Thursday, April 24, 2008

More people, more problems

Yesterday, I expressed by incredulity at Patrick McIlheran's bizarre claims that greens don't want cheap energy and don't think civil rights are as important as preserving the environment. Not to mention his weird support for DDT.

Well, today he's expounded on his idea, making sure to add that he believes we need to get crackin' with the baby making:

A couple of chaps said -- and I'm quoting the money lines -- "All we have to do is make fewer babies," and "I rarely hear a discussion about how we have too many people!"

Actually, in much of the world, people are making fewer babies. Most of Europe, Japan, China, so on are already lining up for population plunges as fertility rates have fallen far below the replacement rate. Even the United Nations has been predicting a declining world population after 2050. This, by the by, isn't particularly good. Hard to have human societies without humans.
So now, not only do we need to forget about saving the environment, we also need to add more bodies to it. Apparently, six billion strong and growing doesn't cut it.

You may be curious to know that the numbers predicted for the 2050 date he throws out as the falling off point of the world population are around 9 billion. That's 9,000,000,000 people. If we think we're having a hard time keeping everyone fed these days, imagine what it's going to be like if/when we reach those kinds of numbers. Yet despite this looming human catastrophe (the Earth's resources are already at or possibly beyond breaking point), McIlheran wants us to work hard at making more babies. Screw family planning! Get humpin'.

At the core of this view, though, seems to be a creeping (and probably subconscious) fear-of-brown-people dread. Because while a number of western and developed countries are, indeed, facing stagnating or declining birthrates, places like India, China, and many African countries are booming over with people.

The other argument being made here is that to curb population growth, environmentalists want to force abortion, sterilization, and even infanticide onto people. That's quite the claim, and one hell of a straw man.

No sane person is arguing that we should institute any of those things, or that we should suddenly sacrifice already living people in the name of curbing growth. What we are (or should be) arguing is that there are too many people on this Earth, and that we need to find compassionate, sustainable and effective ways of, at the very least, slowing that trend. Happily, this appears to already be the case, but it may be too little too late, meaning that we may well be headed for a massive catastrophe.

The equation is simple. There are only so many resources to go around, and they're not even particularly well distributed. We're talking the miracle of the loaves and fish times 1.2 million, something that would likely exhaust even the best efforts of the messiah himself (no offense, JC).

How someone can argue for the need of more people is beyond me. We're not anywhere near being in danger of extinction or even the downfall of society as we know it. At least, not for the reasons McIlheran and his ilk seem to think.


DeeDee and Irma said...

We love you so much, you crazy hippie.

Emily said...

Quite mutual, you ol' dirty nags.

Pilot said...

I definitely think that there's a fear-of-brown-people dread concerning continuing population explosion, which is indeed a silly and implicitly racist idea. That's definitely a component in the desires of some to build a giant wall between the US and Mexico.

One argument I would like to put forth on the side of trying to sustain our population (and by "our" I mean progressive and environmental minded folk), is that there sure are a lot of people producing oodles of kids under some pretty wacked belief systems.

From crazy Christian mega churches filled with sextuplet raising, Walmart going evangelicals, to Catholics who deny condoms to countless people suffering in Aids stricken regions, to holy undergarment wearing Mormons (both the blonde haired, blue eyed Aryan nation types and inbred polygamists), to Zionists settlers determined to help start WWIII (playing into the plans of the neocons, mind you) in order to hold onto a bit of land they claim was given to them by a cruel, bloodthirsty desert god, to pissed off, downtrodden and desperate Muslims who are raised to believe that the whole 70 virgins thing works.

Plus, remember the poignant Onion article, which is both funny, and a bit frightening:
Yee Haw! My Vote Cancels Out Y'alls

Just thinking that maybe we should start raising a few more free-thinking, progressive kids (like yourself) who might be able to help overturn Duane Bickel's kinfolks' votes.

The Lost Albatross