From chapter "The Divine Right of Machines"
Here’s another thing that kills me about the notion that intelligence is lethal, or that humans are killing the planet because we’re so damn smart. At the same time that some humans have been killing the planet, and through many of the same processes, and for many of the same reasons, those same humans who have been killing the planet—the civilized; those who are enslaved to authoritarian technics—have been killing Indigenous humans, overrunning, committing genocide against, and often exterminating them. If you were to look at a time-lapse map of worsening ecological conditions and superimpose upon it a time-lapse map of the expansion of civilized, agricultural peoples, and over that a time-lapse map of land stolen from Indigenous peoples, you would find that the maps were pretty much the same. Yet somehow, public intellectuals—and a lot of them—can get by saying that the destruction is caused because humans as a species are so damn smart. And a lot of listeners in this human supremacist culture nod their heads and thoughtfully rub their chins, NPR-style. But the same processes that led, and lead, to the murder of the planet also led, and lead, to land theft from Indigenous humans (in the former case it’s land theft from nonhumans, and in the latter it’s land theft from both the humans and the nonhumans with whom they live). How would these same listeners respond if the public intellectuals said that some humans, by which they meant civilized humans (including, ahem, whites), have been able to overrun Indigenous nations (including those made up of, ahem, people of color) because of the superior intelligence of the conquerors? “Oh, the Europeans conquered North America and destroyed hundreds of Indigenous cultures because the Europeans are far more intelligent, and intelligence is a lethal mutation.” How would that sound? Because that’s really what they’re saying.