El Paso was a vile act of eco-terrorism

The killer’s manifesto was riddled with environmentalist anti-humanism.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill

Topics Politics USA World

Is Extinction Rebellion to blame for the El Paso massacre? Maybe Greta Thunberg is? Or any one of the commentators who spends their every waking hour bemoaning mankind’s ‘carbon footprint’ and insisting we need to rein in people’s rapacious consumerist behaviour.

After all, these misanthropic ideas, this green miserabilism, this anti-modern guff about humanity being a plague on poor Mother Earth, is a central feature of the El Paso killer’s manifesto. And if Trump can be held responsible for the shootings on the basis that the manifesto echoes his Mexican-bashing, why shouldn’t greens, who pollute public debate with the kind of anti-humanist ideology that clearly moved and enraged the El Paso murderer, shoulder some responsibility, too?

Of course, to those of us who believe in free will and holding individuals morally responsible for what they choose to do, only one person is to blame for the barbaric attack in a Walmart in El Paso – the man who did it. But it is striking that the people cynically rushing to blame this mass murder on Trump and his anti-immigrant rhetoric have next to nothing to say about the killer’s green thinking. This attack is being branded ‘white-nationalist terror’ – why isn’t it being called environmentalist terror? It was motored in part by a loathing for humanity based on the tragically mainstream, pseudo-leftish idea that we are a planet-polluting force.

In his alleged manifesto, the killer, alongside his racist rants about Hispanic people and the ‘replacement’ of whites, attacks modern society for being eco-unfriendly. Westerners’ lifestyles are ‘destroying the environment’ and ‘creating a massive burden for future generations’, he says. He seems obsessed with the core element of green thinking – the idea that mankind is overusing limited natural resources. We are ‘shamelessly overharvesting resources’, apparently.

As with green ideology in general, there is a strong streak of anti-humanism in his eco-obsessions. He attacks ‘urban sprawl’ – also known as human habitation – and the way it ‘destroys millions of acres of land’. As for ‘consumer culture’ with its production of ‘thousands of tonnes of unnecessary plastic waste and electronic waste’ – he slams that as another part of humankind’s ‘decimation of our environment’. The solution? Surprise, surprise: population control. Echoing the numerous eco-Malthusians who have spent decades calling for a restrictions on human natality in order to save the planet, he says we need to ‘decrease the number of people in America using resources’.

His targeting of a Walmart makes more sense in the context of his eco-Malthusianism. Alongside clearly setting out to kill Latinos, whom he claims are ‘invading’ the US, perhaps he also wanted to attack supermarket-users, Walmart automatons, slaves to cheap consumer products – the kind of people who are so often criticised by elitist greens for their immoral shopping and eating habits.

And if his ideas sound familiar, that’s because the same kind of thing was published in the manifesto of the anti-Muslim bigot who attacked two mosques in Christchurch last year. That mass murderer also raged against ‘a society based on ever-increasing industrialisation, urbanisation, industrial output and population increase’. He criticised people’s ‘ignorance of environmental health’ and called for the creation of ‘an environmentally conscious and moral society’. The Christchurch killer explicitly said he is not a Nazi but an ‘eco-fascist’.

These vile anti-human manifestos, and the racist murders that sprung from them, are a chilling reminder that eco-extremism has historically been closely associated with far-right causes. And yet somehow in recent years, this backward, anti-modern obsession with cleansing nature of foul mankind’s uncaring, destructive behaviour has morphed into a supposedly progressive, leftish outlook. And it is now utterly mainstream, being promoted by virtually every public and political institution. That it is an outlook – an ideology, in fact – that can grab the attention of extremist misanthropes like the El Paso and Christchurch killers should surely give green ideologues pause for thought.

