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They’re back: It’s "zero population growth" time again
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, April 18, 2007

After predicting catastrophe if we ever reached a population mark a couple of billion under what we now have on this planet, the anti-population growth agenda is again emerging and being argued as a major cause of Global WarmingTM. If you've been wondering how they were going to wiggle back into the game, here's how it works -

The pitch:
"Human population growth is the paramount environmental issue," Ric Oberlink, a spokesman for Californians for Population Stabilization, told Cybercast News Service.

"Global warming is a very serious problem, but it is a subset of the overpopulation problem," he said.

Oberlink argued that an increase in the emission of "greenhouse gases" — carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for climate change — is a result of human activity, "like most environmental problems."

Although one part of the equation is what people do, he said, the other part is how many there are.

"If we had half as many people, we wouldn't have much of a climatic warming problem," argued Oberlink.
Yeah, and if a frog had wings ....

The culprit (naturally ... no pun intended):
"Many have noted the disproportionate impact of America on greenhouse emissions and rightly called for reduced emissions. But it's hypocritical to say that the problem is that Americans consume too much and then say it doesn't matter how many Americans there are."

According to the population group, Americans are "by far the most voracious consumers and the greatest producers of greenhouse gases per capita of any nation on earth."

And the U.S. population, it says, "has been doubling every 40 years and is headed for one billion before the end of this century."
The warning:
"No matter how clever and inventive human technology can be, it will be overwhelmed by the explosive multiplication of unrelenting population growth," asserted Randy Alcorn, a senior writing fellow at Californians for Population Stabilization.
Being an old guy, I seem to remember the same sort of warning being issued about the ability to feed the planet back in the '70s when this same crew (not literally) was making these same sorts of claims, yet even with a population of 6 billion plus, there is ample food available to feed the planet (not that everyone gets enough, but that's a political problem, not a technical problem).

Anyway, per these folks, technology can't save us. And the present attitudes aren't helping either:
"While it may be beneficial to replace incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent light bulbs, it would be more effective towards salvaging the planet to turn on light bulbs in minds darkened by political expediency and religious dogma," he said.

"Those who surrender reason to religious and political doctrine and push the rubble of their misguided convictions into the path of prudent population reduction policies are complicit in condemning an entire planet to doom," said Alcorn.
"Prudent population reduction policies". Oh boy. Now there is a loaded phrase.

So there are twice as many of us as there should be? There are only a couple of solutions which would lead us to "prudent population reduction policies" huh? One would involve eliminating at least half of us in fairly quick order (does a decomposing body release CO2 into the atmosphere? You know, I think it does). Obviously no one is going to voluntarily buy into that one, although I'm pretty sure that Mr. Oberlink and company wouldn't be averse to the solution, if he were left on this side of the line, of course (I mean who would be here to sound the clarion call for zero population growth?).

The other solution would be to decide who can and who can't have babies. All sorts of liberty enhancing scenarios pop into one's mind when that's considered, don't they?

For instance, permits could be awarded as a result of a lottery among those who apply. And if you are awarded a permit, you must pay a lifetime carbon offset fee for permission to have a child. The underfunded need not apply, although "kid loans" would be a new growth industry. And if the child dies? Tough noogies. No refunds.

I've heard it said that the collapse of the USSR sent many of its fellow travelers looking for a new authoritarian regime it could champion. Is it any wonder, given this group's emphasis, that it seems many have found their way into the environmental movement?
 
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If these people are so worried, have they signed on to the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement?

I understand some of these people might not want to bring kids into this "overcrowded" world. But if their plan is to have kids of their own, and force others not to have kids, then screw ’em.

And if they already don’t have kids, then shouldn’t they leave the decision of how populous the world my kids inherent to me and the rest of the breeding market?
 
Written By: Brad Warbiany
URL: http://thelibertypapers.org/
At one time a young man was told “Hitch your wagon to a star” now it’s “Hitch your wagon to Global Warming” everybody’s doing it. Look at the ads on television. If companies aren’t working to save us, they are selling something to save us. Global Warming is the best thing for government and business since sliced bread,
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
How much global warming is being created preaching about how dangerous global warming is, I wonder?
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
Many have noted the disproportionate impact of America on greenhouse emissions and rightly called for reduced emissions.
Doesn’t this guy know anything? America is a carbon negative!
North America is the best constrained continent, with a mean uptake of 1.7 ± 0.5 Pg C year
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
Frankly, I am intruiged by these ideas presented by Californians for Population Stabilization, and would like to know if they are interested in a joint project...

