September 1, 2014 by Liberty
Ever notice the differences between watching a nature documentary and the average movie written about nature? Well… there are a lot of differences but I’m talking about a small category of these differences. It’s particularly noticeable in children’s movies. In movies written about nature, animals are mostly good. (As defined by cliches.) The environment is also good.
If the movie is focusing on the environment then the differences become even more blatantly obvious. The animals are often personified. They’re mostly friendly (and often have great singing voices.) The environment is all around them like a primitive god that everyone relies on to survive. Then… out of nowhere… we have the evil people come into the story.
People are portrayed as selfish, cruel, and ignorant of this environmental god. The funniest part about this whole setup is that the animals are personified more than most of the human’s in these movies. This romantic view of nature is absolutely insane. Watching any nature documentary for ten minutes can show you why but most people intentionally blind themselves with the romanticism of their everyday life.
The Reality of Nature
If you get caught up watching a nature documentary, you’re going to see a very different world in nature than those written movies provide. First of all, animals don’t have cute human personalities. Second, they often kill each other like it’s nothing. Some creatures kill each other to eat each other. Other animals kill for their own convenience. Many time these animals do other things that (if personified) would look absolutely atrocious to any human. Rape? Yep. They do it. Cannibalism? Yep. Some animals do that too.
This isn’t even a small part of nature though. This is virtually every bit of nature you can find. Similar activities are the basic formula to survival without humanity.
Of course, humans appear to be the only potential exception to that rule. While they probably didn’t start as the exception, humans have become conscious of certain moral rules. Today, people actually care about random creatures going extinct and killing foxes for entertainment. We are, in fact, one of the only creatures to make any effort to help the environment (even if it is just to boost our own ego.)
Don’t just focus on the animals though. Nature in a children’s movie is a friendly place to live. Anyone that’s spent anytime in the wilderness knows this is complete crap. Unless your definition of friendly happens to be disease filled, dangerous, and unpredictable. Despite what these movies tell you, a house is way better than living in nature. To list just a few of the obvious reasons, plumbing, protection from the elements, and protection from dangerous creatures.
The part of this discrepancy between documentaries and movies that I find so appalling is the targeted audience. The vast majority of these movies that glorify nature are targeted at children. It’s almost like the children are being subjected to a religious doctrine while they’re too young to understand the contradictions.
Today, most nature documentaries don’t hide the reality of nature. In fact, many movies targeting adults are at least somewhat unbiased in their perception of nature. That’s because grown ups have already made up their mind. (Any fellow libertarian’s reading this know exactly how challenging it is to change someones mind when they’re over 25.)
The children with undeveloped brains are the target of this pseudo-religious environmental doctrine. Nature is right while people are born with original sin. We need to fight to protect nature from other people that perceive nature differently. (Remind you of any other kind of war?)
Through all this environmental propaganda that people are subjected to, there is a glaring mistake that most people are making. They overlook one of the fundamental facts about the situation. No matter how aggressive we get against the environment, nature is going to win.
As human beings, we are vulnerable. We are a single species. Evolutionarily speaking, we adapt slowly. Any major changes that happen in the world could easily extinct our species. The earth is not so vulnerable. The earth is a combination of millions of species. Each one of these species would thrive in certain situations and die in others.
Even if we set off every nuclear bomb in the world, there is a real chance that many small life forms will survive and evolve to thrive in that environment. Nature isn’t in danger. We are.
All this focus on environmentalism ends it’s analysis at the environment but it should be ending at humanity. Humanity is what needs to be saved through environmentalism. (Is that why the animals are always personified in these children’s movies?) It’s idiotic to try and save humanity by sacrificing humanity.
Solving Environmental Problems
Most “solutions” to environmental problems are designed to directly cause harm to people. For example, reducing carbon emissions would slow down the efficiency of humans. That means worse food in stores. That means less value getting created by people. That means less resources, people, and minds available to actually solve problems. It’s just a worse world to live in. Keeping in mind that people are what we’re trying to save, it’s a mistake to sacrifice them. (Sure, there may be some appropriate balance but there are solutions that don’t require humans to suffer.)
One of the most powerful ways people could help the environment is by fighting for environmental property rights. That might sound a little weird but it’s been shown to help. The problem of the commons is real. When no one owns an asset, no one has any incentive to protect it. When people own that asset, people want to protect it’s value.
There are plenty of examples of this in the timber industry. Major companies rarely clear cut their own land. They regrow the trees they cut down because their property value would otherwise drop dramatically. (That is, unless they’re clear cutting government leased property. In that case, regrowing the trees would be like changing the oil in a rental car.) The problem isn’t ownership. It’s lack of ownership.
This would encourage people to protect the environment while providing more resources to the average person.
This isn’t the only solution though. There are plenty of ways that the environment can be protected through private and voluntary means. By using voluntary means to protect the environment, we can be sure that the balance between protecting humans future and protecting humans today is balanced out through the proper pricing of these market forces.
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