Clemson philosophy professor Todd May recently wrote an op-ed in the New York Times that is sure to put you in the Christmas spirit.  In an article titled “Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?” he argues that we really have messed up our lives and this world so much that the elimination of humanity would be a “good thing, full stop.”

Wow. This is how he began his piece:

To make that case, let me start with a claim that I think will be at once depressing and, upon reflection, uncontroversial. Human beings are destroying large parts of the inhabitable earth and causing unimaginable suffering to many of the animals that inhabit it. This is happening through at least three means. First, human contribution to climate change is devastating ecosystems, as the recent article on Yellowstone Park in The Times exemplifies. Second, increasing human population is encroaching on ecosystems that would otherwise be intact. Third, factory farming fosters the creation of millions upon millions of animals for whom it offers nothing but suffering and misery before slaughtering them in often barbaric ways. There is no reason to think that those practices are going to diminish any time soon. Quite the opposite. Humanity, then, is the source of devastation of the lives of conscious animals on a scale that is difficult to comprehend. … If this were all to the story there would be no tragedy. The elimination of the human species would be a good thing, full stop.

At the Daily Wire, Ben Shapiro makes an interesting observation.  “May doesn’t actually treat people as members of the animal community – he treats us as independent of the animal community, which is an odd position to take if you’re going to analyze human interests as equivalent to that of animals.”  Which is exactly the point.  While bemoaning the “unimaginable suffering” that we humans have inflicted on animals, he waxes poetically about how man deserves whatever happens to him.

But his piece gets weirder and darker.  And honestly, with the suicide epidemic soaring as it is, this feels little irresponsible and nihilistic.  He suggests it might be good to kill ourselves or future human beings, for the sake of the planet.

One might ask here whether, given this view, it would also be a good thing for those of us who are currently here to end our lives in order to prevent further animal suffering. Although I do not have a final answer to this question, we should recognize that the case of future humans is very different from the case of currently existing humans. To demand of currently existing humans that they should end their lives would introduce significant suffering among those who have much to lose by dying. In contrast, preventing future humans from existing does not introduce such suffering, since those human beings will not exist and therefore not have lives to sacrifice. The two situations, then, are not analogous. It may well be, then, that the extinction of humanity would make the world better off and yet would be a tragedy. I don’t want to say this for sure, since the issue is quite complex. But it certainly seems a live possibility, and that by itself disturbs me.

Well, it should disturb him, because that is a radical, nihilistic, evil position to take. Remember, this writer is not some random freelancer, he is a professor at Clemson.  He has been given a position of authority at a premiere academic institution and he’s been given a position of prominence at the New York Times.

Equating animal life with human life is bad enough.  Elevating the lives of animals so much that it justifies suicide and abortion is irresponsibly evil.


Hat Tip: Ben Shapiro

Image Credit: Pixabay

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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