You see, I have a modest proposal I would like to make to them...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Soylent Green is PEOPLE!
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Soylent Green is good people...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Soylent Green is good people...
eh, it differs from person to person.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
With the right seasonings the "who" isn’t as important..some Fava beans and a nice Chianti, and fffftthpppt.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Liberals have already solved the population problem with abortion.
 
Written By: Aardvark
URL: http://
According to the population group, Americans are "by far the most voracious consumers and the greatest producers of greenhouse gases per capita of any nation on earth."
We’re probably the biggest creators and producers of wealth and prosperity per capita of any nation on earth also.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Of course, if you believe in global warming, and that we, the people, are responsible, then the obvious solution is somewhat akin to the Final Solution.

Population control is not new. Edward Abbey, in the 70s, said that the US population was growing too large.

 
Written By: ZZMike
URL: http://www.rigoletto.com/blogger.html
Being an old guy, I seem to remember the same sort of warning being issued about the ability to feed the planet back in the ’70s
actually I think it was the 90’s...the 1790’s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Malthus
 
Written By: marco
URL: http://
Oberlink argued that an increase in the emission of "greenhouse gases" — carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for climate change — is a result of human activity,
Tell me something I don’t know! Come around these parts after a nice boiled dinner and you will for SURE have some emissions...
One would involve eliminating at least half of us in fairly quick order
Maybe ’Ahmuhnutjob’ is really working for these guys and is trying to get Persia wiped off the map quick and clean. The same could be said of the Gargoyle...

All kidding aside, isn’t it just a matter of physics that 6 billion bodies at 98 degrees emanate more total heat than 3 billion?
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Well, there’s one problem with the population growth people...they’re out of date. The United States, along with most of Europe, has already dropped into negative population growth once you discount first-generation immigrants and first-generation immigrant births. Our NET population growth is being driven almost exclusively by immigrants and their children. In most cases europe’s birth rates are even lower than ours, and once again their net growth is all immigration. Sorry, ladies and gentleman, but population growth is being driven by Mexico, South America, Africa, and Asia, not Europe and the US. Facts and figures available on request, but a bit of digging will turn them up for yourselves. As for the why, there are various theories: more working women, more single-child households, ready availability of birth control, etc...
 
Written By: Lysenko
URL: http://
isn’t it just a matter of physics that 6 billion bodies at 98 degrees emanate more total heat than 3 billion?
Seems logical. Perhaps we could solve Global Warming by draining the shallow end of the gene pool.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
"Prudent population reduction policies".
"For instance, permits could be awarded..."

A very tempting idea. I can think of a number of people off the top of my head who should be forbidden from reproducing.

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
isn’t it just a matter of physics that 6 billion bodies at 98 degrees emanate more total heat than 3 billion?
You just gotta love the stupidity of that question. 6 billion people is worse than 3 billion people because everyone knows that human beings are the only biomass on the planet, and the only organisms capable of emitting heat.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
Being an old guy, I seem to remember the same sort of warning being issued about the ability to feed the planet back in the ’70s when this same crew (not literally) was making these same sorts of claims ...
You need’nt have caveated the statement. A quick google of "lester brown global warming" would demonstrate that it is many of the same people.

One wonders why Lester Brown is so enthusiastically embraced by the warm-mongers, when it is his past antics that has made their own new and improved Doomsday scenario such a hard sell to the general populace.
 
Written By: Terry
URL: http://
isn’t it just a matter of physics that 6 billion bodies at 98 degrees emanate more total heat than 3 billion?
To combat this recommend encasing your body fat as insulation and also to provide a personal carbon sink.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
My current favorite for the "Make up your freaking mind" bit fo rglobal warming is the "Wind Sheer" effect they are claiming will cut down on huricanes in the atlantic... Several of those same people were crying out after Katrina that global warming would cause MORE horrible storms. Now they claim it will cause fewer.

GAH! Make a DECISION!!!
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
"To combat this recommend encasing your body fat as insulation"

Hah! I am way ahead of you. I have been inslating my body for years. In a year or two I will weigh as much as both of you put together.

"My current favorite for the "Make up your freaking mind" bit fo rglobal warming is the "Wind Sheer" effect..."

