Saturday, October 21, 2006

Let the population grow | Chicago Tribune

Let the population grow | Chicago Tribune

So, there's literally too much food in the world, there's plenty of room for lots more people, productivity will continue to trump reproductivity, sustainability means consigning billions of poor people to lives that threaten the environment, while the usual boogeymen Malthus, Sanger and Ehrlich, the Holocaust, eugenics and gas chambers, ...
These days, overpopulation is primarily a hang-up for environmentalists, though suburbanites and feminists occasionally whine about it too. And an important part of the argument has changed. While before, Progressives were worried about the "muck" at the low end of the global population, they're now vexed by the fat cats at the top.

Americans consume more of the earth's resources, they complain, and produce piles more greenhouse gasses. At the environmentalist fringe, there's even a growing movement to convince eco-friendly Americans to voluntarily reduce or eliminate their own reproduction in order to ease the strain on Mother Nature. Since the political orientation of your parents is the single best determinant of your own politics, you can expect a lot fewer environmentalists in a couple of decades if this idea catches on.
So be it. The meek and the assholes shall inherit what's left of the earth.


jj mollo said...

So, being sensible about this, if we want our viewpoint to prevail we should tout the following rule-of-thumb: If you believe that there are ecological and moral limits to the population that the Earth can hold, you should breed like crazy until we find a cure for what ails us. Otherwise, we advise you to practice abstinence. Is this Catch 23.

Steve said...

Not sure I follow JJ.

jj mollo said...

If you want the green meme to grow, you need to either spread the word convincingly or increase the number of people who believe it. The main thrust of the idea is that population must somehow be controlled in order to prevent ecological destruction, human suffering and drastic population collapses. The paradox is that any reasonable scheme for population control requires unacceptable levels of force or overwhelming approval by the electorate. Since people who believe the green meme tend to have fewer children, and the meme is largely inherited, then we have to project that there will never be sufficient believers to impose their will. So ... the best approach seems to be to try to outnumber the opponents as a preliminary step to reducing population numbers. We can't retreat without first attacking.

I'm proposing this as a form of black humor. I believe the correct route is actually educating the electorate. The trouble, though, is that we haven't come up with very convincing sales pitches just yet. Every success in the Green Revolution just makes the opposition to population control that much more entrenched.

The real solution, I believe, is to reorganize ourselves into a consciously designed network that provides low degrees of separation between the thinkers and the doers, engenders public trust and implicitly generates the kind of authority required for agreed upon actions.