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The Pros and Cons of Near Term Human Extinction

Near term human extinction is not all bad. For one thing it’s absolutely free. No need to break the piggy bank. And the whole family can go. It’s gratis. Not only that, but you can even bring your pets. Cat, dog. parrot, termite you name it. No need for special carriers, quarantines, shots, whatever. None of that. Of course don’t expect to find them on the other side, because there is no other side.

Then, really good news, all your debts are wiped out. Zippity-doo-dah. Zero. Kiss the student loan, mortgage, credit card bill good-bye. No more vig to the neighborhood henchman. Sayonara. Your balance goes to zero, just like you. Don’t worry, there’s no paperwork.

And your boss, that asshole, gone. You’ll never have to kiss his rosy red one again.

No more housework. No taking out the garbage, cleaning the frig– no house.

No more having to listen to twaddle about Donald Trump.

Worries, none. Where’s your daughter? What’s up with sonny boy? Is some jackass going to start a nuclear war? What’s that lump in your unmentionable? How are you going to put food on the table? Forget about it. It’s all wiped clean. Tell me that’s not a great big fat check mark in the plus column.

But even with all these goodies, I know some of you might feel you should have done something about near term human extinction. You’re guilty, I get it. You just feel bad. “If only, back in the seventies… “, you are saying to yourself. You feel you have no right to this windfall. You should have been more responsible. You and the other Baby Boomers, Greatest Generationists, Millennials, Generation Xers, whatever, should have stood up, put your bodies on the line, at least said something. Well, I’ve got news for you, buddy: Homo sapiens have been working this side of the street for quite some time. We drive other species to extinction. That’s what we do and we’ve been doing it for two hundred thousand years. Galapagos turtles, passenger pigeons, the great awk, whales, swordfish, buffalo, chestnut trees, ferns frogs lizards, butterflies and any other scrap of flora and fauna with a breath of life or a green leaf is, or soon will be, …toast. Welcome to the sixth mass extinction, playah. This is going to be the wildest party in the whole blooming universe, and you’re invited. Put on your happy face. It’s the grand finale. You don’t have to fret about not having bought that Yugo in the seventies.

Now, admittedly, this makes us the biggest baddest mofo on the green-blue world, and that is worth a shit-eating grin or two. So add a shit-eating grin or two on the plus side of the near-term human extinction ledger.

Homo Erectus started the party when he mastered fire at least four hundred thousand years ago. Before that it was eat and be eaten. In one fell swoop he became the big enchilada. He fire-scaped the countryside wiping out species he didn’t eat and encouraging those that he did. Hi, grandpa!

However, he was small potatoes compared to us, homo sapiens, so called. When Homo Sapiens, heir to Herr Erectus, made the scene in Europe about twenty thousand years ago he found Neanderthal man. Neanderthal man had lived in Europe for about two hundred thousand years, through a couple of ice ages, without, as far as we can tell, disturbing the ecology. Now I know you’ve got this picture of Neanderthal man as a sort of man-ape –bent, hairy, kind of stupid. But that, it turns out, was propaganda. They were much more like us than we like to think. As a matter of fact we had sex with them, produced children, and cared for those children. Neanderthal DNA can be as much as 4% of our own. No one knows whether IQ scores correspond to percentage of Neanderthal DNA.

Anyway, we rubbed them out along with a couple of other brother species. And we never looked back. So now we arrived at ourselves. What’s the problem? Let’s face it, we’re here. The biggest plus from near term human extinction is near term human extinction. Isn’t that what we’ve been working towards lo these many millennia?

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Michael Doliner studied with Hannah Arendt at the University of Chicago and has taught at Valparaiso University and Ithaca College.

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