Remember, this is all sheer speculation.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
You just gotta love the stupidity of that question.
Thanks Steverino - that was helpful.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Umm, I don’t know this guy, but do you have any reason at all to accuse him of favoring mass murder? Or are you really unable to see a distinction between wishing our population was smaller and wanting to murder people or restrict them from having children?
 
Written By: Lars
URL: http://
To help you out, here’s an analogy:
Lars wishes he had a big stack of gold bullion sitting in his living room. Does this mean Lars is planning on robbing a bank?
 
Written By: Lars
URL: http://
Umm, I don’t know this guy, but do you have any reason at all to accuse him of favoring mass murder? Or are you really unable to see a distinction between wishing our population was smaller and wanting to murder people or restrict them from having children?
Umm, Lars, have you ever heard of sarcasm? It’s all the rage and a lot of bloggers are doing it now.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Well then I’m confused. You devote an entire post to arguing that if you believe overpopulation is bad, you must be in favor of one of two repugnant solutions, and are therefore a closet communist and authoritarian, and then hide behind the veil of sarcasm. Did you have a point to make, beyond "McQ dislikes people who worry about overpopulation?" You seem to have disavowed everything else.
 
Written By: Lars
URL: http://
Well then I’m confused. You devote an entire post to arguing that if you believe overpopulation is bad, you must be in favor of one of two repugnant solutions, and are therefore a closet communist and authoritarian, and then hide behind the veil of sarcasm. Did you have a point to make, beyond "McQ dislikes people who worry about overpopulation?" You seem to have disavowed everything else.
Good grief, man ... sarcasm doesn’t mean the points made aren’t valid. The "solutions" were a sarcastic extension of the logic of the position of the anti-population growth spokesman.

Look, if this is a little too much for you to wrap you head around, you might want to toddle off to a MySpace entry and read about what type of tree they’d be if they were a tree.

And yes, that’s sarcasm.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I wonder if the same people are anti-immigration?

Keep them poor and starving. Save the mosquitos.

/sarcasm. It’s always the same. I’ve got mine, the heck with everybody else.
 
Written By: MarkD
URL: http://
The "solutions" were a sarcastic extension of the logic of the position of the anti-population growth spokesman.
No. Simply because those are the only approaches you can think of does not mean that you are using an "extension of the logic", sarcastic or non. Saying, as a good libertarian, McQ wants to reduce the size of the government therefore he must want to murder federal employees is not a sarcastic extension of any logic; it’s a ridiculous strawman said in a snide tone, that reveals more about the speaker than the target.
 
Written By: Lars
URL: http://
I’m thinking that the groomers (greedy boomers) like me are going to decide that science will figure out how to keep them alive indefinitely. That means that any rate of population growth, much less today’s exponential growth, will shortly fill up a finite planet like this one.

Therefore either find a way to exit old Mother Earth (much less likely than conquering death, in my view) or they’ll decide that the last thing they need is more babies. Babies will get banned, or at least capped and traded like sulfur dioxide. Of course, there won’t be a ban on virtual babies, and I also expect many people to plug in to virtual reality full time, so maybe that’s the answer.

Mind you I’m not advocating this (selfless, me) but I am (sort of) predicting it.
 
Written By: Larry
URL: http://
Simply because those are the only approaches you can think of does not mean that you are using an "extension of the logic", sarcastic or non. Saying, as a good libertarian, McQ wants to reduce the size of the government therefore he must want to murder federal employees is not a sarcastic extension of any logic; it’s a ridiculous strawman said in a snide tone, that reveals more about the speaker than the target.
Well bless your pedantic little heart, Lars. Who knew you were the final arbiter of what entails proper "extensions of logic" and not?

The purpose of the sarcasm, in this case, was to highlight the absurdity of what they were wanting. You’ve probably heard of the technique before ... highlighting absurdity with absurdity?

Another useful tool, when discussing something in particular, is context.

For instance, it is certainly not a stretch, given this group’s concern about global warming/climate change, for them to want a solution to their agenda to happen rather quickly. After all we’re all being sold on the notion that it is something we need to do now, not later. This is an urgent problem. Given their premise, how would you assume they’d half the planet’s population in time to nullify or counteract the impact of those extra 3 billion?

Build spaceships and hand out tickets?

Given that context, what’s a viable logical extension of the "if we had half as many people, we wouldn’t have much of a climatic warming problem" agenda, assuming they are contending that the climactic warming problem is the most urgent and potentially catastrophic problem we face (and if it isn’t why bring it up and talk about excess population?)?

