The first mosquito of spring arrived about two weeks ago while I was out walking. It buzzed with unseemly haste, pestering my ankles. It was in hot pursuit of my carbon dioxide trail, eager as a miner with gold fever. When I paused, the mosquito settled down to feast. The end came quickly.
Later we had guests in the house. When the lady frowned uncomfortably at the telltale hum I knew our rustic neighborhood was the cause. Even though she ate only gluten free, organic and non-GMO, she couldn’t help flinch when mosquito #10 glided in for the kill. To be fair, hardly anyone enjoys mosquito bites. She was also pregnant and well aware of the dangers of mosquito borne disease to the child growing in her womb.
To some the attitude to mosquitoes is like that of Captain Hook towards the Lost Boys: “Kill them; kill them all!” Is this unreasonable? The loss of the religious understanding of the human condition makes it difficult for many people to answer this question.
It would be an understatement to say that today many do not approve of the Judeo-Christian idea that man is somehow privileged—the imago Dei. Society is in the grips of an idea that human beings bear no inherent special place in the world order, let alone as the image of God. Thus, many conclude what the philosopher Nietzsche wrote over a century ago: “We no longer [after Darwin] derive man from ‘spirit,’ from ‘godhead,’ we have put him back among animals.”
It was fitting that he wrote these words in his book The Antichrist. The title made plain he understood the war of words in which he engaged in was against the Christian worldview. It was God, after all, who said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
Until recently our civilization understood that human beings are superior to animals. We are fallen creatures who struggle for, yet never attain, virtue. We recognize that it is the sacrifice of our desires, the control of our lusts in service to God, that stretches such vast distances between us and the animals.
We become as animals when we act out every fantasy that enters our mind, indulge every hidden desire. There is nothing wrong when a mosquito does this, for mosquitoes are limited creatures not made in God’s image. But when a human being does this, there is no end to the perversions of which we are capable. The acting out of our fantasies is then limited only by our power.
If a human believes he, and others, are animals it is not long before personal desire trumps all other criteria for appropriate behavior, or restraint to discipline or conduct. We then drift in a sea of subjectivity. This is maybe part of the reason our culture suddenly finds itself awash in grown men who insist they are women.
Albert Schweitzer, the humanist famous for his medical work in Africa, would have none of the Biblical view. He believed no serious distinction separated a human from, say, a mosquito. He wrote: “The ethics of reverence for life makes no distinction between higher and lower, more precious and less precious lives.”
This is a world, in the words of a prominent environmental activist, in which a boy is a rat or a pig or a dog. Paul Ehrlich, mentor of President Obama’s Science Czar, was way ahead of the curve. Decades ago he wrote of humans as cancer cells: “We must shift our efforts from treatment of the symptoms to the cutting out of the cancer.”
If a boy is just an animal then he has no more or less right to existence than a cancer cell or a mosquito. And if there are too many boys … .
How, indeed, can we know which life is more worthy of saving? When we engage in fantasy, we should not imagine we can long escape unpleasant consequences.
Those who are attracted to environmentalism need to come to terms with the misanthropy inherent in the Green movement. Environmentalist sensibilities may be broad, and include reasonable folks interested in clean water and responsible human behavior, but environmentalism’s philosophy is at root anti-human.
No wonder, then, that voices are rising in the environmentalist movement to save the mosquitoes. We will never kill all the mosquitoes, so a more modest and reasonable proposal is to control them for the benefit of humanity. Sadly, for the green movement, control of human beings seems far more important.
This article was originally published on CNS News.