The Morality of Self-Extinction

Men have crafted a mass extinction event. This is not just a crime against humanity. It is attempted mass murder of Mother Earth. What is the morality of this?

Morality is the idea that equity should be esteemed. Morality is not a philosophical contrivance. It is innate, the very weave of the fiber which clothes social interaction.

A sense of fairness comes naturally to the minds of all non-pathogenic organisms. By contrast, parasites are immoral sociopaths.

A parasite is an organism that lives off another organism. The current mass extinction event owes to parasitism.

Throughout history, with the rarest exception, political states have been parasitic. Rulers extract taxes and impose their decided social order. Beyond the mixed blessing of police, the “return on investment” for being taxed and ruled has seldom yielded a better society.

Plutocracy compounds political parasitism by the inequity by favoring a select group – the wealthy – over the general populace. All modern states of geopolitical significance are plutocratic.

Political parasitism would evaporate if governments were truly “of the people, by the people, for the people.” Embracing the slogan without even bothering with lip service toward meeting it makes America the most hypocritical nation on Earth.

Capitalism is founded upon the principal of parasitism. According to the capitalist creed, bits of Nature, including other life, may be “owned” and exhaustingly exploited for personal profit. Only governments curbing capitalism from its natural exercise have kept the masses from revolting against this unrepentant regime of inequity.

In summary, Earth is ruled by a political economy which is both inequitable and unsustainable. Plutocratic capitalism has proven to be engine of self-extinction, not to mention the ruination of social justice.

The idea of a “greater good” is an ancient one. Lao Tzu, Plato, Augustine, and many others imagined the ideal state as a harmonious society guided by equity. 18th-century jurist and social philosopher Jeremy Bentham labeled the modern form of this creed as utilitarianism.

A philosopher may undermine the merit of utilitarianism by its loftiness: the “greater good” is a hopelessly abstract metric. But, when it comes to survival, the “greater good” is cogently defined: a convention which permits life to flourish.

That modern states can enforce their will is beyond question. Functionally, political ideologies pivot on the degree to which people’s behaviors should be controlled.

Despite the dire situation of impending self-extinction, voters in democracies are still voting for conservatives: those who would try to sustain the status quo. Even parties in democracies labeled as leftist – none of which are in power anywhere – are not revolutionary in a constructive sense. Those states which nominally aim at sustainability, such as Cuba, are few and geopolitically incidental.

Democracies have utterly failed morally. Blame this wretched consistency on a lack of compassion among the majority.

The capitalist mindset has eroded morality into an entitlement mentality. The backdrop of almost all political fights is over slices of the fiscal pie that government dishes out. The democratic body politic is sick indeed from such a morally poisoned diet.

Out of abject ignorance, people are electing that everyone dies. From a survival perspective, in tolerating plutocratic capitalism, democracies pose an imminent threat to humanity. Should that collective death wish be thwarted?

The covid pandemic gives a good reference point. CoV2 always was a modest cold virus which quickly evolved to become quite mild. Rare exceptions aside, only a distinct, identifiable class of people got seriously sick with covid: those negligent in taking care of their own health. Severe covid is, first and foremost, a lifestyle disease of fat folk.

To not insult their audience, mass media largely ignored this critical fact. What was gotten instead was a putrid public parade of idiocy.

Right-wing libertarians wanted the freedom to spread the virus just because they like the idea of freedom. They didn’t evaluate the danger. They just didn’t want to be told what to do.

Contrarily, left-wing liberals proved they were, at heart, illiberal control freaks. They were all for social control: restrictions, mandatory mask-wearing and jabs. They didn’t evaluate the danger – though they did constantly cry “follow the science.” They just had an automatic impulse to try to control the uncontrollable (viral contagion). Between the left and right, in the case of covid, the myopic illiberals were the major morons. The ruination of covid restrictions is still being felt.

Wading into the morass of the proper punishment for crimes is beyond the scope of this essay. In that regard, English novelist George Orwell hit the nail on the head when he said, “The whole idea of punishment is a childish daydream.”

Regarding the crime of those who would abet or even tolerate mass self-extinction, 1st-century Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca aptly stated, “He who spares the wicked injures the good.”

The morality of self-extinction is that it should not be allowed. Unlike covid, the engine of self-extinction can be stopped. Unlike covid, which was not an instance of “we’re all in this together,” species survival is exactly that.

The cost of keeping humanity alive is everyone’s freedom. Capitalism worked on the premise that people can do as they please, even when what pleases them is a practice of exploitation that leads to the collapse of civilization and the death of all. Clearly, that cannot go on.

The lynchpin issue is whether self-defense justifies eliminating a survival threat. All modern justice systems recognize such a right.

This basic issues scales to its most extreme degree in attempting to thwart collective election to species suicide. In that conservativism is entrenched, it is conceivable that a majority of some populations might need to be eliminated to achieve a sustainable civilization.

Do numbers matter when survival is at stake? In other words, is it okay that the idea of “greater good” rings hollow when collective death is the only other option?

Touting war to bring a lasting peace has repeatedly been used throughout history. Its only moral justification is if the peace that ensues is ensured by an equitable, just society. As 19th-century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer stated, “Compassion is the basis of morality.”


Ishi Nobu, “Morality,” in The Echoes of the Mind (2019).

Ishi Nobu, “Political Morality,” in The Echoes of the Mind (2019).