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Tom Toles
Posted at 07:15 AM ET, 11/19/2012

And then it hit me

Last week one of my commenters asked me a question and I didn’t aswer it. I’ve been thinking about it. I got to a surprising conclusion.

The question was in response to a blog post I wrote saying that this here Next Era we’re entering needed to be a combination of Humanism (religious and/or secular) and Environmentalism (natural and human habitat). The reader asked whether I was trying to create “heaven on earth,” if I recall correctly. This did not strike me as a serious question, even though it evidently was meant as one. It struck me as a Straw Man question, but here I am going to take the bait anyway.

Uh, no, I’m not trying to create “heaven on earth.” I am not a baby with baby ideas, (except I do like it when somebody brings me food). Life here on the ground has a lot of pain in it and always will. But there is a whole lot of space between “heaven on earth’ and “hell on earth”, and I think we’ve seen that people have had a high capacity to create plenty of the latter. We’re all doing our best here, but there are a few things that need to be added to the list of Things Decent People Just Don’t Do. You don’t dump harmful waste over your neighbor’s fence, right? So don’t put it up in the air we share either. Yes, that would include gasses that will result in somebody’s life being destroyed. Can we agree on that? And species. You don’t wipe out a species and their habitat without sufficient reason. I can’t think of a sufficient reason.

But then my insight! The insight that will, in the short term, alienate every single one of my readers. But I’m going to say it anyway, because I’m right and you need to hear it. People who think it doesn’t matter what we do to earth because they are just going off to heaven should be careful about that. Maybe God doesn’t care about the planet He created for you, but maybe, actually He does. Wouldn’t want to make a mistake on this, I’m just guessing. But then there are the “scientific futurists” oh, bold and visionary crew! They don’t make their calculations based on old-fashioned heaven, they believe in a new-fashioned heaven! No, not here on Earth, but in the Magic Soon-To-Be Discovered-Ideal-Earthlike Planet Paradise out there somewhere that we all are going to fly to, after we trash the planet we happen to live on now. These versions of a heaven are remarkably similar, and remarkably equivalent in their capacity to excuse irresponsible behavior in the here and now. So grow up everybody, and let’s get to the work that’s all cut out for us, here, and now.

By  |  07:15 AM ET, 11/19/2012

 
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