The second quick way to accomplish that goal quickly (as you might have surmised by now, that’s a key word as driven by the context of the complaint from this crew) is natural attrition and stringent restrictions on the number of children which can be born. Obviously the goal of halving the population isn’t attainable if we have equilibrium between births and deaths. There must be a fairly radical reduction in both live people and live babies.

How is suggesting enforcing draconian restrictions on births not a viable extension of their logic, given the context of the problem they’re supposedly addressing and its urgency and their solution of half the population being ideal?

In the context of their complaint and how it relates to the "urgency" of reversing global warming, neither of those two sarcastic suggestions is that far fetched at all.

Oh, and in regards to "speakers" and "targets": The fact that I had to spend this much time explaining something as relatively simple as this (and my guess is you still won’t get it) is quite telling and certainly validates my initial impression of you. But, of course, I’m sure you’ve figured that out by now.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
You’re absolutely right. The only way to halve the population immediately would be mass murder. But you allow that some people worried about overpopulation might opt for enforced birth control, presumably because they’re willing to put up with a suboptimal population for, say, forty years, if it means not killing a bunch of people. You’re so generous regarding their motives. Not generous enough, apparently, to envision a third class of environmentalists who recognize that there are no morally acceptable options that will solve these problems immediately, and are thus pushing for other approaches, such as encouraging birth control, education, women’s rights, and economic opportunity (all known factors in reducing birth rates). None of these will stop overpopulation tomorrow, but they could stabilize and eventually reduce the population.
Nah, you’re probably right. I’m sure most environmentalists are really commie-authoritarians, like you said. That’s sarcasm.
Would it be pedantic to explain to you that viewing a problem as urgent is different than rejecting anything other than immediate solutions. It probably would, wouldn’t it. That I have to, is just kind of sad.

I should also mention that, after a very quick overview, the group you mentioned seems more like an anti-immigration group than anything, but since you decided to slur the entire environmental movement I’ll still argue the case.
 
Written By: Lars
URL: http://
You’re absolutely right.
Of course I am.
Not generous enough, apparently, to envision a third class of environmentalists who recognize that there are no morally acceptable options that will solve these problems immediately, and are thus pushing for other approaches, such as encouraging birth control, education, women’s rights, and economic opportunity (all known factors in reducing birth rates). None of these will stop overpopulation tomorrow, but they could stabilize and eventually reduce the population.
That’s because the subject of the post is the people in the cited group, not the one’s you describe. Got it?
Would it be pedantic to explain to you that viewing a problem as urgent is different than rejecting anything other than immediate solutions.


Depends on who you are and what you believe, doesn’t it? Again, unless you can explain how to get to 3 billion quickly enough to head off the supposed catastrophe of global warming as these people seem to think is necessary, without doing what I outlined, you probably have a different contextual reference for what constitutes an ’urgent’ problem. Until you can tell me if it does or doesn’t match theirs, there is nothing to "explain".

The fact that others disagree with their premise is irrelevant. We’re discussing the people in the cited group. That’s the purpose of this post.
I should also mention that, after a very quick overview, the group you mentioned seems more like an anti-immigration group than anything, but since you decided to slur the entire environmental movement I’ll still argue the case.
It really doesn’t matter what they’re "more like", they addressed global warming as a population problem and pointed to 3 billion as the ideal. Those are the facts we’re dealing with in this post.

The "slur", as you call it, is well founded in the numerous outrageous statements and suggestions many groups within the environmental movement have made (such as these folks) over the years. Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
unless you can explain how to get to 3 billion quickly enough to head off the supposed catastrophe of global warming as these people seem to think is necessary, without doing what I outlined...
Seem to you, perhaps.
When I hear someone say something like, "Global warming is a very serious problem, but it is a subset of the overpopulation problem," and "If we had half as many people, we wouldn’t have much of a climatic warming problem," I think, "Yeah, that’s probably true. There will continue to be environmental problems, but we really should get population growth under control." You apparently think, "Oh my god! He’s going to kill us all (or at least half of us)! RUUUUNNNN!"
For all I know of this guy, you may be right, but you have presented no evidence beyond your fevered speculation. You must be fun to hang out with.
Again, simply because someone recognizes that overpopulation has contributed to global warming doesn’t mean they believe there are any acceptable short term solutions. Yet there may still be plans that need to be acted on now, as any delay will exacerbate problems later. Urgent =/= panacea.
 
