Jack, I did have a lot of sympathy with your point of view at the start of this thread, but the above paragraph and some of your previous comments make me wonder just how you would like to impose your ideas. Presumably the people concerned include a huge proportion of all Africans, living on that continent. If you just avoid helping them they will all die of disease and starvation anyway. Is that what we want? Any woman who refuses to use contraception could be picked up by the 'Special Police', restrained and dragged into an operating theatre to be sterilised. Or perhaps just drugged to achieve the same end. Come on, just how would you propose implementing your ideas?
Jim, first of all, I would like to thank you for your honest and sincere response: so thank you.
Second, I understand that the ideas I set forth are replete with their own problems, mostly emotional, as we human beings are an emotional lot. I believe, in many instances, our emotions and ability to sympathize are what lift us up to a spiritual level, so long as the facts add-up and make sense. On the other hand, when the facts are against us, clinging emotionally to ineffective beliefs and practices only harms us in the end.
Yes, I agree, if we fail to help those who are starving and can't help themselves, they will ultimately starve and die. This is a cold, harsh reality of nature: when any species overpopulates beyond the ability of the natural surroundings to sustain all the created lives, a certain percentage of that population will die-off. As cold and harsh as this is, there is nothing evil or wrong with this. It is as it should be, and was designed to be, by nature itself. By our continually trying to keep a population alive by feeding it, we thereby ensure those lives will continue and reproduce still more lives, all of which then likewise need to be fed, and all of which likewise will reproduce still more needy mouths,
which in turn creates a never-ending cycle of trying to keep an ever-growing body of people alive by artifical means. This in turn creates a greater and greater need for our own natural lands to be cut down, so more and more farms can be created to supply these food items, thereby creating a never-ending need to cause a continual deforestation of our planet (not to mention waste our own taxpayer's money) in this essentially foolish and futile enterprise.
So the question is, which is the greater evil, ultimately? Allowing nature to work as it was intended to work, by decreasing what clearly is "surplus population" ... or defying nature itself, continuing to keep those people alive, thereby ensuring that still more
people will be born to a totally depauperate region, and thus continue-and-continue to spread and continue-and-continue needing to be fed by outside help, which in turn will continue-and-continue to require still more resources from us and others ... itself requiring the clearing of more and more natural lands in favor of making room for more-and-more farms?
Which manner of handling things is more rational, more responsible, and (really) more sane? Simply allowing nature to procede as nature itself intends? Or neurotically meddling with other people, creating a never-ending and ever-growing financial burden to ourselves, and thereby increasing this problem exponentially which (ultimately) will cause the deforestation of more-and-more of our planet, because we not only have to make room for more-and-more people that will survive and reproduce still more people, but we also have to make room for more-and-more farmlands to sustain them, which means less-and-less of our natural world left over. Although no sensitive person likes to think about the misfortunes of other persons, I think in the long run
the proposal I make is more sensible, more natural, and (ultimately) better for our world in general. And I think the current model is ultimately more destructive to our world.
To address your other point, yes, any person not able to care for themselves should not be adding to this miserable situation by compounding this problem with another life to care for ... and if a person proves to be so irresponsible that they do so anyway, they should be sterilized. Again, I understand the emotion of not wanting to interfere with another human being's liberty, but I also understand the reality that there really are people unfit to have and raise children. I think if anyone really
wants to have children, then they will so order their lives so that they can be properly provided for. I also think that anyone who has not so ordered their lives that they cannot even provide for themselves, then they have no business having children. At least not until they get their life in proper order. And I very much do think that if any person can't see the basic sense in this, that they have a problem with reality. I do not think our government has any business taxing its productive citizens to pay for the livelihood and reproduction of its unproductive citizens. I do understand that some people fall victim to bad circumstances, but such people usually bounce right back out of it into good circumstances again. It's the habitual parasite, or the incapable, that I am talking about.
As far as how I would implement all of the ideas, I do not have all of the answers, but if I were in a decison-making prosition I would get busy figuring it out.
As others have said, the earth will survive and outlive us all. If humans degrade it enough we will perish as a species, and the earth will not be beautiful anymore. But so what? Give it a few thousand years and it will be beautiful once more and other species will flourish. I think your idea of environmental preservation involves killing off all those less gifted and lesser achievers than yourself so that you can appreciate the 'beauty' of the earth without it being messed up. By killing off, I don't mean murder neccesarily, just left to the 'law of the jungle'.
That is a nihilistic view of the problem. That is tantamount to saying as an individual, "Well, since I am going to die at some point anyway, I may as well not make the effort to have a good life."
Some people actually live their lives based on this kind of nihilism, but effective people try to make the most of whatever life they do have, while it is around to be enjoyed.
It is my view that this same truth should apply to our care and treatment of our planet. Just because the sun may grow cold and all of life may at some point come to an end, doesn't mean we shouldn't take care of our planet as best we can while we do have it. A nihilistic view of one's own mortality is as senseless as a nihilistic view of the world itself. Making the best we possibly can with what we have is far more sensible and (ultimately) preferable, if we're going to live quality lives.