No green-leaning writer or activist bears even the remotest responsibility for the horrific acts of eco-fascism in Christchurch and El Paso. However, what is clear is that, in their search for ideological justifications for their loathing of their fellow human beings, both of these killers landed very firmly upon the environmentalist ideology. They clearly spied in it a moral-sounding, pretend-scientific justification for their belief that human beings are scum, a plague, who deserve to be punished. When your belief system so readily lends itself to violent misanthropy, it is time, surely, to rethink that belief system. The fashionable misanthropy of green thinking is in dire need of public questioning and public challenge.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Picture by: Getty.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.


Peter Jenkins

9th August 2019 at 7:08 pm

Let’s see how we can turn this massacre to support our favourite arguments. Ah, he mentions the environment amongst dozens of other grievances. Let’s highlight that bit (even though his concern for environment seems to stem from a children’s book published in 1971 and made into popular film when Crusius was 14). Usual story and you complain about the bias of BBC. This is not offensive writing just immature ranting.

William Brown

7th August 2019 at 12:45 pm

Eco-fascism, anti-semitism, no-platforming – is there anything else the cuddly left want to adopt in the name of righteousness?

Jonnie Henly

7th August 2019 at 12:30 pm

Wow, Brendan’s really going overboard in his attempts to pin the blame for this shooting on anyone who disagrees with him.

2 articles in a few days telling us all why everyone he dislikes is precisely to blame.

Make your mind up at the very least Brendan, is it eco terrorism or the armed wing of identity politics to blame here?

William Brown

7th August 2019 at 12:48 pm


A Venn diagram of both of those societal elements would have a very large intersection.

Jerry Owen

7th August 2019 at 2:23 pm

..’urban sprawl , also known as human habitation’ .. neat!
We mustn’t forget that we are talking tiny numbers of people on both sides ( different sides of the same coin !) and need to get this into perspective. Rabid ER / environmentalists / greens are tiny in numbers. Right wing Nazis exist in even smaller numbers ( Brexit voters aside of course ).
This ‘crisis’ is being manufactured promoted expanded and propagated by the left media and political elites, they want an escalation of all this, they are never more happy when these things happen so they can politicize them for their gain.. more control more laws, less freedom . They want the left to become more violent , in short they are trying to invoke a revolution, they are trying to mobilize street mobs to attack and intimidate conservatism in all it’s forms, replace ‘conservatives’ with ‘Jews’ and you should see what’s happening. We have seen Democrat politicians goading crowds to literally attack republicans, serious stuff indeed when a politician encourages not political action but personal intimidation. Over here we call it incitement which is rightly illegal.
The Democrats have been treating Trump the way they have not because they believe themselves but because without goading a revolution by demonizing Trump they are not likely to be re elected any time soon. The political elites are being thwarted all across Europe and America, they are desperate to regain control by any means possible.

Amelia Cantor

7th August 2019 at 10:18 am

Is Extinction Rebellion to blame for the El Paso massacre? Maybe Greta Thunberg is? Or any one of the commentators who spends their every waking hour bemoaning mankind’s ‘carbon footprint’ and insisting we need to rein in people’s rapacious consumerist behaviour.

Even by O’Neill’s high standards this is an exceptionally stupid article. If concern about the Planet caused gun-massacres, we would expect many wombyn and people of colour to be perpetrating them in the name of saving the Planet.

It isn’t happening.

The problem is a) cisgender white male toxicity, racism and hate; b) the availability of guns; c) the ability of toxic cisgender white males to spew hate 24/7 on multiple platforms (as fully supported by B. O’Neill). Eco-awareness is overwhelmingly positive, but even good ideas can be co-opted by evil people.

So, yeah, if O’Neill seriously believes that the anti-racist, pro-Gaia Greta Thunberg had any role in the horrific homicidal racism of El Paso, he is even more mentally disturbed than I already thought.

Hana Jinks

7th August 2019 at 1:30 pm

Everything of the levt is utterly diabolical.

You speak nothing but self-righteous and ill-informed hate.

Frank Sutton

7th August 2019 at 4:14 pm

A poor attempt at channeling Titania McGrath. And, by the way, what are wombyn?

Sean McGrath

7th August 2019 at 8:54 am

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