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What can we do for friends and loved ones drawn in by reactionary conspiracy theories?

Someone I am very close to has become increasingly isolated. She doesn't want to do anything except watch "documentaries" like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfzupXBlrIU She doesn't want to socialize, because "no one understands what's really going on." She mentioned recently that she has a Telegram account, so I'm...

JuBe Mod ,

One tip I heard was asking “how” questions as follow-ups, rather than “what” questions? It tends to encourage people to think through how the conspiracies might actually work, rather than just jumping from point A to point B.

Beehaw, what is your opinion on right of nature laws, which recognize natural entities as having "personhood" or legal rights comparable to humans?

practical examples of this, if you're curious, include the Tūtohu Whakatupua (which declared the Whanganui River and tributaries as a legal entity), the agreement around Mount Taranaki (which grants it legal personhood), and the invalidated Lake Erie Bill of Rights (passed by Toledo, OH and was designed to allow residents to...

JuBe ,

I admit this analysis is off the cuff.

I think it could be helpful as a form of defense and protecting nature, but there’s the other side to the coin, which is, how do you then “hold nature accountable” for its “actions?” By that I mean natural disasters. For instance, if a mudslide occurs, how do you hold that mountain accountable? Do the victims of the mudslide then have the right to seek damages from that mountain? Could compensation come in the form of granting the victims the right to cut down all the trees on the other side of the mountain so that the timber can be harvested to compensate the victims for that natural disaster?

I think granting personhood is going to create issues from a legal standpoint and coming up with consistent precedents around agency and action. I’m not sure that this avenue of approach necessarily solves the problem at hand, which seems to be that we’re trying to prevent human beings from destroying the Earth. In that sense, it seems like the most effective and more direct response is to restrict the actions of humans rather than granting personhood to something else.

JuBe ,

Woah, you’re coming in a little bit hot, there. The post asked for community thoughts on granting “personhood” to natural entities, and that’s all I did.

Also, the parallel I was making wasn’t to say that natural disasters would gain personhood, but rather natural disasters could be considered tortious conduct by a natural entity, which this post contemplated as gaining personhood. The point I was making was simply to suggest there are some thought exercises about tort law that are worth considering before moving forward. It isn’t absurd to suggest the possible parallels between a legal entity (I.e., corporation) being proximally related to tortious conduct and a natural entity, like a mountain, being between proximally related to what might be considered tortious conduct (e.g., a mudslide) under the proposed legal regime.

JuBe ,

Look, I’m not going to get into a back-and-forth with you about this because it’s not my area of expertise, but a cursory glance at the Wikipedia article, which was “supplemental reading” for the question of what people thought about the idea, suggests that the underlying legal mechanisms (admittedly, I’m analyzing this from jurisprudence of the United States so terminology and precedents may differ) have to do with granting standing to individuals and communities that otherwise might not have a direct enough connection to assert an injury. Some references, like to the Ponca, suggest that the goal is accomplished by enacting new criminal statutes; others by granting private citizens the right to sue those that harm nature.

The legal mechanisms are not rooted in granting “personhood,” but rather providing means of protecting nature, which is a completely different legal approach. Nevertheless, the “personhood” approach was an interesting one, and because this is Beehaw, I thought entering the conversation could be productive and thought-provoking exercise.

Again, I’m not going to spend anymore time researching source materials, but you have conflated “personhood” with environmental protection laws, which I was not addressing, and you have come off as rather condescending. If we had been talking about conventional environmental protection laws, I would have agreed with you that the law doesn’t associate legal liabilities with nature, but instead, you hijacked the conversation and changed the discussion. You suggested that the statement I made before you changed it was addressed to your new conversation, and suddenly what I said was “absurd.”

If we are actually talking about the premise of legal personhood rather than just ways to protect the environment, then the parallels to considering that a concept, like a corporation, could have legal rights and liabilities associated with agency are actually really analogous, and in the litigious society we live in, would become a matter for a court to decide.

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