I also disagree with your implication of "killing off" anyone. Killing is an action. Allowing to die is non-action. Most scientists out in the field allow the animals to kill and be killed as nature intended. If a tortoise falls to its back, the objective scientist lets it die. Emotionally, the scientist may want to right the poor creature, but intellectually and naturally he will allow it to die (or to right itself, if the creature has the strength to do so). Again, this is not evil, it is the way it should be. It is my belief that we humans constantly meddling in the way things should be *IS* our problem ...
It pains me to have to write this because I consider myself environmentally aware and am all to aware that population growth is a huge problem. But your way of thinking is a long way from mine. High birth rates are usually a symptom of poverty and sometimes a lack of education. Those are the areas that need to be addressed. Forced sterilisation and letting those too weak to help themselves wither away without help is just lacking in any humanity.
Well, Jim, I again appreciate and respect your open and honest dialogue on this issue. This is exactly the kind of non-infammatory dialogue I was hoping for. However, to be unwilling to see the consequences of allowing every single human being to live, and to reproduce, even when the environment won't naturally support this ... and even though this means more-and-more deforestation of our planet ... is NOT being very "environmentally-aware" at all. And I say this seriously and with respect.
As for accusing Russ of being cerebrally deficient, that is just so obviously wrong. I would say that all of the contributors to this thread so far are probably well above average intelligence, and probably a lot more intelligent than me. I take no issue with you personally, but it scares me when an obviously intelligent person holds such views. Russ's mention of Germany in the 1930's is exactly where my mind had gone too. Forcible birth control is only a step away from a police state and 'the final solution'. That may not be what you intend, but that would be the only way of implementing your ideas.
I do not want to go back to the insults, as I do not think they are productive, so I will just stick to the facts. Regardless of where your mind (or Russ' mind) went, to compare what I said to Nazi Germany was a flat-out inaccuracy, and (really) by a country mile. First of all, I have no hatred towards any race of religion, nor are the policies I suggested directed towards any. The policies favor ANYONE able to sustain himself. In point of fact, this is Nature's
policy. Any person of any creed or race that can succeed is to be saluted. Any person of any race or creed that cannot should not be "helped," they should be allowed to do whatever they can for themselves, but if that winds up being nothing, then this is the way it goes sometimes in ALL of life. To artificially keep every single non-self-sustaining person alive ... and (worse) to encourage and pay for them to reproduce more of the same thing ... is ultimately the greatest evil to our world, and really to the people themselves. That would be like keeping and breeding every stray dog in every dog pound, and keeping and breeding every pup they had. That's just crazy. It simply compounds and makes more problems for all. While I don't like stray dogs getting killed either, I do believe they should be spayed/neutered so that they don't further compound the problem. Before anyone has a heart attack about the comparison to dogs, they ought to realize the principle
is the same: it is simply irresponsible to facilitate (nay, TO FUND) the continual reproduction of any creatures that do not have their own home and cannot even care for themselves. Again, I do not believe any living being should be intentionally harmed or mistreated, but I certainly believe that those who cannot sustain themselves shouldn't be bred to create more of the same.
Mankind has spent most of his existence scrabbling around to eke out a life, mostly of hardship. For a few centuries, some of us have had the luxury of having a more comfortable life, though many do not. If we can help those less able to fend for themselves, to educate them, perhaps future generations will inhabit a world where all people can enjoy a comfortable and sustainable lifestyle.
I believe any decision to "help others" ought to be an individual choice. If I decide to help someone, that is up to me. I do not want to be "forced" to help everyone in the world, through taxation. I worked for my money, it's my money, and if I only wish to help myself and my close loved ones, I should be able to. The way things stand, the government robs all of us citizens, through taxation, and spreads our money around to help people who can't help themselves ... creating more and more of them ... which means more and more costs ... and then forces us to pay more and more taxes to keep this insane spiral going.
I simply believe that people are responsible for their own decisions. I also believe that, if more people focused FIRST on their responsibilities, and only then worried about their "rights," that this world would be a far better place for all. The responsibility NOT to have children, when one can't even properly care for oneself, is arguably the greatest personal responsibility there is. And yet no one DEMANDS that people take charge of this responsibility; instead they reward the flagrant IRresponsibility of having children anyway, and "force" everyone else to foot the bill.
I think this is the greatest immorality of all ... to reward the irresponsible and to "force" the responsible to foot the bill.
If not, we will just have to bow to human nature. I for one have no wish to be involved in any sort of artificial population control whether it be selection by race, religion, intellect or financial independence.
You in fact do
believe in governmental "force" ... you just believe that government should "force" every responsible and capable individual to "help" those who are either not responsible or not capable. You can't have it both ways.
My belief is simply that the government force should be reversed
: that capable and responsible people should NOT be forced to pay the bills for the reproduction of the irresponsible and incapable, but that the irresponsible and incapable should be forced not to reproduce, but to take care of their own responsibilities first.
In my view, your way (the current way) creates continual overpopulation, continual deforestation, and continual heavy taxation ... while my way would reduce the population, would reduce the need for deforestation, and it would ultimately reduce taxation also.
Again, I sincerely appreciate your views,