Written By: Lars
URL: http://
There will continue to be environmental problems, but we really should get population growth under control." You apparently think, "Oh my god! He’s going to kill us all (or at least half of us)! RUUUUNNNN!"
No, I say RUUUNNNN when I see phrases like ""Prudent population reduction policies" from someone who says 3 billion is the ideal.

Secondly, I don’t agree at all that "we really should get population growth under control" because I see no danger from it’s present growth. But I do see potential problems from those who seem to believe that it is necessary to "get population growth under control" because of what that implies in terms of "control".
Again, simply because someone recognizes that overpopulation has contributed to global warming doesn’t mean they believe there are any acceptable short term solutions.
Again, unless you can speak for the people cited in this post, we’ll have to agree to disagree.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
No, I say RUUUNNNN when I see phrases like ""Prudent population reduction policies" from someone who says 3 billion is the ideal.
Yeah. There’s nothing more terrifying than prudence. ’Cept maybe caution. Or circumspection, discretion, foresightedness, and forethoughtfulness. Or maybe frugality, providence, and thriftiness. Those all give me the willies.
Again, unless you can speak for the people cited in this post, we’ll have to agree to disagree.
I can’t speak for them, but neither can you. And you certainly can’t use your misguided speculations about their goals and plans to impugn an entire movement.
 
Written By: Lars
URL: http://
Yeah. There’s nothing more terrifying than prudence.
You have a real problem with proper context, don’t you?

Let me say it again:
No, I say RUUUNNNN when I see phrases like ""Prudent population reduction policies" from someone who says 3 billion is the ideal.
Again, having covered this once with you, I’d have thought, by now, you’d understand the context of the post and that to which I was reacting. Obviously I was mistaken.
I can’t speak for them, but neither can you.
I’m not speaking for them ... I’m giving an opinion. You do understand the difference I assume?
And you certainly can’t use your misguided speculations about their goals and plans to impugn an entire movement.

"Misguided" or not, I did exactly that.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Let’s try a quiz:
I’m even crazier than the guy you quoted. I think people would live much better if the population were one tenth what it is now. I believe in prudent population reduction policies. Do I
(A) Want us to do what we can to reduce population through encouraging birth control, education, economic opportunities, blah incremental blah, all the while knowing we probably will never see my ideal population level and knowing we will continue to plow over fields and farms to make way for condos, but, you know, what can you do.
Or
(B) Want to kill 9 out of every 10 people I see.
Using your iron-clad logic and reading abilities, the same ones you used to classify Mr. Cali Pop Control as a Commie-Authoritarian, decide which is true.
 
Written By: Lars
URL: http://
Let’s try a quiz:
Let’s not.

Instead, let’s pretend you are exactly as you describe yourself in the quiz, but without the mental acuity to enable you to break out of a wet paper box.

And let’s understand that I’m not interested in going round and round with you on this again since you’ve yet to demonstrate you understood it the first time through. Or second.

Sorry, no thirds.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Eh, at least you acknowledged my ability to break out of a wet paper box(?) using nothing but the power of my mind.
 
Written By: Lars
URL: http://
This isn’t about environmentalism - that’s just the scare tactic being used to get the idea talked about. Currently the survival rates across the entire globe are rising rapidly (more so in the lesser developed countries as they develop, obviously) and some populations (and sectors within populations) are reproducing far quicker than others. The growth predictions in some cases are exponential. The Chinese realised long ago that in order to prevent wars and conflicts between peoples, you have to stop them from breeding too quickly (ie breeding themselves into poverty) - and indeed unless a country gets off the bucking bronco of forever chasing growth to buy comfortable lifestyles for ever more people, it can never evolve into something that could look to the stars. Anyone who disagrees with me needs to spend some time in India, and see what an out-of-control juggernaut disaster zone it is, all thanks to excessive tribalism and breeding. Without their child policy, China would fall apart.
 
Written By: Blewyn
URL: http://
Then why all this fuss about smoking bans, obesity, trans-fats? Shouldn’t we be grateful to those who indulge in such letal activities in an effort to give up their slot early on?
 
Written By: Ben
URL: http://
Spare the babies. Just require anyone that wants to have one to bump off someone that is no longer a productive member of society, such as Social Security/Medicare or other government aid recipients. That would solve the problems of population growth, aging and government spending.
 
Written By: Bob
URL: http://

 
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