Ayn Rand on Environment



Anyone over age 30 should thank smokestacks for longevity

Contrary to the ecologists, nature does not stand still & does not maintain the kind of "equilibrium" that guarantees the survival of any particular species--least of all the survival of her greatest and most fragile product: man.

In the preindustrial Middle Ages, man's life expectancy was 30 years. In the nineteenth century, Europe's population grew by 300%--which is the best proof of the fact that for the first time in human history, industry gave the great masses of people a chance to survive.

If it were true that a heavy concentration of industry is destructive to human life, one would find life expectancy declining in the more advanced countries. But it has been rising steadily. Here are the figures on life expectancy in the US:

Anyone over 30 years of age today, give a silent "Thank you" to the nearest, grimiest, sootiest smokestacks you can find.
Source: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, p.276-8, by Ayn Rand , Jan 1, 1999

Goal of ecologists is to destroy capitalist economy

The immediate goal [of the environmental movement] is obvious: the destruction of the remnants of capitalism in today's mixed economy, and the establishment of a global dictatorship. This goal does not have to be inferred--many speeches and books on the subject state explicitly that the ecological crusade is a means to that end.

City smog and filthy rivers are not good for men [But] even if smog were a risk to human life, we must remember that life in nature, without technology, is wholesale death. Without machines and technology, the task of mere survival is a terrible, mind-and-body-wrecking ordeal. In "nature," the struggle for food, clothing and shelter consumes all of a man's energy and spirit; it is a losing struggle-- the winner is any flood, earthquake or swarm of locusts. To work only for bare necessities is a luxury that mankind cannot afford.

Source: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, p.280-8, by Ayn Rand , Jan 1, 1999

Reduce pollution & overcrowding by objective laws, not blame

As far as the issue of actual pollution is concerned, it is primarily a scientific, not a political, problem. In regard to the political principle involved: if a man creates a physical danger or harm to others, which extends beyond the line of his own property, such as unsanitary conditions or even loud noise, and if this is proved, the law can and does hold him responsible. If the condition is collective, such as in an overcrowded city, appropriate and objective laws can be defined, protecting the rights of all those involved--as was done in the case of oil rights, air-space rights, etc. But such laws cannot demand the impossible, must not be aimed at a single scapegoat, i.e., the industrialists, and must take into consideration the whole context of the problem, i.e., the absolute necessity of the continued existence of industry--if the preservation of human life is the standard.
Source: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, p.167, by Ayn Rand , Jan 1, 1999

Pollution is a technological problem, not a political one

"City smog and filthy rivers are not good for men(though they are not the kind of danger that the ecological panic-mongers proclaim them to be). This is a scientific, technological problem--not a political one--and it can be solved only by technology. Even if smog were a risk to human life, we must remember that life in nature, without technology, is wholesale death." [Quoted from "The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution", 1971]
Source: The Ayn Rand Lexicon, by Harry Binswanger, p. 135 , Jan 1, 1986

Ecology principle condemns cities & people

Ecology as a social principle condemns cities, culture, industry, technology, the intellect, and advocates men's return to "nature," to the state of grunting sub-animals digging the soil with their bare hands.
Source: The Ayn Rand Letter, III/25/1, by Ayn Rand , Jan 1, 1979

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