What Is Natural?

Back-to-nature types, worriers about what “humans are doing to the planet”, and neurotics (leftists) generally take a dim view of the artifacts of human existence. There’s a lot of hypocrisy in that view, of course, mixed with goodly doses of envy and virtue-signalling.

A lot of the complaints heard from back-to-nature types, etc., are really esthetic. They just don’t like to envision a pipeline running across some open far away and well out of sight, ditto a distant and relatively small cluster of oil rigs. Such objections would seem to conflict with their preference for ugly bird-killing highway straddling, skyline cluttering wind farms. Chalk it up economically ignorant indoctrination in the “evils” of fossil fuels.

At any rate, what makes a pipeline, an oil rig, or even a wind farm any less natural than the artifacts constructed by lower animals to promote their survival? The main difference between the artifacts of the lower animals — bird’s nests, bee hives, beaver dams, underground burrows, etc. — and those of human beings is that human artifacts are far more ingenious and complex. Moreover, because humans are far more ingenious than the lower animals, the number of different human artifacts is far greater than the number arising from any other species, or even all of them taken together.

Granted, there are artifacts that aren’t necessary to the survival of human beings (e.g., movies, TV, and electric guitars), but those aren’t the ones that the back-to-nature crowd and its allies find objectionable. No, they object to the artifacts that enable the back-to-earthers, etc., to live in comfort.

In sum, a pipeline is just as natural as a bird’s nest. Remember that the next time you encounter an aging “flower child”. And ask her if a wind farm is more natural than a pipeline, and how she would like it if she had to forage for firewood to stay warm and cook her meals.

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