- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 2, 2010

The hostage situation at the Discovery Channel headquarters in Silver Spring, Md., ended Wednesday with police taking the life of the apparent gunman, James L. Lee. This unhinged individual, inspired by the ideas of environmental extremists, believed that by terrorizing employees at the television network he would spark a change that would ultimately “save the planet.” His problem was that he took far-left principles a bit too seriously.

Heavily influenced by Al Gore’s apocalyptic film “An Inconvenient Truth,” Lee saw mankind itself as the biggest threat to planetary survival. Lee logically concluded that reducing the number of human beings represented the only certain means of ending that threat. He took his anger out on the television network best known for its nature programming because it too often had shows that also glorified man’s achievement. “All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants and the false heroics behind those actions,” Lee explained in the manifesto posted on his website, savetheplanetprotest.com.

Despite the network’s extensive “green” programming, Lee could not forgive Discovery for shows like “Extreme Machines” and “Future Weapons” that he described as “glorifying of civilization and its machinery.” Self-styled environmentalists frequently call for a return to nature and a rollback of society, placing the needs of obscure animal species above those of man. California homeowners, for example, can be prohibited from using firebreaks to protect their residences from wildfire because doing so allegedly would disturb the habitat of the Stephen’s kangaroo rat, in violation of the federal Endangered Species Act.

The left’s promotion of abortion likewise reflects the diminished value the movement places on human life. Not surprisingly, Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger embraced the same overpopulation theories of 19th-century scaremonger Thomas Malthus that Lee cited as inspiration. Hollywood productions like “The Day After Tomorrow” brought these ideas to life on the silver screen, showing the destruction purportedly caused by mankind’s expansion over the planet.

Where Lee went wrong was in not following Mr. Gore’s example. The Nobel laureate preaches the need for humanity to reduce its consumption, but he doesn’t actually reduce his own. To the contrary, Mr. Gore’s 9,000 square-foot Tennessee mansion consumes 12 times the amount of energy an average family home might use. Mr. Gore has even added a 6,500 square-foot palace in Montecito, Calif., to his collection of luxury estates. Nor do any of Mr. Gore’s Gulfstream-flying Hollywood companions follow their own pronouncements about the need to reduce carbon footprints. This healthy hypocrisy does wonders to dispel the risk of dangerous activism on behalf of Mother Earth.

Some in the media have been desperate to paint Tea Party activists as espousing violence, pointing to one individual holding a hateful sign to tar the entire movement. Tea Party principles are inherently peaceful, but this isn’t true of the environmental left. So long as this movement portrays mankind as a parasite and a danger, more Unabombers and Silver Spring gunmen will follow.

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