Human Beings Aren’t A Virus; Capitalism and Civilization are the Cancer

By Natan Rebelde (March 24, 2020)

Many people are currently becoming more accepting of the reality that there’s something very, very wrong with our way of life. Declarations such as “humans are the virus!” are indeed misguided, but I would caution against knee-jerk accusations of eco-fascism. Of course, fascists utilizing ecological realities to forward their agendas will likely make use of such rhetoric (or more likely, point blame at groups of “undesirables” such as migrants or BIPOC), but many people making such observations are simply feeling out uncomfortable realities of our culture that they haven’t previously fully faced.

It is our obligation and responsibility to point out the usefulness of such misguided analyses to structures of power, and to demonstrate convincingly how and why it’s not human beings themselves that are the problem, but rather, one very specific dominator culture that has risen to global dominance (so is easy to confuse and conflate with humanity itself): industrial “civilization” and consumer capitalism (and attendant settler-colonialism). Capitalism is the globally dominant form of industrial civilization, so I think it’s accurate enough to put our focus there, though I believe industrial civilization in any form will have similar results, even if the State controls the means of production rather than private capitalists (aka State “socialism”/”communism”).

For the vast majority of our natural existence as a species on this planet, we have not lived in ways that systematically denude and destroy our land bases. Our very existence on an evolutionary scale is evidence of that. And ecology informs us that species and cultures that violate ecological parameters and limitations are fundamentally and terminally unsustainable and self-eliminating. This is the process our culture currently finds itself in the midst of.

ANYways… human beings are not a virus. We are not a plague on the Earth. So-called “civilization” and consumer capitalism are carcinogenic, causing normal cells to behave abnormally, and detrimentally to the larger body. And this cancer has metastasized to encompass most of the body. But maybe give those coming to these realizations a break, and see if, when offered a more nuanced perspective and critique, they grow into it. Pointing fingers and screaming “ECOFASCISM!” is unlikely to have a productive result. That said, bash the actual fash, by all means.