How will human life on earth end, and what to do about this?

by | May 19, 2022


How will human life on the third rock from the sun end? A comet, or a bug, or nuclear war, or alien creatures might come and kick us all in the posterior.

Actually, probably, well, possibly, one of these millions of years, all life will cease on our planet, except for very hardy micro-organisms. What are the candidates to do the evil deed?

First up in the batter’s box is some sort of super-duper bug that will make Covid look like a walk in the park. Second in the batting order will be a nuclear war between human beings. In third place? A gigantic comet will come crashing down upon us, obliterating the entire planet. That one will challenge even our fellow micro-organism creatures. In the clean-up position? Who knows. Maybe advanced powerful alien creatures from the planet Zorgon who want to eat us all.

But whatever is this threat, the danger will be enhanced by human error. What kind of mistake are we making? We are fighting each other. Mary Tyler Moore used to say that “love is all around us.” We can now opine, more accurately, unfortunately, that “hostility is all around us.” Wars abound; there are more of them than you can shake a stick at. Violent crime is seemingly ever erupting.

What is the source of all of this? The sociobiological explanation might well be the most accurate: we humans needed a nasty streak in order to fight off the saber tooth lions and their brethren of field and stream when all we had was sticks and rocks at our disposal. But the residue of such behavior is still with us, when it is no longer needed; when it is positively harmful to our well-being. Any 90-pound weakling of our species with the proper equipment can nowadays make minced meat of the most ferocious mega fauna now bestriding the earth or swimming around in its waters. And this goes as well for dinosaurs should they ever pop up again, several movies to the contrary notwithstanding.

The point I am trying to make is that we human beings face problems, serious ones. Several can mean the end of life as we know it. The more serious ones can eventuate in the death of all of us, children and grandchildren included. Do we really want to risk this? Are we really going to fritter our way out of saving ourselves by fighting each other? Can we not resolve to cease and desist from what in effect might possibly become species annihilation? If not, we will be committing mass suicide.

The first step, it seems to me, is to somehow orchestrate a cease fire and then a lasting peace between Russia and Ukraine. Part and parcel of this would be that the former should obligate itself not to topple the government of the latter, nor criminalize any of its leaders; in response, the latter should give up all efforts to join NATO. That organization should be disbanded in any peace treaty, not further expanded in an eastward direction. Let’s say no to the entrance of Finland and Sweden.

There are equally serious conflagrations continually occurring in Africa. A large part of this emanates from the fact that Europeans all too often set up national boundaries that totally ignored ethnicity. This is a recipe for disaster. Secession might well be the best way out of this morass. But that will take understanding and willingness to see the other side’s view that unhappily is in all too short supply. Why should it be alright for the thirteen colonies to secede from England, but not, say, for California or Texas, to depart from the United States? A peaceful secession would also dampen down the threat of war in Spain.

Is this too much to ask from our fellow humans? Probably it is, given our history of murdering each other. But, happily, we can now at least ask. Maybe, pray for peace and good will toward each other. As for those aliens, why not reserve our nastiness for them?


  • Walter E. Block

    Walter Edward Block is an American economist and anarcho-capitalist theorist who holds the Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Economics at the J. A. Butt School of Business at Loyola University New Orleans.

    View all posts