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Old 25 June 2008, 05:38 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
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Soapbox George Carlin on environmentalism

Comment: Most people think of George Carlin as a liberal and many of his
statements were but not those about the environment, he was conservative
on that;

CARLIN: Let me tell you about endangered species, all right? Saving
endangered species is just one more arrogant attempt by humans to control
nature. It's arrogant meddling. It's what got us in trouble in the first
place. Doesn't anybody understand that? Interfering with nature. Over
90%, way over 90% of all the species that have ever lived on this planet,
ever lived, are gone. They're extinct. We didn't kill them all. They
just disappeared. That's what nature does. We're so self-important, so
self-important. Everybody is going to save something now. Save the
trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails. And the
greatest arrogance of all, save the planet. What?

I'm tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white
bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is
there aren't enough bicycle paths, people trying to make the world safe
for their Volvos. There is nothing wrong with the planet. Nothing wrong
with the planet. The planet is fine. The people are (bleep) --
difference, difference. The planet is fine. Compared to the people, the
planet is doing great. It's been here four and a half billion years. Did
you ever think about the arithmetic? The planet has been here four and a
half billion years. We've only been engaged in heavy industry for a
little more than 200 years.

Two hundred years versus four and a half billion, and we have the
conceit to think that somehow we're a threat, that somehow we're going to
put in jeopardy this beautiful little blue-green ball that's just
a-floatin' around the sun? The planet has been through a lot worse than
us, been through all kinds of things worse than us, been through
earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares,
sunspots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles, hundreds of
thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors,
worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays,
recurring ice ages, and we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans
are going to make a difference? The planet isn't going anywhere. We are!
We're going away.
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Old 25 June 2008, 05:46 PM
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Mama Duck Mama Duck is offline
Join Date: 22 October 2001
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Posts: 12,151

Here's the YouTube video George Carlin. It's close to what he actually says. I should add NSFBSK

Last edited by Mama Duck; 25 June 2008 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 25 June 2008, 05:47 PM
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lord_feldon lord_feldon is offline
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Default (Link probably NSFW. The relevant portion starts at 6:04.)
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Old 25 June 2008, 06:05 PM
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Tarquin Farquart Tarquin Farquart is offline
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His position doesn't seem very conservative to me, more like "there's nothing we can do, so why bother".
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Old 27 June 2008, 03:20 PM
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MapleLeaf MapleLeaf is offline
Join Date: 17 September 2003
Location: Toronto, ON
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He definitely said it. I have a piece matching that exerpt exactly in my copy of his book "Brain Droppings".
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Old 14 November 2014, 11:13 PM
k9snps k9snps is offline
Join Date: 27 July 2014
Location: Tigard, OR
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Ponder Carlin was a misanthrope, not a conservative

Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Comment: Most people think of George Carlin as a liberal and many of his statements were but not those about the environment, he was conservative on that;....
Actually his 1992 "Planet is Fine" rant was one of his lowest moments. He intended to point out that people are f-cked more than anything, but he also lied about extinction causes (see "The Sixth Extinction"). He focused too much on limousine liberals vs. true environmentalists. Lots of pigeonholing in that rant. He should have known better but was probably going for shock value.

His claim that environmentalists don't really care about nature or are just "worriers" was ludicrous. If Carlin enjoyed relatively clean water & air during his time on Earth, he should have been grateful for all the "worrying" required to control industrial pollution. Someone had to care about the issues or nothing would have changed. The reason for the EPA's creation was not trivial. Carlin took it for granted and blamed the same "worriers" for being overwrought in hindsight.

I think his worst line in that bit was "we didn't kill them ALL" (the extinct species). It's an egregious lie in the context of what's caused most extinctions over the past few centuries. He could also claim that Man didn't cut down ALL the trees that have fallen over centuries, but we've cleared millions more acres than nature was capable of. Come on, Carlin, you knew better!

Unfortunately, Republicans, who mostly see nature as an impediment to money-making, latched onto that spiel and used Carlin's words against his typical fan base. They've also falsely inserted "global warming" into the title of the video on YouTube. Carlin was never a climate denier, though I don't know if he emphasized it on stage. You can find interview clips of Carlin showing he respected nature but was very cynical about people. His misanthropy should be the main takeaway.

To do that rant properly, he should have limited his rage to phony environmentalists who fret over global warming but sit around idling their engines while Googling smartphones for "natural" products to fill their 3,500 square foot homes.

End note: Why are people called "conservatives" when they mainly want to conserve a greedy way of doing business? They sure don't come across as frugal or respectful of limits. They should be called consume-atives or just neocons.
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Old 14 November 2014, 11:21 PM
k9snps k9snps is offline
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Originally Posted by Tarquin Farquart View Post
His position doesn't seem very conservative to me, more like "there's nothing we can do, so why bother".
But isn't that exactly how most Republicans see nature? They are fine with its 24/7 destruction as long as cash can be made from it. They also think the human population is destined to keep growing, at least the white component. Many of them (Creationists) get offended when you suggest Man is breaching nature's limits. They think a supernatural deity is in charge of the whole scenario.
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Old 24 February 2016, 09:56 PM
brch2 brch2 is offline
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Location: McCalla, AL
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People don't seem to understand what he's saying. For one, he's a comedian. So he's simplifying things and stretching truths to some extent for comedic value. But the point he's making is not that we shouldn't care... it's that we should worry more that we're destroying ourselves than that we're destroying the planet. If we wipe ourselves out, the planet will recover and shake off the damage we and move on. Basically, that people are worried about the wrong things, or the right things for the wrong reasons.
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