An Inconvenient Truth About the El Paso Shooter’s Manifesto

Michael Shellenberger posted an insightful piece today at Quillette:

Democratic Presidential candidates and the New York Times rightly condemned the use of inflammatory words like “invasion” … to describe … people coming from Latin America. …

While they are at it, they should condemn the inflammatory rhetoric used by environmentalists, which also may have contributed to the motivations of the El Paso shooting suspect. The suspect justified his mass shooting of people in a Walmart by arguing that “our lifestyle is destroying the environment of our country.” The suspect writes, “y’all are just too stubborn to change your lifestyle. So the next logical step is to decrease the number of people in America using resources. If we can get rid of enough people, then our way of life can become more sustainable.” …

For over 50 years, environmentalists have argued that a significant down-sizing of American living standards is required to prevent environmental catastrophe. They have been attacking the American lifestyle since the 1960s, and Walmart since the 1990s. The El Paso shooting suspect named his manifesto “The Inconvenient Truth,” a title nearly identical to the 2006 documentary about Al Gore’s slideshow on global warming. In it, Gore says: “The truth about the climate crisis is an inconvenient one that means we are going to have to change the way we live our lives.”

Many Democrats and New York Times readers will object that we cannot attribute the El Paso shooting subject’s actions to Gore or to the language he uses. But if that’s true, then we can’t attribute them to Trump and Fox News, either. We can’t have it both ways. …

The suspect clearly states that his decision to kill immigrants was, in significant measure, because of their impact on the natural environment. “Of course these migrants and their children have contributed to the problem, but are not the sole cause of it,” he writes. “The American lifestyle affords our citizens an incredible quality of life.”

The El Paso suspect said he was partly inspired by the suspected shooter of Muslim immigrants in New Zealand in March, who also made clear in a manifesto that environmental concerns motivated his anti-immigrant ones. “Why focus on immigration and birth rates when climate change is such a huge issue?” the New Zealand shooting suspect asks. “Because they are the same issue, the environment is being destroyed by overpopulation, we Europeans are one of the groups that are not overpopulating the world.”

Shellenberger has a lot more to say about Malthusian thinking and its dark, misguided effects. Read the whole thing!

Jon Guze / Director of Legal Studies

Jon Guze is the Director of Legal Studies at the John Locke Foundation. Before joining the John Locke Foundation, Jon practiced law in Durham, North Carolina for over twent...

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