by a SWAT team.

Lee had earlier outlined his demands on his website, savetheplanetprotest.com, where he posted a 1,100 word manifesto aimed at the Discovery Channel. In it, he demanded that Discovery change its programming and focus on getting rid of people who are “polluting” the planet. “All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants…” Lee wrote, “…programs encouraging human sterilization and infertility must be pushed. … That means stopping the human race from breeding any more disgusting human babies!” It is because there are too many people, he exclaims elsewhere on the site, that “Global Warming is a reality. The massive extinction of animals is happening all over the world.”

Where did he get such wacko ideas?

From the mainstream environmental movement, that’s where, which early embraced the idea that the best kind of environmental protection was population control.

  • Earth Day Founder Hugh Moore first popularized the idea, picked up by Lee, that people are a form of pollution. Moore invented the term “popullution,” short for population pollution, and chose as the theme of the first Earth Day in 1970 the slogan “People Pollute.”
  • Population Bombster Paul Ehrlich went on to narrow the focus to human babies, frequently exhorting people to “Join the environmental movement, stop having children, and save the planet.”
  • By 1971 most of the leading environmental groups had signed on to the anti-natal agenda, having been convinced that reducing the human birthrate would greatly benefit the environment. Lee obviously made their agenda his own.
  • Coercion in matters of birth control, suggested by Lee above, has been widely and openly endorsed by radical environmentalists. “Voluntarism is a farce,” wrote Richard Bowers of Zero Population Growth in 1969. “The private sector effort has failed… [even the expenditure] of billions of dollars will not limit growth.” Sterner measures were required, said Bowers, who proposed enacting “criminal laws to limit population, if the earth is to survive.”
  • And then there is Al Gore who, however cartoonish he now seems, continues his overheated rhetoric about the dangers of global warming. According to Lee’s own account, it was a viewing of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” several years ago that first spurred him to environmental activism. I note also that Gore, in a post on his personal blog two weeks ago, called for major protests against the failure of the U.S. government to act against global warming.
  • Lee was particularly affected by reading Ishmael and My Ishmael, environmental cult books by Daniel Quinn that tell the story of a sentient gorilla with a Jewish name (Ishmael), who castigates humans for having too many babies. Reducing human numbers and returning humans to a tribal existence (Quinn is also no fan of industry) are recurrent themes of the books, and are cited by Lee as a major inspiration.

Now, if a book by Glenn Beck had in any way, however remotely, inspired a gunman to take hostages at MSNBC and demand that they reorient their programming to promote the pro-life, pro-family cause, you can bet that the lamestream media would be howling hate crime, not just at the criminal, but also at Beck himself.

Instead, we see the media in full-throated denial of any connection between the anti-people words of their environmental icons and the anti-people acts of James Lee. The Huffington Post has already reached the conclusion that Lee was mentally ill, the implication of which is that neither he, nor his intellectual progenitors, can be held accountable for his actions. I am not a psychologist, but it seems to me that you have to be functioning pretty well to write long essays, maintain a website, and plan an assault (complete with bombs) on a major media center.

Those who inspired Lee’s ravings are taking a different approach. While Al Gore is maintaining a discrete silence, Daniel Quinn is babbling to all and sundry that his books had absolutely nothing whatsoever—zip, zilch, nada—to do with James Lee’s actions. “This James Lee has been inspired,” Quinn concedes, “but in a destructive way. He’s doing what he can do — which is a crazy stunt. I wish I could understand what he’s trying to do, and what he’s trying to say. It’s hard to connect it with my book.”

Really? It seems rather easy to connect the dots to me. Perhaps Quinn has not yet read Lee’s manifesto, the ideas of which, although put more crudely, bear more than a passing resemblance to his own. Both of them want industrial civilization to self-destruct, taking with it most of the people on the planet, but Quinn wants to do it … democratically.

As he explains, “The solution has to come from a consensus of the majority of the humans in our planet, and say ‘Yes, this is what we must do, painful as it will be, to ensure the survival of the race.’ … And it will be painful. There’s not going to be any painless solution.”

Lee’s solution was to speed up the achievement of consensus by inflicting pain and terror on innocent people to force the Discovery Channel to broadcast an endless series of anti-baby, anti-people documentaries.

“It’s hard to imagine how he got from reading this book to his current behavior,” Quinn now says. “It certainly puzzles me.”

What puzzles me is how obtuse otherwise intelligent Leftists can be when they are in denial. They endlessly advocate “radical action,” and “radical social change,” and then when someone takes them seriously they throw up their hands in pretended astonishment.

It is also clear that Daniel Quinn and others feel a certain twinge of sympathy for James Lee. After all, the taking of hostages in the environmentalist cause is not a mere “crazy stunt,” as Quinn put it, it is a brazen act of eco-terrorism, and should be described as such.

Do not hold your breath.

I am reminded of the British labor leader who balked at comparisons between Communism and Nazism. Nazism was pure evil, this social democrat said, while Communism was merely deformed. However much Lee and other radical environmentalists may have disagreed about means, they shared the view that people are a pestilence on the planet. And so they are soul mates

Steven W. Mosher

By

Steven W. Mosher is the President of Population Research Institute and an internationally recognized authority on China and population issues, as well as an acclaimed author, speaker. He has worked tirelessly since 1979 to fight coercive population control programs and has helped hundreds of thousands of women and families worldwide over the years.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

MENU